There is no such thing as free speech.
While the term is a common idiom in our vernacular, the concept no longer truly exists in our current culture.
Today, as it was 250 years ago, there is a cost to speech. It may seem ludicrous to compare the cost of human lives on the battlefield of Appomattox to today, however, we are still experiencing a virtual, veritable bloodbath. The weapons may be different, yet the result is equally insidious.
In the culture war we find ourselves enmeshed in, speaking truth extracts a price. A heavy price.
Witness the situation with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott this week. When asked about Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones strong stance on the National Anthem issue, Prescott said, “I never protest during the anthem. I don’t think that’s the time or the venue to do so. The game of football has always brought me such a peace, and I think it does for a lot of people watching the game.
“So when you bring such controversy to the stadium, to the field, it takes away from the love that football brings to a lot of people.”
He then added, “I’m not naïve. I’m very aware of the social injustice that we have going on. But I’m about the action that we can do, rather than the silent protests.”
Prescott’s comments were not in opposition to those players who have chosen to take a knee during the anthem. He was not critical of them. He simply shared his personal belief that the anthem was not the right vehicle for a protest. And he followed it with his belief that action is more important that protest.
He was eviscerated.
One social media poster called him a “lemonade serving house Negro.” He was named Donkey of the Week by the nationally syndicated radio program, The Breakfast Club. He was accused of making the statement because he is looking out for his money. A Dallas artist painted an outdoor mural depicting Prescott in the “sunken place” from the movie Get Out.
All because he shared his opinion that he won’t kneel for the anthem, and that he understands there is social injustice that needs action not protests.
How did we get here?
Is it true that the voices who claim to be on the left, and who call for tolerance, believe that free speech is only the use of words that are in complete agreement with their ideology?
Sadly, it seems so.
The founding fathers would be pulling the hair out of their powdered wigs. They were willing to lay down their lives to ensure an individual’s right to freely share their perspectives and beliefs. Many of them did so.
Yet, today, the attitude is: if you don’t agree with me, I will do everything possible to silence you, malign you, assail you, defame you, marginalize you, and demonize you.
So, friends, count the cost of your words for they are costly.
There is a great cost to speaking truth. The truth is precious.
And worth the price.