Free Speech Censored

So you have a radical viewpoint? Is free speech censored?  The internet is one forum for communicating your thoughts.  If it’s truly radical then someone is not going to like it and if that someone has some kind of power over you, then you are tempered.  So called “professionals” are typically tempered because they subscribe to a professional body which encourages members not to rock the boat so to speak.  In fact, such organizations go so far as to encourage a subdued temperament when communicating opinions on social policy through their codes of ethics.

Race relations in the U.S. is in the news and obviously a hot button topic and here we have a Detroit police detective with a radical notion who has now apparently been sanctioned.  He has characterized the “Black Lives Matter” movement as “racist and terrorist”.  I’m obviously not condoning such a position but I do ponder his right to the assertion in the context of maintaining his livelihood.  The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment clears a path for U.S. citizens to speak freely with impunity from their government.  Hence; should an extension of government being law enforcement have the right to discipline a detective for an opinion expressed through social media in spite of the opinion contravening the broader mandate of policing?  Does a detective with a skill set for solving crimes have a broader responsibility for aligning his philosophy or rationale with the goals of a largesse?  Apparently Rory McIroy who interviewed recently will if asked about his career describe himself as a “golf professional”. He has asserted that his goal in golf is to “win” and not necessarily serve a broader mandate of “growing the game”.  Apples and oranges you suggest?  I’m not sure.  Could it be that calling someone a racist or terrorist is simply a more passionate and socially contentious subject than is growing the game of golf of which both subjects are open for opinion based expression through the First Amendment.  We know for sure that that Mr. McIroy will not be excluded from any upcoming PGA events.  We also know that he wasn’t harboring thoughts of a sophisticated ethics code promulgated by his player association when commenting about not needing to grow the game.

In a time of race related turmoil, it is not helpful for law enforcement officers to utilize social media for a radical race related opinion.  President Obama articulated eloquently in his memorial address to fallen Dallas police officers a just need to communicate more effectively issues that lead to racial divide in an effort not only to prevent acts of violence but to build upon progress achieved since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

It is radical opinion which provides stimulus for change.  Radical opinion can be beneficial for discharging the energy required from taking a system burdened by mediocrity and turning it into a powerful productive positive force.  The power of radical opinion should not be discouraged because of its misuse by the few in contexts where it does not belong.