Will free speech on social media be the death of our professional careers?

Desmond Tutu said “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

And, “If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

Don’t even talk about wicked senses of humour! (Things that are not too kosher to say in the work-place)

Should we feel fearful about being policed online? Is Facebook intrusion an unwarranted invasion of our privacy? I thought this was a democracy, and it was okay to have a personality!

But I think this is useful advice, coming from “Thinking out loud”, who commented on the firing of Mike Crowder, a former cleaning-crew supervisor at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Crowder was terminated after sharing on Facebook that  former disgraced senator, Mike Duffy, had been “pompous and arrogant.”


According to “Thinking out loud”:

“When are people going to learn (Facebook) FB is a dangerous place to vent anything about what you see and hear?  Millions of people instantly hear and see what you have to say or show, whether true or not.  Gone are the days when your own stupidity stayed between you and your immediate buddies who saw you and had a laugh with you only to be forgotten as time goes by.  Now it is stored forever deep inside the nebulous archives of FB, Google and numerous other data collectors only to be dished up years later, out of context and as a negative “excuse” to inform people you are not fit for your job or unfit for public office.  Wake up sheeple! Big brother is watching and storing your every move. Get used to the idea.”

Hmmm.  Since I have a blog, I’ve got to be careful.  I’ve got to watch what I say, right?  I will.  I believe that with freedom of speech comes responsibility.  I’m an enormously responsible person!  However, I do believe it would be better to admit to ‘Big Brother’ what my world-vision is.  It will save it the trouble of figuring it out.

Dear Big brother,

I am not conservative in my beliefs.  However, last time I checked, it was OKAY to hold peaceful and differing political beliefs.  That is what we’re trying to cultivate in some parts of the world, right?  Tolerance and peace.

Just for the record, I don’t believe in war and I abhor violence.  I support gay marriage, abortion and free health care.  Indeed, these are three of the reasons that compelled me to move to Canada in 2003.  I found this country to be spectacularly progressive.

I love Russel Brand, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and other irreverent comedians.  I find them chock-full of common-sense!

Does that make me a bad person?  NO.  Does that make me a compassionate person? YES! Does that mean I have a sense of humour?  YES!   Does that make me unprofessional or unfit to hold office?  NO.  Does it mean I want the freedom to be myself?  YES!

As an inhabitant of this planet, I am responsible for what goes on in it.  I share that responsibility with others.  So, I’d rather be thoughtful and articulate than ignorant and silent.  My sincere hope is that others will join me in doing so, to create a better world.

I see that others already do.  I am kindly asking you to allow people to live their truths and voice their opinions, without fear.  We’d ideally like to live in conflict-free, environmentally sustainable democracies.  Not hypocrisies.

Thank you, Lorraine.

Photo Credit:  EMOtion, Roberto Rizzato, Flickr.

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