This week has been unlike any other in recent American history.
As rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, even more craziness ensued in digital form, as we all watched it play out in real time and wondered how it all came to be in the first place.
Then came the paranoia, with social media sites like Twitter deciding they would no longer be a platform for insurgents to plan domestic terror attacks. We wonder why, if they felt that way, they allowed it at all.
The social media owner’s decision included suspending the account of President Donald Trump, leading to claims that his First Amendment rights were being taken away.
Round and round, and everyone has their own belief set about how all this is going down and who is to blame for our country’s woes.
But the one claim we cannot allow to stand is the idea that free speech is dead.
Free speech does not mean you can say anything you want on Twitter or Facebook and never be sanctioned. The First Amendment prohibits the government from locking people up for speaking out against them or whatever else has upset them, but there is no Constitutional requirement that social media platforms allow anyone to keep using them.
Free speech in America was here long before Twitter, and it will be here long after Twitter has gone the way of MySpace. We have had First Amendment protections for two centuries before many of us allowed Facebook to take over their daily lives.
Our president of the United States never needed Twitter to say what he had to say to the American people. All President Trump has to do is walk downstairs to his press room and he could speak to anyone with full media coverage live and in color for as long as he wants.
Apart from all the national hubbub, The Northeast Georgian has been fighting for free speech since 1892, giving the residents of Habersham County a voice and reporting the truth. That’s 129 years of free speech opportunities for our community.
We will be here no matter which way the political winds blow, and you can count on us as an interminable outlet for free speech.