This is an essay on freedom of expression and the first amendment and what that means to me personally, and as an American citizen.
First, let me begin by saying that the writer of this essay does not believe himself to be especially well versed on the subject of free expression. But let it also be said that I am and have always been a lover of freedom and of freedom of expression. I believe it to be the most important of human rights, and I also believe that this most basic of human rights is what separates us from the tyrannical givernments of the past, or for that matter, of the present. It is perchance no mere accident that the first amendment states: 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.' For only a fearful people whose will has declined into a whirlpool of paranoia and self deception, or who have been so slyly minipulated by a propaganda machine sick with its own selfish ends, would give up this divine right of mankind. Indeed, if we are to call ourselves a free and just nation, we must take every measure to bequeath this vital legacy of free speech to our progeny.
Think of all that has past before our beleaguered eyes in the blood stained march of history: Slavery, facism, genocide, poverty, starvation, war, and now terrorism. Are these travesties not the worst sins cast upon the souls of men? Do not these injustices suggest that now more than ever individuals must assert their human rights and with one voice speak to the powers on high that seek to repress and obliterate our divine right of free speech? Or are we now too cowardly to stand up and be counted. It takes courage to be free, to resist tyranny and the forces of evil, to turn our heads to the stars and bravely pursue our dreams and lofty ambitions.
In my youth, I dreamt about becoming a published author. Perhaps the way a slave once dreamt about becoming a free and dignified and fully vested citizen of these United States of America. I so loved literature, and was captivated by beautifully written works of art. Thus did I dare to try to create works of art that would inspire and uplift my life as well as the lives of others. But the worldly powers that control our lives aligned themselves against me and I was neutralized and told that my works were merely dross and would never see the light of day. But I remained undaunted in the face of rejection slips which read: "Sorry, but your work is commercially not viable." And what is viable? I thought to myself. Is it just the million dollar blockbuster books or movies that are viable? Only the cheap sensationalism of the cheap tabloids and drugstore novelists? I pondered these questions, and found that the world around me was quickly eroding into what I considered to be questionable money making dung heaps that did little or nothing to uplift the souls of men and women. And even less their children.
I would have none of it, and to hell with those petty intellectuals who are just after the quick buck. It is sometimes better to write in obscurity than to be known for having written the garbage of the day.
By now I'm sure that many of you who write have come to know that the dice are loaded and the cards are stacked against you, and that you might never make a decent living at your craft. But I commend your efforts all the same. For you, my friends, you who have chosen to self-publish your works of art, are the true pioneers of the POD revolution, and the staunch defenders of the first amendment. And that is a legacy worth bequeathing your children and your children's children. I assure you in good faith you will have your reward. If not today, than tomorrow.
This being said, I have but little more to say about it, except: 'Let those who have ears listen.'
In Good Faith,
Ronald S. Dondiego
Written Semptember 31st, 2002