By Melissa Martin, Ph.D. 

Citizens in the United States of America must take a peaceful, but fixed stand against past, present, or future censorship.  

Let each American decide what she/he wants to read by using critical thinking skills. The citizens of America are not illiterate, stupid, or unable to make choices on what they decide to believe or not believe after they read and research any topic – hot button topics included. The same goes for videos and films on social media platforms via Internet.  

Big techno businesses, please do not make that choice for us with censorship. 

Citizens in this great country have a right to read about what any and all politicians (conservative or liberal) voice about any issue. Do those in power actually believe we cannot make our own informed decisions? Do they think we need to be protected and shielded from opposing viewpoints? And just why would they think at this time in history – that Americans would welcome being censored?  

“Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional,” according to the ACLU. 

Newspapers (print or digital), social media sites, books, and all public communication vehicles must be allowed to publish both popular and unpopular reports and stories. Owners, publishers, boards, and top dogs must not stifle, repress, or ban any type of information, knowledge, or news. And government officials, politicians, and representatives certainly must not censor what the citizens can and cannot read concerning the coronavirus pandemic.  

“Make no mistake; censorship of thought, ideas, and speech are the hallmarks of a totalitarian state and will inevitably lead to tyranny and oppression. Given the growing power of mainstream media and especially big tech, our ability to access accurate information, our freedoms and ultimately our democratic institutions, are all in peril,” proclaims Caren Besner, Sun Sentinel Correspondent in a recent editorial. 

Why do scientists with expertise on a virus think they can censor what American citizens can and cannot know? Expertise on any subject matter does not quality for allowing censorship in a democratic society – anytime, anywhere, anyhow.  

Big government, please do not make that choice for us with censorship. 

Freedom is not about being or voting Republican, Democrat, or Independent. Freedom is access to opposing viewpoints. Freedom is not about rich or poor. Freedom is access to opposing viewpoints. Freedom is not catering to the most powerful or influential. Freedom is access to opposing viewpoints. Freedom is the right to choose.  

“Who rules in America? Is it a handful of unaccountable elites, who concoct and enforce standards arbitrarily? Or is it the American people?” asks Brooke Rollins, President and Chief Officer, America First Policy Institute. 

Let each individual in America read about conspiracy theories, opposite opinions about COVID-19 or whatever topics they choose. Again, Americans are not unwise, illogical thinkers, or uneducated. Let the people decide! 

Americans, write Letters to Editors of newspapers in your city, county, state and beyond. Contact government representatives, both local and state. Initiate respectful conversations with family, friends, and neighbors about censorship and freedom of speech. Participate in peaceful demonstrations. Support organizations that proclaim freedom of the press and freedom of speech for America. 

Let the people decide! Let the people choose! Let the people!  

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author and opinion-editorial columnist.