Freedoms dearly won: Protect them

To the Editor:
This past Memorial Day, there were many fine tributes about our brave men in Service who, over the past two centuries have given their lives in the defense of our freedoms.
One common theme of these touching tributes is that many young men died to protect our Freedoms, Freedom for all of us regardless of who we are, where we live, our incomes or ethnicity. Yet what have we, as a nation, done with these Freedoms so dearly won over the years? Not where it should be, I fear. Just read the headlines to see how Freedom of Speech is viewed and used these days. The founding Fathers are turning over in their graves. It seems incivility, rudeness, and insensitivity is today’s norm when addressing each other. Is this how our Founding Fathers, as brilliant as they were, envisioned what passes for today’s use of language between people or groups, as Freedom of Speech? I think not.
Constitutional Freedoms also carries Constitutional Responsibilities. At present, everyone is very much aware of “Their” Constitutional Rights but not much about their Constitutional Duties or concerned about the Rights of others. The Constitution is for all, not just for one individual and it is up to us as individuals to see that it applies to everyone.
The Founding Fathers were well aware of this precious Right of Freedom of Speech having lived in the time of monarchies. Free Speech also has a corollary: “To Speak the Truth.” Speech without thought cannot be without consequence. In our not too distant past, the insulting of a religious figure in the name of Freedom of Speech created a terrible consequence. When a revered figure was insulted (the prophet Mohammad), calamitous consequences resulted. All this in the false belief of “Freedom of Speech.” Remember, speech that only insults and offends offers heat but no light. Can this be the Free Speech our Founding Fathers intended? Or was the belief of our Founders regarding speech to speak the truth freely and publicly without fear of reprisal? Remember, the Golden Rule is also part of our Freedom of Speech: “Do (or speak) about others as you would have others speak about you.”
I do believe St. Anthony had it right when he said: “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” So to properly honor our gallant and brave men who died so our Founding Fathers’ truths can continue, let all of us handle Freedom of Speech responsibly with respect for all.
John Scalici