Love it or leave it, she with the deadly bite. Quick is the blue tongue, forked as the lightning strike. – James Hetfield, Metallica
In an effort to procrastinate even further from a useless assignment I’ve chosen to write about something that I’ve been discussing thoroughly with my uncle. This one can in some cases seem a bit politically heated but those of you who’ve been on facebook lately will be no strangers to that.
I’m not going to pretend that I understand politics and I’m not going to tell you that I have a solution because I don’t. I’m just a guy who happened to come across an extreme symbol that lead to yet another tangent of thought.
In perusing of my Metallica collection, I’ve been wondering why they chose that snake logo for their infamous self-titled release. Me being the nerd that I am, researched this symbol, and it turns out to date back to the Boston Tea Party. This symbol is a snake on a field of yellow alongside the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me.”
Now as it happens, this symbol was first utilised by none other than Benjamin Franklin, who had drawn up a cartoon for an American newspaper. This depicted a snake cut into eight separate pieces, representing the American colonies. This served as a plea for unity, eventually against the British tax raises that culminated in the Boston tea party. This was later transformed into a flag by Colonel Gladsden, and later become a symbol of the Revolutionary War.
Those words jumped out at me “Don’t Tread on Me!” In my view, these words serve no better purpose than to provide a backing against the curtailment of freedom of speech. Freedom of Speech is a right that has been earned in numerous countries across the globe, and to be honest, its ended up becoming both a gift and a curse.
In short, I’ve noticed that people are fine with freedom of speech until it is used. Now I’m not saying that people should be able to disgrace and insult whoever they wish, as that’s just pure bigotry. But what I am saying is, anger at a different opinion on a certain landmark or time stamp should not affect your emotions. You just have to realise that they, just like you, are exercising their freedom of speech.
Wasn’t New York once described as a beacon of American prosperity? Now, it’s not even worth the beads we paid for it! All it is, is a cesspool of criminals and illegals that have snuck across our borders […] You can boo me all you want, but you know you agree with me. Either you’re too afraid to say something or you’re too gutless to do anything about it!” – Zeb Colter
I drew upon the character of Zeb Colter because he has expressed his views on national television. People were up in arms once these views had been aired calling him this, that and the other form of “something-ist.” Though I may not have agreed with him, I do support his right to speak his thoughts freely. I feel that once you curtail freedom of speech…well..what do you have left? A group of people that are just the same? Where’s the fun in that? It’s thanks to freedom of speech that academic debate exists, because different views can be spoken and compared. Hell it’s part of the reason that we progress.
Now I’m not saying that we have to provide people that share extreme views with a platform to share them, otherwise we’d just get hate speech all over the place. But I do think that silencing those that choose to speak out is not only a display of ignorance, but of the same level of stupidity of those that hold extreme viewpoints.
Another phrase often attributed to the Colonel Gadsden flag is “We the people.” This may be cruelly ironic, but it is “We the people” that have the choice. People don’t force you to listen to their opinions (well, unless you’re name happens to be Kim Jong), nor you should force yours on others. Believe what you want to, just don’t try to silence others that hold differing views, otherwise debate and discussion could disappear into the horrible recesses of life’s back-room cupboard, and where would we go from there?
Though a fight every now and then does make life a little more interesting, don’t ya think? – Dante, Devil May Cry
‘Til Next Time