I was on a university campus this morning and saw this campaign message. I thought what a great way to get the message across, put it in a place where everyone who walks up the stairs will read it. It also made me appreciate a country where we can write on the cement, share our message, express ourselves without fear of retaliation.
Freedom of speech is a vital part of what makes America great. You may not agree with everyone’s ideas and opinions, and you have a right to say you do not agree. There were no armed guards on this campus, nor police dogs, or campus security in sight. Luke did not fear that someone would take him from his dorm room at night to ‘set him straight’ and put his views on the right political path. Freedom of speech means you can speak, and others have that same right…even if you do not like or agree with what they are saying. Allowing them to speak out on their views that make your skin crawl, that stand counter to everything you believe, that make your soul weep…that is freedom of speech. If you do not like what they are saying, you have the freedom to turn off the tv, radio, or simply walk away.
When we want to limit our freedom to preserve safety, we deserve neither freedom nor safety. We are all in this together, everyday, working hard to make a living and a life. We have more in common than we think. We all love our family, our children, our spouse, or pets. No matter what language we learned at birth or the spelling of our surname, we all live in this amazing place and have a right to be free. We are granted that right by laws, our military that serves to preserve our freedoms, and by the opportunity to vote. If you do not vote, then you have lost your right to complain.
The message on these stairs reminded me that life is made of choices, choices we exercise as part of our democracy. If we choose not to exercise and practice our freedoms then eventually they may disappear without us even realizing it. I do not know if Luke Williams will win or lose the election, what I can say is I am proud to live in a land where he can write on the stairs to promote himself. Where I can walk around campus and enjoy the peace, the students, and contribute to their learning. Chalk one up for freedom…pun intended!