Where Do We Draw The Line?byangelicminx©
Free speech, or rather "Free Expression"? Really? I suppose we do have that freedom, provided it doesn't offend someone else and can't be construed as a threat to public safety. Free speech is granted by the first amendment, but that freedom is being censored all the time. Censorship, self or otherwise, is no laughing matter. Well, it would be if we weren't being censored. Everywhere you look there is an attempt at censorship.
I've read cases where a bumper sticker, writing in the dirt on a vehicle, or stickers on a vehicle (drawn depicting nude she-devils in sexual acts), offended someone to the point that they had the police intervene. The cases ended with an arrest, a charge of disorderly conduct and a threat to be arrested for "distributing sexual materials to a minor", respectively.
Those are just some examples of visual expression. What about verbal expression? I've learned that you have to be careful what you say aloud. What you say in front of the wrong person may lead to an investigation or your arrest.
Have you ever said, "My husband (or wife) would kill me"? What about, "I'm going to kill her (or him)," in response to something your child has done? The vast majority of us don't mean the words in the literal sense, but invariably there is someone who will overhear it being said and place the call to authorities regarding "a threat to the safety and welfare of..." What I don't understand is that authorities will investigate such claims, but drag their feet on "real" abuse cases that aren't voiced in public.
Of course, I'm not saying we should go around making threats willy-nilly. Bomb threats, for instance, are not a joke and shouldn't be treated as such. Statements that cause mass panic shouldn't be made. Nor am I saying we should put on display every fascinating picture or bumper sticker made; not every image is appropriate for indiscriminate public view. What I am saying is maybe the "Good Samaritans" should have a clue what they are reporting before our tax dollars are wasted investigating or prosecuting every asinine case.
Music, movies and books are under attack, on a regular basis, as "influencing and harming the children". Where? What harm? Show me the direct relation, of the various media, to the harm of our children. It seems to me that history has shown disturbed children throughout the centuries, we just pay closer attention now. If you regulate what your child hears, sees or reads, I don't have a problem with it. What I do have a problem with is someone else regulating my choices.
I've noticed that adult stores are popping up everywhere. If you walk into one you wear the label of pervert, but just try to get a catalog sent to your home in certain states. It was quite a shock to me to discover it wasn't legal in mine. That doesn't make a lick of sense to me. I would have thought ordering out of a catalog would be easier than getting into a store. Of course, to mention either the catalog or the store in mixed company will garner interesting reactions.
Talk about sex in public? Heaven forbid! Why, that makes you a pervert, doesn't it? Oh, wait, that's if you talk about LIKING sex. If you are discussing how your husband wanted to stick his "thing" in you again this year, that's okay, you'll get the sympathy of those around you. If you are discussing the fact that you'd like to have sex more than once a month, or the unconventional idea of multiple partners, Katie bar the door. You might as well have grown a second nose with the looks you'll receive.
On the flip side of that coin, husbands who have to beg for sex are patted on the back with sympathy. Husbands who get as much sex as they can handle are toasted, though the wife is given strange looks. Husbands who can't keep up with their wives' sex drives are questioned, or are given advice, about what "might be wrong with her", accompanied by the suggestion that "she is just hormonal". If he has a wife who is willing to entertain the notion of having a threesome with another woman, he is elevated to God status, though she is looked upon like some sort of freak or whore. Interesting concept, the double standard; it's sad but true.
Liking sex can make you an outsider to those that don't discuss "it", but, wouldn't you know it, they are far kinkier behind closed doors than the ones that DO discuss "it". Of course, I stumbled onto that information by accident. (To protect the "innocent" let's just say I won't be entering a house on the words "Come in" any longer.) Isn't it wonderful that I have an open mind? That vision would certainly have burned my eyes, and sent me straight to hell if I didn't. At least that's what I'm told, on a regular basis, when strip clubs, adult stores, pornographic movies and other "sexual things" are mentioned.
So, you don't like the strip clubs, adult stores, porn movies, etcetera that you are always complaining about. Don't go to them; don't watch them. That's all I can tell you. It's been my experience that there is nothing on blatant display on the outside of the buildings and you have to be an adult to enter or view, so what's the big deal? Worried about the clientele? I've seen more problems associated with convenience stores and fast food restaurants than with the clubs or adult stores. Worried about your children viewing? Teach them your values, but leave mine alone.
As to the written word, I went against my better judgment and allowed my mother to read "Lustful Leeves Ch. 01" a few weeks ago. She loved the story and had several "improvements" for it. When I told her about the Earth Day contest, and the fact that it was for an online erotica site, she had a fit.
I am a substitute teacher/ assistant and am trying to become a full time assistant. She insisted that I cease my endeavors immediately for fear that someone would "find out" what I was doing and not hire me; or worse yet, send me to jail for my erotic writings and visitation of "porn sites". The angering thing about her reaction is the truth behind it.
What a world we live in that I'm not free to write what I wish to write, for fear that someone would disapprove of it and harm me, financially or otherwise. I don't show my work to children. Nor do I push it on anyone. When people find out that I am a writer, "What do you write?" is the natural, first question asked. I don't lie; therefore, they know I write erotic stories. Some ask to read the stories, some don't, and it makes no difference to me, though I do love to share my work with those who would appreciate it.
Why should someone else get to dictate what I can see, write and enjoy? My beliefs are different from yours; so what? Big deal! I don't try to shove my unorthodox desires down your throat; don't shove your religion and beliefs down mine. Leave well enough alone. Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone, and all that.
Something else to mention about our freedoms: a soldier ships off to another country, to protect the rights of the citizens there, and comes home to find he is no longer allowed to smoke in public. Interesting twist, in his mind: the more he fights for the freedom of others, the less freedom he himself has to enjoy. What's next? Ban of smoking in his car, in his own yard, or, heaven forbid, in his own home? It's on its way, folks. At least one major employer, Ted Turner (TBS, TNT, CNN, Atlanta Braves, etc.) has forbidden smoking by all his employees no matter where and when they do it.
Where do we draw the line? When do we stop judging others based on our own beliefs? When we live in a "perfect" world? Who decides what "perfect" is? We are human, we have the ability to think, as well as act and speak. Tolerance would go a long way toward making the world a perfect place to be. Do you really want the government to decide what you can feel, think, believe, say and do?
The USA PATRIOT Act passed in October 2001 with barely a quibble. Do you realize that it threatens not only the first amendment, but also the fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and fourteenth amendments as well?
Quoting from a flyer printed by the ACLU: "The USA PATRIOT Act:
Expands terrorism laws to include "domestic terrorism" which could subject political organizations to surveillance, wiretapping, harassment, and criminal action for political advocacy.
Expands the ability of law enforcement to conduct secret searches, gives them wide powers of phone and Internet surveillance, and access to highly personal medical, financial, mental health, and student records with minimal judicial oversight.
Allows FBI agents to investigate American citizens for criminal matters without probable cause of crime if they say it is for "intelligence purposes."
Permits non-citizens to be jailed based on mere suspicion and to be denied re-admission to the US for engaging in free speech. Suspects convicted of no crime may be detained indefinitely in six-month increments without meaningful judicial review."
Big Brother is here, and breathing down your neck, fellow Americans. Government control and dictatorship isn't far away. Totalitarianism, look it up sometime. You might not think a few cases are important, but put them all together and see the big picture. Freedom is an illusion put on by the greatest magician of all, US.