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Fade to Black

Posted by on Feb 26, 2015 in 2015, Choken Word, Fear, Peace, psychology

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Setting:
A free speech event at any university. A group of academics and “experts” stand behind a podium on a campus green in front of a towering university building. The architecture is seventies style minimalism now mostly viewed as boring and outdated. Students sit on towels and blankets and prepare themselves to be entertained and bored. The first speaker is the event organizer and the head of the journalism department. He takes the mic. Tests it. Lowers it and begins to speak…..

Speaker:
In these trying times, Free Speech, is an important topic. Today our “freedom of speech” is being questioned by global terrorism. Journalism is under attack daily. How far can our freedoms protect us before our speech is perceived as hate speech or slander. Today is our time to stand up for what we believe in. To use our speech to encourage open dialogue. It is this freedom that allows us to peacefully gather. It is our freedoms which allow us to discuss topics from varying views. Giving us a process through which we can share and disagree with each other without consequence. Allowing us to understand each other better if not one day come to consensus on what our freedoms really are and where they come from; a nation, a religion, a god or the universe itself. Also, how best might we protect them……

Setting:
Off at the far end of the green there is a man with a bullhorn. He begins to respond to the speaker as if he is personally being addressed.

Bullhorn:
Freedom is only an illusion. Our phones are being tracked. Our keywords searched and indexed. This conversation is being evaluated. You speak of freedom but if this day goes poorly there won’t be another Freedom of Speech day. Your freedoms are as secure as your ability to pay for your mortgage or health care. Your ability to pay your bills. You are only one paycheck away from losing your freedoms.

Speaker:
Thank you sir for your input. I applaud your efforts to speak out but this day is for invited speakers only. Currently we don’t have time to hear everyone’s voice. But there will be another Free Speech Day next year.

Bullhorn:
Freedom is an illusion. Presented to you by who is on the invited guest speaker list. What experience do they represent on the subject matter. Their resumes. Their affiliations with groups that can help build the universities connections locally and nationally. To pad more resumes. To help develop and one day publish more research on a paper that will only lead to more research. Which will attract more professors which will produce more students.

Speaker:
(Now whispering off the mic.) Can we get security over there? ¬†Yes, the man with the bullhorn. Thank you. I know. I know. I’ll explain later. He will ruin the event.

Bullhorn:
I can hear you Mr. Speaker. Professor of journalism. You are trying to remove someone intent on sharing their opinion on the very topic for which this day has been organized to present. Your freedom is an illusion of do’s and don’ts. The public and private stage. What do your neighbors think? What does your Dean think. Are you worthy of tenure? Your voice is irrelevant. They are asking themselves, “How little will he rock the boat?

Speaker:
Enough. I will not let you take over this event with your voice. You will have to leave campus property or be arrested.

Bullhorn:
I will not leave. I was not invited. I am not represented. I am not on the list of local “experts”. I represent the freedom you do not have. I am the voice you wish you could proclaim as your own. Never having to self edit before speaking. Filterless. Free dumb. Unrestrained. Your Free Speech Day is a hoax. An event to make you believe you have freedom or represent the freedom so few actually will ever have.

Speaker:
But we can speak today without fear of being shot, beheaded, imprisoned or tortured.

Bullhorn:
Why have a head when you can’t use it. The only truly free people in the world are the artists. The whistleblowers, The provocateurs. The homeless. The bridge burners. The questionably sane. The ones who do not have to worry about how their voice is perceived. Who need no resumes. The ones who are truly free, speak through bullhorns and do not stand behind podiums. Are most likely never seen. They are invisible. Are unheard of. Are too risky to invite to speak. Do not have multiple degrees. And when they are asked to leave, they speak louder. When threatened with death, speak louder. Will take a bullet for you and me. Their freedom is radical. They are truly free.

Setting:
Security rushes the Bullhorn man. Tackles him. Zip ties his arms behind his back.

Bullhorn:
Je Suis Charlie. Black Lives Matter. Je Suis Charlie. Black Lives Matter. Je Suiiiiiiiiis Charlieeeeeeeee. Black Liveeeees Matteeeer……..

Setting:
Security gags the bullhorn man and puts him on the back of a golf cart labeled SECURITY.

Speaker:
Everyone. Everyone. Settle down. It’s fine. Everything is under control. Now for our first invited speaker, we have the new editor of……..

Setting:
The microphone begins to screeeech, screeech as the scene fades to black.

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