LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Free-speech rights for all, not just select few

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As the tolerance for more liberal ideals has increased among the American public, conservative ideals have been suppressed. The author of a biography of 18th-century French philosopher Voltaire coined the phrase “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

This statement has carried great weight with those who uphold the ideals and principles on which this great nation was founded.

Recently the popular A&E show “Duck Dynasty” was surrounded by controversy over the “anti-gay” statement made by Phil Robertson, patriarch of the family featured on the show.

The network placed Mr. Robertson on indefinite suspension, but allowed him to return for the next season after two weeks of public outcry.

This incident poses a question about the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and free expression. Although there has not been a legal dispute over the matter, the societal implications may have already decided the fate of A&E among many former fans.

Following Mr. Robertson’s suspension, “Duck Dynasty” lost a substantial percentage of its viewership.

If you want to be equal, we must all be equal — and that includes equal access to free speech and freedom of expression, as enumerated by the Bill of Rights.

In a country of approximately 318 million people, someone is going to disagree with you, but you must not trample on their right to do it.

NICHOLAS McDONAGH

Derby, N.Y.

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