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Your Right To Freedom Of Speech Isn’t Negated By Family Ties

Social media raises a lot of new questions when it comes to freedom of speech. When I first opened my Facebook account, I’ll admit, I was one of those high-key rant and ravers who posted all my passive aggressive anxiety about something said to me online.

When anyone, be it a family member, ex-husband, or some random stranger on the street upset me — I’d post some meme, quote, or a statement about ‘how some people’ needed to improve or learn a lesson. Often it was an afterthought like that a person gets late at night when realizing how to best retort in a conversation.

Facebook, and yes, even Twitter, provided me an outlet. Rather than get on my knees to take my anger to God, I would post on my wall, feel right about it, hear others statements, and then delete it later on when the anger was gone.

But, after interviewing a social media influencer, years later, he said that those types of behaviors, and others, say something about your character, and it’s not positive. Now, your social media habits supposedly can reveal if you’re antisocial, depressed, high maintenance, passive-aggressive, or just plain dumb or stupid.

So, I started to refrain from getting into political rants or religious dialogues with anyone at all. In a way, I gave up my freedom of speech and exchanged it to restraint. Rather than say anything at all, I kept my social mouth shut. It kept me out of trouble online with family, but inside it really made me doubt my convictions. If I didn’t speak up, did I really believe what I claimed to?

Did my silence out of loyalty to my family betray my convictions?

Today, some people are saying that when you refuse not to comment, post, or state your opinion online, even if it means arguing with family members, you’re not a part of the global conversation. I know that family members of mine would take it offensively if I posted my issues with their statements online. Many would say that those types of battles should be aired out in private.

But, what does that mean if one person you love is advocating about or against a political agenda that you disagree with? If you say nothing at all, isn’t that the greater wrong? Sure, you might not win over a conversation or sway a relative over to your side.

You might end up deleted or blocked, in a worst-case scenario. But, at the end of the day, if your relative’s platform, or yours, gives license to social change, isn’t it a civic duty to be honest about your opinions, even if that means arguing with family members on social? I think it does.

At the end of it all, we don’t own our social media presence. We are all publishers, even if your information is set to friends and family, or even private. You can say what you need to say and either advocate as an ally regarding loyalty to the country, for your political party, right to life topics, or whatever you feel necessary.

If your family member doesn’t intend to discuss it openly, then they shouldn’t post the topic on their wall in the first place. And, if they do, it’s an open game in my opinion. Our family tie doesn’t negate my right to free speech.

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About Aria Gmitter

Aria Gmitter writes about parenting and political matters affecting the family.

3 comments

  1. Totally agree with this article! It’s as though , I was writing it!! Thank you for sharing!!

  2. When someone refrains from commenting in social media or elsewhere it is not called suppressing free speech, rather it is called making a choice not to speak. Furthermore there is no such thing as a “global conversation” – what a ridiculous term! The closest thing to a “global conversation” would be the Tower of Babble (misspelling intended), exchanges of noise incomprehensible to any of the participants.

    • Al, not commenting when you feel righteous indignation is an act of cowardice. Global conversation or not, if the comment is posted to a particular forum, that is the proper place for rebuttal. Being demure does nothing to improve ignorance and bias. But, don’t let my comment stop you from shirking your duties.

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