Editorial: Maintain right to free speech

Americans are waking up each morning to find their civil rights missing. Since Sept. 11, Americans have steadily been giving up rights with little protest all in the name of “freedom.” How far will Americans go before they realize they have given up too much?

At Berkeley, the student senate proposed a bill to coerce the campus newspaper into printing a retraction for a political cartoon it collectively found insulting. As Creators Syndicate columnist Debra Saunders relates, “The cartoon showed two turbaned terrorists ready to ‘meet Allah and be fed grapes,’ but finding themselves instead burning in hell.” The senate wants the entire staff of the paper to undergo “mandatory sensitivity training.” For what? Expressing unpopular views of the situation concerning the Taliban and Afghanistan. The paper printed letters opposing the cartoon and thus represented both sides of a controversial issue.

On Sept. 11, everyone in the world realized the price for true freedom. Freedom isn’t always happy nor is it always good for everyone, but one incident should not negate the foundations upon which this country was founded. Terrorists have attacked the very fiber of this nation in an attempt to strip us of our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Giving in means they won. With every right we give up to the government in our times of stress, we lose a bit of what it means to be American.

A political cartoon does not take freedom away, but censoring cartoons and points of view of all kinds does. True American freedom does not mean only expressing popular opinion.

It is time to stand up and acknowledge that the United States is great because people can disagree and have different points of view, but that those views can be expressed in ways that don’t always result in violence or censorship. Let’s keep it that way.