It’s a wild, tangled, and untamable idea:
That 230 years ago our country would dare to say
Each of its citizens would have the right to say
Whatever confusing, daring, and unbridled idea came their way.
But offer such a bold statement we dared;
We enshrined it within a document we hold dear to this day.
And yet, the ever present battle persists to take that right back away.
The quest to quiet what is loud, uncomfortable, and raucous
Continues to be underway…
But we call it something a little different every other day.
Whether we hush migrants who bring our new way of life even newer ways,
Whether we mute the voices of those from whom we took this land away,
Whether we blacklist those whose dogma frightens,
Or whether we push forward a witch hunt for every modern idol
Who whispered a sentence to offend us in the days, months, and years past and away,
It’s all the same battle… although the suppressors change from day to day.
The mufflers switch sides, change their minds, but still always stay
Ever presently with us as we ask the same question today:
Is free speech worth the price we each must pay?
The discomfort we must sit with if we hear an idea that doesn’t often come our way…
The anger that burns within us when myths, conspiracies, and schemes take center stage…
Yes, free speech is dangerous,
But it still provides the only fertile ground
Upon which truth, goodwill, and hope can take root
And grow until they overshadow all the weeds telling them to obey.
Unbridled speech can kick you, punch you, and shake you to your very core
But it is the very thing worth shouting, arguing, and fighting for.
–Written by Sandy Heights