We have holidays for all manner of things. Staplers, kittens, dead presidents—whatever. I don’t keep track.
I propose we create a new one for free speech, where every year on January 7th, the country’s media organizations, newspapers, bloggers—and anyone else who wants to participate—comes together to post content that would-be-banners object to.
When Charlie Hebdo was hit there was a tentative movement to have everyone publish something offensive as a display of support for free speech. But everyone chickened out. Maybe it was political correctness, or maybe they were physically afraid.
Doesn’t matter. It was the wrong decision to eschew that responsibility, and we can fix it by making it an annual re-affirmation.
Our democracy desperately needs a constant reminder that people should be allowed to say, draw, or otherwise to communicate whatever they want to—even if it’s offensive to religious groups, oligarchs, or governments.
So that’s the idea.
Every year, on the date that Charlie Hebdo was attacked, the media organizations and bloggers in these United States will add their voices to a chorus with a single message:
There are plenty of holidays that have had their time (Columbus day I’m looking at you). This one is needed now more than ever, and it will never stop being needed.
Support the Free Speech National Holiday.
This is not about support for being *offensive*. It’s about supporting *the right* to be offensive. This distinction cannot be overstated.
It won’t be required, but it’s likely that many sites will share the same piece of content on Free Press Day, and I recommend a collage for that. It’d be a grid of controversial images/ideas that criticize Christianity, Judaism, Muslims, Israel, the United States, Capitalism, Russia, China, etc.
January 7th is the day Charlie Hebdo was attacked.
Columbus Day, Labor day, or President’s day are good candidates for replacement, with Columbus being the best option.