What is happening across our nation and here in our local communities ought to alarm every good citizen who truly believes in democracy and the civil liberties guaranteed to all of us by the U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
We are seeing a steady erosion of individual rights as the so-called ‘majority’ and some of our elected officials and traditional religious organizations stoop to mob mentality and maliciously attack members of our society who look, feel, think and speak differently.
For a nation supposedly grounded in respect for rugged individuality and free speech, we often treat people who have the courage to speak out against corruption and bad decisions very poorly.
You only need to read some of the ugly comments on most open blogs in the media to see a widespread lack of respect for differing points of view, and the demonizing of people willing to raise opposition to anything that the majority desires or blindly follows.
People exercising their right to express divergence political opinions are vilified beyond believe!
Individuals seeking to stop the ever mounting burden of tax increases are accused of being unpatriotic or antisocial, and persons with a different vision of their community’s future and how it should progress are met with abusive and often slanderous comments, if not actually threatened with personal harm.
You can blame this sad state of affairs on any number of things – most of which are not valid arguments for trying to imposing the majority’s values on others. The freedom to dissent and express varying points of view is the bedrock of our democracy and the fundamental strength of our great nation. Yet we have so many citizens who would undermined the rights that provide the foundation of our democracy.
Rather than capitalize on the benefits to be derived from hearing and considering divergent opinions, so many people close their minds, and cast aspersions on those who dare to express new or different values and beliefs.
Catering to the majority’s need to control and silence minorities results in diminishing individual rights. Those freedoms include the right to express their opinions and thoughts freely without the fear of retaliation or retribution from either their government leaders or fellow citizens.
Personal freedoms are potentially infringed upon and weakened when anyone else in our society is denied their rights. Each and every one of us is only as free and secure as the least protected members of our community.
Stop and think before encroaching on anyone’s rights, because you could easily find yourself in need of the safety net those rights provide some day.
Author’s note: Parts of this blog were previously published in 2011, and have been updated here to address my current and ongoing concerns. By definition, blogs published under the Patch’s Local Voices section are personally held opinions and not meant to be balanced reporting.