I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Celebrate free speech this holiday weekend
I guess I confuse Independence Day with Thanksgiving — but the things I give thanks for on the Fourth every year aren’t personal.
To me, the 4th of July is about being grateful for the rights we enjoy as Americans — not the least of them is the freedom of speech afforded by the First Amendment.
That’s probably why the giant picture on the front page of the Metro & N.M. section of yesterday’s Albuquerque Journal grabbed my eye.
A lady, apparently in full-out bellow, was pictured making her voice heard at a town hall meeting held Tuesday by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall at a VFW hall in Albuquerque.
According to the extended caption, the town hall drew a standing-room-only crowd of people who came to tell Sen. Udall, a Santa Fe Democrat, what they thought about health care, government spending and “other hot topics coming out of Washington D.C.”
The cutline also said some of the people at the meeting were dismayed at the “yelling” that broke out.
Udall, however, told the paper he was glad so many of his constituents showed up to give him a piece of their mind.
“That’s what democracy’s all about,” he said.
Amen to the junior senator from New Mexico.
Contrast that raucous New Mexico town hall with what happened in Iran a few weeks ago, when a woman standing in the street observing massive election protests was shot in the heart and allegedly killed by a government sniper. Her name was Neda.
Americans — along with much of the rest of the world — were shocked at Neda’s brazen murder. I guess that message was just obvious enough — and just bloody and grisly enough to shock even the most oblivious Americans.
Neda’s death comes just in time to reinforce the importance of being free to speak your mind in America — and to serve as a vivid reminder of what happens in countries where you are not.
The struggle for freedom continues in Iran — though Americans transfixed by Michael Jackson’s untimely death may no longer be aware of it.
The masses in Iran want democracy. Not because we as Americans are forcing it on them, but because they truly yearn for it.
This Fourth of July, I’ll be thinking about the freedoms we have and they don’t — and hoping they will prevail.