Tim Bickel’s July 9 letter “Exercise your right to free speech” was a completely inaccurate representation of what the freedom of speech truly is.
The impression I got from his letter is that he wanted to be able to say what he wanted whenever he wanted and no one is allowed to respond or be critical of it. That’s not how it works. If you say something that is anti-gay, that’s homophobic and you will be told that you’re homophobic. If you say something that’s discriminatory toward Islam, then yes you are Islamaphobic. There’s a big difference between being critical of something and demonstrating out right hate and bigotry toward it. Being critical of something is dissecting the various points of it and stating why you disagree with it without classifying it in a discriminatory light.
Freedom of speech guarantees you the right to express yourself without interference from the federal government, that’s a very basic layman’s term definition of it. But that doesn’t mean that a person can say something and another person isn’t allowed to retort and classify them as what they’re demonstrating when they speak.
My interpretation of what Bickel wanted was to be able to demonstrate discriminatory thinking, but not carry that label along with him. I think he may need to re-examine things.
I wish for people to exercise freedom of speech with the understanding that others will too and if you’re discriminatory the First Amendment doesn’t protect you from that.