Being free includes the freedom to be disagreeable

Being free includes the freedom to be disagreeable


I knew if I waited long enough someone would write a letter denigrating the young girl who refused to take part in the Pledge of Allegiance at her school. The writer said “American, love it or leave it” as if that were the only answer to the situation.

I for one am glad the ACLU stepped in and stopped the school officials from abusing this young woman’s civil rights. People seem to forget that we have a document called the Constitution that contains a thing called the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech this girl demonstrated by not participating in something in which she did not believe. Whether or not the writer of the letter was offended by her actions is irrelevant. The Constitution gave her the right to do what she did.

Maybe what confused the writer was the word freedom. Let me explain. In order to live in a truly free society we must all defend the rights of even one individual to exercise his or her right to do something we totally disagree with, within the limits of the law. If we can do that, then our country is truly a free society. But if we can’t defend someone’s right to have freedom of expression regardless of how much we disagree, then freedom doesn’t exist in our country at all.

“America, love it or leave it?” Maybe we should look at it a different way. Perhaps “America, love it and make it better” would be a better catch phrase.



Let’s lose offensive mascots


I wanted to applaud The Vindicator for printing an editorial from the Los Angeles Times, “‘Redskins’ is wrong” on the Nov. 28 editorial page that culminated with the line, “The Washington franchise’s name is an embarrassment to the nation’s capital and a blight on the NFL.” Likewise, our beloved Chief Wahoo is an embarrassment to Northeast Ohio.

I was born and raised in Boardman and proudly donned my Chief Wahoo hat for years. I bought into the excuse that the disfigured caricature and name actually honored Louis Sockalexis, an member of the Penobscot tribe who played for Cleveland for two years. In her essay, “Symbolic Racism, History, and Reality: The Real Problem With Indian Mascots,” professor Kimberly Roppolo states: “I realize that many people see no problem with the use of American Indians as sports mascots ... we are in a day and age where racial tolerance and tolerance for all kinds of diversity have increased. But this is not the case with racism against American Indians, largely so ingrained in the American consciousness that it is invisible.”

We must demand that sports teams stop brainwashing our children to associate blind hate with family and tradition. Revert to an old name: the Cleveland Blues, Cleveland Spiders, Cleveland Naps. Transition to a “C” logo on the hats and uniforms. Do something before we are known as the Cleveland Racists.