There is an ad going around with beauty queens with duct tape over their mouths and "No H8" printed on their cheeks.
You can see it here: http://www.foxnews.com/photoessay/0,4644,7144,00.html
I am shocked that beauty queens would be so dumb as to consent to this.
I'm pretty sure they think they're saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all--and force yourself not to."
What they're really saying is that being socially accepted is more important than our right to free speech or freedom of religion. Forget the first amendment--I'll promote whatever someone spray paints on my cheek! And nothing else.
Let's imagine a dialogue:
Guy one: "Let's make it mandatory for everyone to eat Pork in public on Fridays because pork is cheap and will benefit an entire industry, creating jobs, and improving our sense of national spirit! Where's the law? I'll sign it. Here, let me make a movie or two supporting my position and give millions of dollars to advertising in its favor."
Guy two: "I'm in favor of jobs, national pride, and even the Pork industry. But it's against my religion to eat pork."
Guy one: "You're an awful, hateful person. I'm going to make it so you can't get a job or walk out in public without being ridiculed! You are unAmerican for having religious beliefs! You hurt my feeeeelliiiinnnggssss! (And I'm going to make sure the entire media population knows it and is against you.)"
How can someone who says she represents America (which is, in the case of beauty queens, a debatable idea anyway) also espouse the idea that everyone must support one ideal and never speak against it?
It is so central to everything we have and are that Americans Can Believe Anything They Want. If you start punishing people for disagreeing with you, and the society supports that (and the media enforces it), our liberty is gone.
Above all else, we must embrace our right to disagree. We must embrace our right to both offend and be offended. We must NEVER try to force our ideas on anyone. Convince? Yes. Coerce? NEVER! We cannot duct tape people's mouths to keep them from discussing, debating, and, yes, disagreeing. The answer to Hate is NOT silence. Especially enforced silence. Remember, tyrants are the ones who punish people for disagreeing with them.
Enforced conformity is the antithesis of liberty--and things can be enforced not just by police action, but also subtly. By Beauty queens and the media.
After all, it wasn't hatred of the Jews that caused the Holocaust. It was millions of people allowing themselves to be swept away by propaganda, and eventually not being allowed to stand up for what they believe.
If we enforce conformity, by law or by social punishment, we are not America. We are Hitler.
Even if we are a bunch of pretty faces. With duct tape.