In the aftermath of the George Zimmerman acquittal in Sanford, Fla., the local response has been appropriate.
Free people should always be free to disagree.
Public rallies, public outcry, email campaigns, strong political speeches and marches should never be considered inappropriate.
In fact, these things are the very threads of democracy.
Regardless of political ideology or an individual or group’s point of view on any particular issue, the right to protest should be protected at all costs.
Protests, marches and vigils speak volumes about what it means to live in a free country.
Those who would deny others the right to protest, or be skeptical of the right of other people to believe what they believe and feel what they feel, are not true patriots.
An American patriot will always celebrate and embrace our most basic freedoms.
No freedom is more basic than the right to peaceably assemble or to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The right to protest is neither Republican nor Democrat.
It is not liberal or conservative.
The First Amendment does not lean to the right or the left.
On the local level, the absence of violence or destructive behavior in the midst of outrage is heartening.
There is nothing wrong with anger.
There is nothing wrong with disappointment.
There is nothing wrong with disagreement.
Diversity is the pillar of democracy.
What if workers could not picket in labor disputes?
What if political parties could not hold public rallies?
What if churches could not conduct revivals?
While the left may not agree with the right and liberals may not like the positions of conservatives, we should all defend the rights of others to stand up for what they believe in.
It takes great strength of character, if not restraint of emotion, to channel the energy of anger into positive, productive, proactive dialogue.
Violence incubates violence.
Destruction of property breeds more destruction.
Free speech, however, cultivates a culture of freedom and becomes a celebration of democracy.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Without these freedoms, none of us are really free.
— Editor Jim Zachary