Sat, Oct. 19

Letter: We don’t have to agree, but freedom of speech must remain supreme


I was born in Phoenix 76 years ago. Although there are people with agendas that don’t know, or don’t want to know, I went to school with African American kids when they were still relegated to the back of the bus in the south.

My immediate family includes American Indian, while my extended family includes Whites, Hispanics, Blacks and various religions, including Judaism.

I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to be Black. But I do know we’ve come so far that they are guaranteed, under the law, every right that I possess. To believe there will be a day when prejudice doesn’t exist is fantasy. Prejudice finds its roots in fear of that which is different.

The real progress in civil rights has occurred on the playgrounds of our schools. Kids, until poisoned by adult actions, don’t really care what color or religion their friends are.

I abhor everything the racist white nationalists, skinheads, and KKK stand for. But there is no law against being prejudiced. In regard to the violence in Charlottesville, they had a valid permit and the constitutional right to express their opinion peacefully.

Anyone feeling they have some special mandate to take away that right is, as far as I’m concerned, a threat to our country and as wrong as those they hate. I gave this country four years of my life in the Marine Corps to protect freedom of speech. I don’t appreciate a bunch of leftist goons deciding that service was meaningless.

Jim Barber


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