“According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Writing has, for as long as I remember, been a central part of my life. I don’t know what I’d do without it – expressing my feelings and ideas, working through difficult situations (both good and bad), creating, innovating, documenting.
Reading is the same. Knowing I’ve access to anything at any time, and curling up in a chair to devour the written word – this has sustained me for 38+ years. Times when I literally had nothing else, I always had a book.
What happened to the media on Friday places everything at risk. Plenty of others have written important pieces decrying the White House’s decision to exclude media outlets they view as overly critical of Trump. The implications are enormous – suddenly, it’s not okay to express yourself in America any longer. Now, only good news can be allowed. News this new regime approves.
Whether you support the people running this mess of a country or not, you should be sorely vexed. Freedom of the press, freedom of expression, these are two of the hallmarks of any nation that could even begin to call itself free. Suppressing the media means more than just distorting the news (which now we must contend with as a people in a way never before – distortion pressed openly by a regime scared of both people and expression), it means that suppression of free expression in general is quickly on its way.
What happens now to other forms of expression – visual arts, literature, music, film? We see what’s happening to our freedom to demonstrate – 18 states are trying to suppress and criminalize peaceful protests staged by citizens. The White House is attacking protestors with ridiculous accusations and vitriol. This is yet another strike against a free nation. We are sliding swiftly down a slope toward totalitarianism.
Freedom of expression is under attack – what are we, as a citizenry, going to do?
I feel like we’re living in the fictionalized past of another nation – McCarthy-esque, complete with book burnings (bannings), friends turning against friends, families destroying each other, media used to subjugate the populace. What’s happening right under our noses, before our very eyes?
Will my children be able to walk the streets in peaceful demonstration against the acts of their government, as guaranteed by the First Amendment? (“…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances…”)
Will they have access to honest and researched reporting about what’s happening in their own nation and around the world?
Will they have the freedom to read whatever they choose? Watch movies? Listen to music?
Or will we all stand back and watch as our liberty is taken, our rights trampled, and our country slips into tyranny and oppression?