Unexpected Lesson

I had a really interesting Thanksgiving a couple years ago. My husband and I visited my sister in Washington DC for a long weekend. She lives in a very diverse community which she loves. She befriends many from all different walks of life so at our Thanksgiving table we had all sorts of faces with all different stories to tell.

We had recently seen a movie called "Shut Up and Sing" which was a documentary about the Dixie Chicks. I'm sure many have heard of their lead singer's controversial comment about President Bush at a concert in England a few years ago. Anyway, this documentary is about their experience during and after the windfall of her comment.

So, back to Thanksgiving. We had just seen that movie in the theater and had a rather interesting discussion about whether or not Dixie Chicks deserved to be shut out of the country music community like they were.

In the movie Natalie Maines continued to say unfavorable things about Pres. Bush and one of the members of our Thanksgiving table was irate and said no matter her opinion you just don't disrespect the leader of our country like that. In response to this comment this very quite woman spoke up and unleashed the horriffic state of her home country. She told of her fear of ever saying ANYTHING negative about her country's leaders. They would either be put into jail or beaten for having political opinions that differ from the norm. I was so struck by her love for our country where she could say anything she wanted without fear for her life. In my naitivity I couldn't believe this sort of situation still existed in other countries.

This conversation was actually quite life changing for me. Freedom of speech was constantly on my mind. I never quite realized how important freedom of speech is to our country until I heard this wonderful woman's experience. We can be upset with other's opinions but they have every right to voice their views. That's what freedom means to me...freedom to think and express myself.


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