Trying not to hate on… the First Amendment

This week on BnB, I'm trying not to hate. We're all about the love. But since I mentioned it, there are a few things that are testing my pleasing personality. Here we go…

I'm all for the Constitution – woo-hoo Bill of Rights! But the thing about rights in a democratic society is that people tend to abuse them. Here in the blogosphere, it's no different. Lately, while reading other blogs and comments on other blogs (not here in BougieLand, we're all good) I catch myself thinking… free speech ain't meant for everybody. I mean it IS meant for everybody but some people need to just hold it in check.

I know it's horrible to say and I feel a little bit (but not very) bad typing it. But before I go further, let's go into some definitions.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

From Wikipedia: Freedom of speech is the concept of the inherent human right to voice one's opinion publicly without fear of censorship or punishment. "Speech" is not limited to public speaking and is generally taken to include other forms of expression.

E-freedom, a combination of the words "electronic" and "freedom", refers to the right to freedom of opinion and expression through electronic communications technologies media such as the internet and telecommunication. These open, virtual, and decentralized network media provide individuals the unprecedented paths for dissidents, share ideas, critique government actions, publish, and access information.

Alright, now that we know what we're talking about, allow me to repeat… not everyone's ready for all that freedom. If for no other reason than to protect my nerves for being jumped on; I cannot help but wish that some people would self-censor. Aw OneChele, why ya say that? Let me give you three reasons why:

  1. People can be SO rude! I don't know if it's because the internet is relatively anonymous and people have cajones grandes when posted up in front of a monitor and keyboard but some people use their anonymity to get real out of hand on these internets. I completely understand that everyone is going to be of one mind on issue and truthfully, I wouldn't want them to be. But what is wrong with respecting a differing opinion and agreeing to disagree? [Author's PSA: just because someone does not agree with you does not make them stupid. Granted, they may well be but not merely because they deign to have a differing viewpoint.] If I had a dime for every time someone shared an opinion and then got blasted by some self-righteous commenter, well – let's just say I'd be retired to my private Caribbean island by now. AverageBro had a series called "The Problem With" last week that was very well done.

  2. People can be SO stupid! Not here in BougieLand, we're all brilliant in our own special way but have you SEEN some of the ignance out there? I can't even call it ignorance, it's too stupid for the "o" and the "r" to be included. All you have to do is visit Newsvine and scan the first ten comments on any article. Just at a glance, I saw Obama compared to Chavez in Venezula, I saw a mother concerned that New Moon would turn her child to the occult and a person claiming that Shaniya Davis got what was coming to her. What in all that is holy is wrong with people? My Aunt Violet used to say that common sense just isn't common any more but when did people stop thinking intelligently for themselves? I won't go into how poorly people express themselves. I stumbled into an extremely popular black website (that I won't mention cuz I don't need blog beef) that caters to a more, um – street crowd and I was in wide-eyed open-mouthed amazement at what I read. Not only were the articles slapped together and poorly written, the comments were off the chains. It was seriously like reading a different language. Please people, I'm begging you – try and communicate like you have beyond-pre-school education. My 5-year old nephew is running rings around 92% of those folks.

  3. People can be SO negative! What's wrong with putting a positive spin on a story every once and a while? What's wrong with saying something nice? Particulatly in the blogosphere, it seems that the only way to draw crowds of people to your site is to tear down someone else. Every other day, there's an episode of Black Bloggers Fight Club in Twitlandia and every single news story, no matter how insignificant is dissected and torn apart so someone can drain the last ounce of "snark" out of the witty jar. Newsflash folks – there's a fine line between sarcastic/snarky and cynical/bitter. And as for the comments, as I stated in number one – if you can't get your point across without the blatant rudeness, you're just not thinking hard enough. Now of course, we don't have anybody like that here in BougieLand and I'm grateful for that because I'm not really in this for the fisticuffs. Not everything is rant-worthy. Sometimes you just want to share a story or an opinion or just be plain silly. I understand that will not land me on the Top Ten Black Blogger's List but if ripping other people apart is what it takes to get there, no thank you.

Whew, I feel better with that off my chest; we can resume regular programming here in BougieLand. Tomorrow, why I'm trying not to hate on celebrities (and NO I don't mean Sarah Palin).

So tell me the truth, is it me or not everybody cut out to open their mouths (keyboards) and freestyle?