Jeremy Christian used his free speech to hurl abuse at a teenage girl for wearing a hijab. This is terrible behavior, but it is allowed by law. Using free speech to confront Christian in that situation is also allowed by law, and that action should be encouraged and applauded by decent people. Christian decided that free speech applied only to him and that anyone who uses free speech to question his behavior deserves death. Obviously, he is an extremist, and what he did would be the opposite of what the principles of free speech represent. The problem is that many on the far right, the side adjacent to white nationalist and Nazi types like Christian, use the principle of free speech as an excuse to say whatever they want without consequence. Like Christian, they think free speech applies only to what they want to say and hear.
If there’s one promise you can make for yourself, let it be this: I will not let myself be ashamed of my unique experience of being human. Forget the positive bullshit: that promise, that mantra, that state of mind is what can really change lives. A person incapable of cowering to shame is a hero — considering all the many reasons our world gives us reasons to be ashamed. To forgo the feeling of shame is an act of radical resistance. Let yourself be. To truly be. What freedom.
It’s okay to feel like the ground is shaking beneath your feet. It’s okay because everything is temporary. You can lose your footing one day and be on top of the world the next. Things can change in a blink. Happiness is as fleeting as anything else. These fake salespeople who act like they have the cure to being human really grind me up. All they serve to do is make you feel ashamed for not having it all figured out. They sell your aspirational experience and bake shame into it.