ROTHENBURGER – Why can’t we walk the talk on freedom of speech?

WE TALK A GOOD GAME when it comes to freedom of speech. We salute the concept but what we really mean is, “I defend your right to speak your mind, as long as you agree with me.”

We look for opinions that match our own. We choose our news and opinion outlets accordingly. If their content isn’t consistent with our own “open mind,” we reject them, even disparage them.

Fair Vote Kamloops post on Facebook.

It’s always important to preface any discussion of free speech with the caveat that there are limits to what we are allowed to say. Free speech doesn’t include hate speech, like the nasty anti-indigenous rants sprayed on a sign a few days ago.

We don’t have a right to provoke violence, either. I think we can find agreement on that. We have laws on that sort of thing. But let me give you a couple of examples that demonstrate how we don’t walk the talk.

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Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6747 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Why can’t we walk the talk on freedom of speech?

  1. Ian MacKenzie // July 8, 2018 at 6:09 AM // Reply

    I see nothing wrong with people seeing issues from different points of view. The sharing of one point of view with that of others is what public discourse should be. What IS unfortunate, after we have voiced our position on an issue, is that we often have trouble saying, “I/We agree to disagree”. I meet weekly with a couple of other elderly curmudgeons and the fundamental rule regarding our conversations is exactly that, because we still want to remain friends above all. But that doesn’t mean we have to remain mute. It means that by the end of our meetings we’ve swept clean the main room in agreement but with no dustpan we’ve had to sweep the grumbling bits into the corners for another day.

  2. The other day I wrote a good comment to counter something you wrote and did refer to your writing as second rate opinion…the comment was not published. I remind you, referring to your opinions as second rate was not meant to belittle nor to offend…it was meant as innocuous “bug”.
    Also I need to remind you not all of us can deliver perfect, sanitized commentary based on the latest upgrade of political correctness…I was once told a little more “latitude” and less sensitivity is a good quality to have.

    • Mel Rothenburger // July 7, 2018 at 11:03 AM // Reply

      I can find no such comment from you about my writing being second rate. You did suggest a few days ago that my writing is not candid enough, which I published.

      • Strange…it’s still there, visible on my device awaiting clearance from the moderator…but we know the electronic medium is not totally reliable in deliverance.

      • Mel Rothenburger // July 7, 2018 at 10:27 PM //

        Send it again if you like.

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