I am anti-censorship. I do not believe in thought policing, and I believe that everyone, regardless of how much I disagree with it, has a right to not only hold an opinion, but also to voice his or her opinion. So long as their words stay words and their actions bring no harm, everybody should have this right.
But at a certain point, some people gain a platform. Society sees fit to provide both soapbox and microphone to some people giving their words weight and scope. And while I maintain that everyone is allowed to believe whatever they want, there is a responsibility that comes with this.
When this audibility comes as a result of power, your beliefs cannot become actions that violate morals, ethics and laws.
When you are in charge of a country in which freedom of religion is a natural born right, you cannot allow the prejudiced opinions that you have the right to hold infect the laws that you pass. You can’t ban a whole religion from the country. To do so would violate the ideals that the country is supposed to stand for.
You cannot use your beliefs alone as a justification for the laws that you attempt to pass. The effects of these apply to all, leaving many who do not ascribe to your opinions but are nonetheless bound to the laws that you pass.
You have to learn to divide your opinions from your work and to work separate from them. It is your obligation to serve the entire country, not just the ones who support you and like you.
And regardless of the personal ideas that you hold, when given that much power, you also gain the responsibility to realize the power of your words. To realize that they be used to rally those who hold the same beliefs as you. Which is fine, until it turns to violence.
Whether that be a man attacking a Muslim airport worker because he feels the president’s words are all the justification he needs, or a rouge Madonna fan who takes a portion of a speech as inspiration.
It’s not to say that people with fame or a platform are simply exempt from the freedom of opinion. They are still free to hold the same beliefs as anybody else. What I’m asking for is not silence or censorship. What I want is a separation of opinions and bias from the actions of those in power. I want understanding of the power of words and their potential to become another’s action. I only want a bit of self-reflection from everyone armed with a platform and an audience.