LOOK PAST HIS WORDS

Human speech to express oneself does not matter anymore. Social media verbiage has nothing to do with what a person does or is going to do. We must look past his/her words to determine what a person is really going to do. Let’s take a closer look at what this all can mean in everyday life.

Schneck v. United States in 1917 clarified what free speech meant. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said (I paraphrase), free speech does not mean shouting, “Fire in a crowded theater.” That suggests that speech of any kind has some meaning. In this case, Mr. Schenck was handing out leaflets to draftees in World War 1 to avoid the draft. His actions occurred during World War I and was deemed to be dangerous to the war effort.

So then, free speech has some meaning for the courts. Sometimes, the courts do look past the words themselves and delve into the thoughts behind the words. This is true in many cases. If you are at a bar and get mad enough about someone and say, “I am going to kill you,” does that mean that you are planning to do so? The words are one thing, but the underlying feeling is another.

So the expression, “Do as I say, not as I do,” has no meaning any more. That was a saying that I heard all throughout my youth. It had a great deal of meaning to me. It avoided looking at a hypocrite straight in the eye and telling him/her off. How many times did an adult tell me in my teen years not to smoke because it would stunt my growth? All the time that the adult was smoking.

Now, I am very confused. When the talking heads say, look beyond the words to what the actions are, I lower my eyes and try to see that. I do not succeed. I have just heard a new thing that I am ruminating over. Someone just said that what a particular person is saying is just, “hyperbole.” What in G-d’s name does that mean? Will we now drag out “poetic license?” Is there no end to this foolishness?

Can you imagine a world where speech has no meaning? If someone says “white” and then does “black” is that the way humans operate. Can we be sure that words mean nothing, but we wait for actions? What if those actions never come? Is this all too confusing? It is to me, but maybe you understand it. Good for you.

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