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Freedom to quack

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Duck Dynasty has caused quite a debate across the internet about freedom of speech. As adults, we argue about it constantly, but when you stop to think about it, as children, we weren’t brought up in a world that fostered the concept of open dialogue or expression.

In school there was always one right answer. Oftentimes, debating teachers was a no-no, even if you felt you were right. It’s not until college when we are in an environment that invites exploration and the right to an opinion, backed by sound knowledge.

The ugly truth is that our “freedom of speech” allows us to live in a world where hatred is completely acceptable, because of our “right” to an opinion, which in turn gives us a right to hate. You can be Catholic, Buddhist, or believe in the One- Eyed Flying Purple People Eater in America and it’s OK. You can even start your own political party. The important thing is that we are all humans who deserve respect and love.

This holiday season maybe it’s time we all think a little outside the box. I would be described as a Caucasian female in some statistics book. Someone recently pointed out to me, when I asked if they celebrated Kwanza, that I can celebrate it and learn the tradition too because- guess what?- We live in a FREE country!

Reality TV isn’t real, but hatred is. I could care less about Duck Dynasty, but I do care about the gay teenager who is contemplating his life tonight because he feels the world hates him. I do care about the person who can’t get a job because of her Jesus tattoo. I do care about the black waiter who doesn’t get a tip, simply for the color of his skin. I have no time for people who preach hate.

Maybe we should all take a step back, and remember what our mothers taught us when we were 4 years old, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Maybe we should stop saying “free speech” and say, (in the words of Ellen DeGeneres) we’re “free” to “be kind to one another.”

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