Read Grace’s Letter

 

Dear Grace,

Sorry, I concede the penalty for mentioning the “R” country. I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon, so there will be plenty of time to discuss this topic at a later date. However, I believe everything is connected, so I think you’ll find that more than one topic will be creeping into our correspondence on a regular basis.

Here’s the thing about change. Everybody wants it, but nobody actually wants to be the one doing the changing. Most people find comfort in routine, so change is scary to many. They want it, but they don’t. They want more laws to protect their rights, but they want their freedom, too. It’s not surprising that there is a black hole in the middle between left and right.

Change, to our forefathers, meant surviving. My grandfathers left Eastern Europe with their families before WWI, when they all knew war was imminent. What they came to Canada for was an offer to purchase a quarter section of land (160 acres) for $10. Yes, they all had a lot of hard work in front of them and a lot of hard times adapting to a new country, new language, new everything. But it was a matter of survival to them. Change was forced. Did they adapt? Yes, because they had to in order to survive. Our children will, too.

I also agree that change has happened more rapidly in the last 20 years than any progress made by humans in hundreds of years. A large part of that is attributable to communication, information, and social media sharing, which connect us all on a global scale, via the Internet.

I also agree that not all change is good. Society’s attempt at protecting our future generations have created the Millennial Generation. Yes, they’ve contributed to some amazing technological advances, but they still want what’s in the middle — and they want far left and far right, too. Real life does not award participation trophies, and not everyone can win or be satisfied. Real life is composed of winners and losers, and you can’t be both.

What I’m getting to here is that the Millennials want free speech, but they also feel, at the same time, that anyone from outside their group should not have the right to say what they want to say. We’ve made Millennials believe they can have both, and that’s not how real life works. We either have more laws or free speech. There is no in-between.

What I believe is that there is just not enough definition between what’s free speech and hate speech. I also believe we now have Trump to blame for that. He runs his mouth in the gray area most of the time, somewhere between free thinking and offensive, non-politically correct hate speech. Let’s face it, he can be downright offensive to other world leaders, and he’s done it on many occasions.

All that being said, I think the Millennials will not stand for our free speech to be ripped from our grasp. I have to have faith in that. We all do, as they are our future. As journalists, I believe it’s our duty to make sure that we never lose that right.

We’ll never satisfy everyone, but we can make sure both sides are heard — left and right, and in between.

Cheers,
Connor

 

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