Don’t stifle discussion of issues
In our fervor to support our own views, we can’t forget that our right to do so obligates us to respect those same rights for others.
I was disheartened by newspaper reports that a Maryland state senator, now seeking another office in a sister county, has called for censure of Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s) because he expressed his views about the removal of Chief Justice Roger Taney’s statue from our state capitol grounds. It’s disheartening when a state leader who clearly expects his own right to free speech to be unfettered seeks to silence someone else who exercises that same right.
There is no pretext that hate speech or fighting words were involved, or other matters that might justify limitation of free speech. Sen. Miller’s letter was in exercise of his responsibilities as a member of the Maryland State House Trust. Regardless of one’s view about whether the statue should have been moved or not, it would be difficult to argue that Sen. Miller’s letter was anything other than a temperate, reasoned document focused on encouraging a full and informed discussion of a matter of importance to all our citizens. (I encourage anyone to read it at www.scribd. com/document/356959267/ Letter-to-Governor-Hogan#from_embed.)
We should welcome any similarly responsible disagreement with the substance of the letter, but not an attempt to suppress discussion. At an exceedingly difficult time in our nation’s progress toward “a more perfect union,” attempts to limit discussion in such a way do a disservice to us all.