I know Charlottesville well. I have built buildings and infrastructure there. I spent many great nights in the city. It is a good place, a place of open thought.
A lady was killed on the streets of Charlottesville recently in a conflict that grew out of hate. It matters little to me which hate manifested in the murder. To the family of the dead girl, no argument or manipulation matters. Simply, their daughter, sister, friend deserved to be heard, and to go on with her life. No crime is more heinous than murder.
I wrote a short note on LinkedIn to make known my position on the senselessness of this murder, the unacceptability of the attempts of curbing the speech of those who wished to be heard, the frialty of man to act appropriately to change that which was flawed, however they saw it.
I do not condone white supremacy. I despise it. I do not condone any form of hatred. I despise even the hatred of the establishment. Hate changes nothing. It serves only to blurr the vision of the affected and to hide truth.
Always, discussion is warranted when men disagree. Always, we must debate, be heard, and hear others. It is written in our documents as a God-given right, to be heard, to convene, and to demonstrate. It is delineated in our Bill of Rights that we have the right to voice our opinions, all opinions, even those that most find painful or unacceptable. It is this guarantee, afforded by our Constitution, that allows the free exchange of information to progress, for us to grow as a culture of free men.
The K.K.K. is a bad thing. White supremists are a bad thing. Black hate groups are a bad thing. Hispanic gangs are a bad thing. Any religion that attempts to force their beliefs on others is, potentially, a bad thing. It is always so when violence or murder are a part of this evolution, as it has been so very many times.
Still the good, the bad, the different, the disgusting, are men. They, too, are Americans. Their right to speak is protected as is yours. It is no less valued under our Constitution. I am wholly committed to supporting with any means necessary, their right to free speech, as I am to protecting yours. You, too, should share this conviction if you are so lucky as to be an American. Free speech is a right afforded us by our government, by ourselves. It is called a God-given right, a right of all men.
When we attempt to stop others from speaking freely, even of things that we find repulsive, we stop ourselves from holding the same freedom. We are a nation of diverse ethnicity. We are a nation of diverse thought, we are, too, a nation of diverse discussion and debate. It has always been thus, since Jefferson drafted his magical words so long ago “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…” and then went back to Monticello and his slaves.
If, in our quest for comminality of thought, we abandon these constitutional tenets, which, for so long, we have attempted to realize, we will have lost all of it. Freedom is not pretty, or easy, or guaranteed. It is difficult and it is sometimes ugly. Men who are free can say things that offend. To legislate or to suppress such expression is to abandon forever one’s own freedom. That, my friends, is a price that I shall never pay. Even if I must die, I shall die a free man, one who can and will express his thoughts without asking for permission from any group or government.