To borrow some phrasing from Salt-N-Pepa, let’s talk about speech, ba-by. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be.
Maybe you read that lede and thought it was clever. Good, keep reading.
Perhaps you read it and thought, unoriginal cornball. OK, stop reading.
See that choice you made? That’s you, responding to me exercising my right to free speech.
So you, scrolling to the next thing, is not compromising my right to express myself. I expressed. You reacted.
Now let’s suppose you read this because you follow me on social media and you put it in the context of what you know about my beliefs and writing style. You’ve seen my multitude of posts about wresting our democracy from the Trump crowd or leading a book group on The 1619 Project or enjoying the recent Janet Jackson documentary or what it’s like to grieve a parent who died of COVID.
Next let’s say you want to hire a life coach. After careful consideration, you decide to hire someone other than me because you don’t like what I have to say on any or one of the above. That’s certainly within your rights, isn’t it?
I am acutely aware that every single thing I write, on my blog or on social media, can cost me a potential job or client. Those are the consequences of putting myself out there in an authentic way. I express public opinions almost daily. There’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube, as they say. I don’t think some Trump supporter is going to green light me for employment anytime soon. And that is just fine by me. A chance I take for my own sanity and well-being. I am happiest when I am me.
Do you see where I’m going here? Not deeper into the history of me and my writing decisions, but pulling out the lens and widening it to the myriad of ways this comes up in the news cycle every day. My burning question: How do so many people still not get how the First Amendment applies and how it doesn’t?
If someone doesn’t hire me based on what they read, you could see that as a consequence of my choice. I lost business. I go in knowing that could happen. It’s how the world works.