I often hear people say “I have the right to free speech; I can say whatever I want,” as an excuse for making offensive remarks or expressing controversial opinions. Shackled to this idea of “free speech” is the notion that whatever we say should be consequence free because we have the right to have and express our own opinions.
My experience has taught me that this attitude can unfortunately lead to many unintended consequences. For each right we exercise, also comes responsibility. For example, while I can say whatever I want, if I lie or abuse someone verbally I cannot claim “free speech” as a defense against the inevitable consequences.
I’ve noticed that many of President Elect Obama’s supporters are going around saying, “Yes we did!” To that I have a simple response: No, no you didn’t!
Now, I’m not saying that you didn’t get Barack Obama elected. I’m not saying you didn’t overcome odds and break through racial barriers. I’m not saying you didn’t put the McCain-Palin campaign exactly where it belonged: In the loser’s circle. No, I’m certainly not saying that something great hasn’t been accomplished.