Obama on free speech

Here is what Obama said to the UN today:

As president of our country, and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so.

Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views – even views that we profoundly disagree with. We do so not because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened.

I love this.

It’s a great lesson for our kids, especially girls who really need to ‘get’ this: People will say mean things about you. The more powerful you get, the more mean things will be said. Don’t let that stop you from speaking.

On some level, there are times that everybody would like to bully people who disagree with them, especially rudely disagree, into shutting up. That’s human. But better than censoring someone or punching them in the face, keep speaking your truth respectfully instead. It feels better. Real power isn’t about making others shut up. It’s about not being silent even though people may insist that your experiences aren’t valid or never happened.

There will always be people who won’t like you. They might call you names, but remember, sticks and stones. I really believe that fundamental belief (fundamental, ha) is what makes America great. Thank you, Obama, for reminding us, though I wish you hadn’t taken quite so long.