Peer Review by ~madeline~ (United States)

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Wield It Well

By: doodleninja



    When someone tells you to "please shut up", I hope you take offense to that. When your voice is silenced, when your paper is censored, when your words are shoved into "restricted areas", locked away in vaults, I hope your blood boils. If these things have ever happened to you, know that your voice has been snatched out of your throat. Your human right has been violated. 
    This speech is meant to encourage the whole human race to use their own words. This speech is for those who've lost their voice, perhaps lost their will to speak, in fear of what others might think, or in fear of what others might do to them. I have always been the quiet person, the one to keep my opinions to myself, for all those exact reasons. And it is tragic that today we must face the fact that yes: some of us, some of our words, are being blotted out. 

    Speech. Communication. It's the binary code in this supercomputer of the world. Yet unfortunately, it's not always easy to be heard. Far too often, people instinctively shoot down opinions contradicting their own, they cover their ears and never try to understand the other point of view. 
    And yet, here's the thing. 
    Whenever you read an article, or see a post on social media that opposes your beliefs...you are witnessing the miracle of human diversity. I know, it's hard to not just outrage about how wrong they are, but take a minute. 
    Pause. 
    You and this person disagree. And yet, you can still coexist peacefully. Isn't that wonderful, almost inconceivable?
    You can accept each other's words. Both of you are free to write whatever you want, both of you are free to express your feelings, and both of you are free to speak. 
    And it's when even news feeds start blocking certain stories and information, that we teeter-totter on the edge of a dangerous precipice, one that drops off into a chasm of foolish ignorance.  
    This is the power of words, the power that sends government and companies into a frenzy, the power that threatens dictators, the power that can change minds. Any fool can fight; it takes a genius to win a war with words. Using force is easy, persuasion is harder. 
    True freedom, however, does come with responsibility. And so it is with true freedom of speech. Without some sense of morals, society cannot exist. As with anything in this imperfect world, words can be abused or misused to promote evil, injustice, and even chaos. A number of causes are behind this, but one thing we can do is to cultivate good judgment. If we can raise future generations to be sensible thinkers, to be able to identify rhetorical fallacies, errors in logic, tools of persuasion...we may not have to worry about "censoring" and "silencing", because they will be able to figure out for themselves what is valid and what is not. They will be able to differentiate the babbling idiot from the one who has something substantial to say.
    We can teach future generations how to understand, how to discern; instead of teaching them what to think, we can teach them how to think. 
    Sadly, even this does not happen today.
    Indoctrination lurks beneath us, subtly crushing people's voices. It takes a healthy balance of different sides of the story for people to come to conclusions, yet often we only get one point of view, despite the efforts of teachers and reporters. Why do we only ever hear western civilization's perspective on history? Why can't we present both intelligent design and Darwinian evolution in the classrooms and have students decide for themselves? We can lead by example, showing others that yes, we can have different opinions, and it's okay to speak outside of the norm. 
    Let them talk, and let them decide for themselves whether they will agree or disagree, whether they will follow, or oppose. 
    Have conversations. Don't be afraid to interact with people who disagree with you. Humanity is descending into tribalism, where we're huddling together with like-minded people, declaring war on those who are not perfect replicates of us. And that should be terrifying. If we remain on this course, we fall stagnant, or even worse, degrade as a civilization. It's only when someone says "I think something else" that progress can be made.
    Humans can make judgments, and once we can't think for ourselves, then what are we? Lemmings following each other off the edge of the cliff? Mindless zombies? Perhaps even worse. The Chinese government is infamous for its mass censoring of information, and we sympathize with those who have been thrown in jail for daring to speak out. 
    Let's not come anywhere close to what happens there, let's not attack or mob someone just for using their words. No matter your worldview, you deserve to be heard. The world is your stage and you have your podium. Start a blog, start a podcast, put your phone down, and have a conversation with friends; you were given a voice and it is your responsibility to use it to make this world a better place. 
    Don't be discouraged if you ever face hardship. Even great scientists such as Copernicus and Galileo were suppressed, sometimes put under house arrest, before their discoveries were accepted. 

    As someone who wants to become a speech therapist, I want to help other people find their own unique voice. As that  quiet person, easily drowned out by others, I know what it's like to feel as though what I say doesn't matter. That nobody's listening. 
    But words do matter.
    And the worst thing you can do is to have a voice and not use it. 
    So talk. Write. Sing. Scream. Communicate. And listen to others. 
    Use your words not your fists. Use your rhetoric not stones and sticks. 
    From the moment you thought your first thought, communicated your first opinion or idea...you held power. 
    The power of words.
    Wield it well. 

 

Word Count: 999

It's a speech...about speech :D

Message to Readers

I recently watched The Social Dilemma, and that gave me a huge inspiration boost for this speech...so if you're a returning reader, hope you like the revisions!
And if you're new, be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Thank you @mystifiedtulip for the wonderful review!!


Peer Review

All of it :) But seriously, I loved this speech about speech. It's so important to use words but at the same time be respectful and receptive to the way other people think.


I'm a pretty quite person in general. I think that's mostly because I'm afraid people are going to judge me for what I say. This speech really encouraged me to speak out. To show the world how I am going to change it. It really made me think about how I as a teenager have the ability to speak out and I don't use it. Whereas people from other societies don't have the ability and want desperately to be able to speak.


I know you are at your word limit, so feel free not to take my suggestions, but I feel like if you included more personal experience, it would really be compelling. Maybe talk about a time you have spoken out and you felt rejected or a time that you didn't speak out and you wish you did.


WOW!!! just wow!!! I can't wait to see a final draft and see the video of you doing this speech!! It's such an important topic that people don't hear about enough.


Reviewer Comments

Great job!!! As always, feel free to take as many or ignore as many of my suggestions as you would like. Whatever you do, I am sure you can only make it better!!!