Taking away our freedoms?

June 8th, 2024

On May 21st… and after much thought and not a little fuming, another Letter to the Editor, published this weekend in the Republican Eagle:

Letter: Taking away our freedoms?

  • Published on Jun 7, 2024

Recently, at the Aurora Borealis rail gathering, I encountered two objections, and later saw a third recorded objection, to another person exercising their freedom of speech. That’s a fundamental right. It’s the law! Spence v. Washington, 418 U.S. 405 (1974) anyone?

That day, a man was quietly walking around the gathering, holding a large upside-down flag, a “Be Kind, Not Bullying” sign in back, and in front, “STRAY.” I didn’t understand his message and approached to learn his story. As we were talking, we were confronted by a verbally abusive man who jumped in and berated him for displaying the flag upside-down, and me for being with him and agreeing! A self-proclaimed former military man, sworn on oath to defend the Constitution, should know better. When I stood up for the Constitutional rights of the man with the flag, I was subjected to ignorant, illogical, and off-point retorts. Later, another man complained about the flag carrier off in the distance, objecting to his presence. I firmly reminded him of that man’s rights, and thankfully he didn’t harass. A frequent recorder of local events stated at length that the man interfered with his video of the train, but was there any discussion acknowledging his right to be there, any effort to respectfully work out a solution?

Those carping about “losing their freedoms” are often instead working to limit Constitutional freedoms that Americans have worked so hard to establish and maintain. Our state legislators are a prime example.  

A person’s perceptions and beliefs don’t outweigh someone else’s Constitutional rights. The verbally assaultive and harassing attempt to disempower someone else was unacceptable. Just stop, back off and let others express themselves. Like liberty and justice, freedom of speech is for all.

Carol A. Overland

Red Wing

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