I’ll open today’s blog with this quote that I read the other day in David Baldacci’s book The Gambling Man… “Free speech is not really free if it costs you all that you have.”

Thoughts? I have a few… Also, these are my opinions as well. So, for instance… my daughter just graduated college and is no longer in the sorority she was in. This week, she found out that the “national people” of the sorority have decided to take “God” out of the oath they say every week in chapter. They can no longer pray at that time as well. Someone, somewhere, decided they didn’t like it. Enough “fuss” was made, and the next thing you know… I use this as an example to go along with the quote above. It seems that when issues arise, there will be differences of opinion, which is ok. However, divisiveness is created when those differences create intolerance and push an agenda.

You know I have some strong opinions for those who know me, and I’m ok with that. There are even a few that I am passionate about. But the difference for me is that while I might disagree with someone on something, I’m not going to get divisive about it. Others are entitled to their opinion, and I’m fine with that. However, when someone or a group pushes their ideology, draws a line in the sand, and states that I have to adhere, agree, or compromise my opinion… That’s where the idea of agreeing to disagree breaks down.

The breakdown comes at the hands of those who want tolerance for their opinions but become intolerant of others’ views. And trust me, it goes both ways. Divisiveness is seen in all demographical aspects of society. Side story… I remember a few years ago we went to Boston. While there, we went to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. One of the displays was replaying the presidential debate between Kennedy and Nixon. I was amazed at how cordial, civil the discussion was. There were even moments where they joked with each other. What has happened where two opposing views are just that?

“Free speech is not really free if it costs you all that you have.” Ever since reading that, I’ve been chewing on it. We are now seeing the effects of this, I believe, more and more. Once intolerance takes its stand, free speech, as we know it, ceases to exist. As it is, once someone has their mind made up, the truth doesn’t matter anymore. The divide creates a chasm that no bridge can ever seem to span.


I’m not sure where society is going with the intolerance of tolerance. But I do know this, free speech just might cost us everything we have at some point. We must decide what is worth fighting for. I know what that is for our family and me.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

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