What happened to free speech?
Mar 08, 2011 | 9351 views | 0 0 comments | 125 125 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear editor:

It was amazing how a right to life anti-abortion ad on a billboard in Manhattan went up and had to be taken down in less than one week.  New York City Public Advocate Bill De Blasio's position was that this billboard simply doesn't belong in New York City.

The same sentiments were expressed by New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and a long list of other elected officials.

Regardless of what anyone thinks about the views on abortion expressed in the billboard on the corner of Watts Street and Avenue of the Americas in SoHo paid for by Texas, Life Always- it was an advertisement which has a place in our society. 

We are a nation, which still believes in open dialogue, tolerance and discussion of different thoughts and ideas.  

 Those on the political left, who practice political correctness to the extreme, are no different from their counterparts- the Moral Majority thought police on the extreme political right.  

Both groups promote censorship and intolerance to those whose divergent viewpoints differ from their own narrow minded ideological views.  This is disappointing to people who cherish freedom of speech and intellectual discourse on issues of the day, no matter how controversial.

Both sides need a refresher course on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment which protects freedom of speech.  Why was the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) missing in action?

I was always under the impression that residents of SoHo, the West Village and Manhattan claimed to be the most tolerant, liberal, free speech advocates.  Perhaps it depends upon whose free speech they are defending.   

We are fortunate to be living in one of the few free societies left in the world today. Freedom of speech including ideas expressed in billboards paid for by private citizens or organizations is usually cherished here, not trampled on.


Larry Penner

Great Neck
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