Safe Spaces and Free Speech
Ours is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
It derives its just power from the consent of the governed.
It is founded on the idea that all of us are created equal and are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The First Amendment of our Constitution says, in part, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
In order to govern such a nation, the people need to engage each other in civil discourse to determine the laws needed to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to our posterity.
If, for example, a group of us meet to consider rules to govern the conduct of a meeting and we are so offended by one another that we withdraw to our safe spaces and refuse to participate, then we abandon our effort to enhance the common good.
On the other hand, if we listen to each other, voice our opinions, hear and answer objections, we will generally get a clearer understanding of the problem, of each other’s beliefs and a solution to the problem to which a majority can agree.
If I, as a citizen of the United States, see a way to improve our governance at the community, county, state or federal level, then I have a responsibility, if not a duty, to share my view with the person chosen to represent the people in that jurisdiction. If it is really important to me, I should discuss it with my friends and neighbors to refine it and get their support.
If I am dissatisfied with the current state of affairs, I should think “How can they be improved? What can I do to improve them?”
Write to your member of congress. Call your county councilman. Talk to your local officials. Join a local support group. Participate.
Retreating into isolation from distaste or disagreement can only encourage your opponents, just as surely as responding to them with anger or violence will transform them—and you—into extremists. As recent events have shown us, there is no space that is safe from that.