Recently, a city council meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, revealed a nasty truth about our society and the example that most adults set when it comes to something in which they disagree.
A young 13-year-old girl named Addison Woosley decided to open her mouth and share her thoughts through a speech she had written on the issue of abortion.
Her speech was a moving plea to “make Raleigh a sanctuary city for the unborn,” and she compared abortion to the evils of slavery.
Needless to say, this was not received well by the adults who attended the meeting. They not only heckled the little girl for having such a position, but they began to yell so loud that you can’t even hear the last phase of her presentation.
The 13-year-old was visibly afraid for her life, and she was completely confused as to how her position could lead to such a negative and open reaction from “responsible” adults.
As adults, we try to teach children that they have a right to express themselves freely. We also try to guide children on being respectful of others when they have opinions that are different from our own. What happened here? Adults took to the streets by displaying uncouth behavior to a child simply because she took advantage of her freedom of speech—a right afforded to us all.
The problem is that we now live in a society that targets individuals who say things that fall outside of the popular norm. This will eventually lead to a society that fears being honest or truthful because if it differs from the norm, punishment will follow.
How can we teach our children to be honest if they are confronted with anger and hate each time they share their opinion? Additionally, how can we expect our society to advance and grow if we fail to embrace the differences of opinion from others?
The incident at the city council meeting proved that our ethics and morals are beginning to tarnish so much so that we will disarm a child of their rights as a citizen of the United States if they dare disagree with our own point of view. We can’t allow ourselves to close our ears to the voices of the future generation just because we don’t like where they are headed.
Each generation takes our society into a new dimension of thought that expands our understanding of one another, as well as our understanding of ourselves. The moment we silence a child is the moment we place a roadblock on our journey into a brighter future.
Addison learned a valuable lesson that day. She learned that adults aren’t always patient, correct, loving, or supportive. She also learned that speaking your mind comes at a very high price—one which she apparently was willing to pay as evidence in her determination to finish her speech, even though she couldn’t be heard over the jeers.
We can only hope that the adults who attempted to shut this child down for expressing her thoughts are among the minority in our society. Although they yelled at this child in an attempt to control her sharing an unpopular opinion, they really only displayed their ignorance and incredible lack of the very tolerance they profess to demand from others.