This week I had the honor of attending the Free of Speech awards ceremony at the Newseum. The event recognized individuals those who “exhibit passion for and dedication to free expression.” The honorees, John Lewis, Tim Cook, Martha Raddatz, Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz, Christie Hefner and her father, Hugh Hefner, have taken significant risks in sharing information with the public, have been censored or punished for their work. In thought and act, they have pushed boundaries and forced us to recognize the value given to us in the words crafted by the James Madison, Father of the Constitution and Architect of the Bill of Rights.
Each week, the U.S. Constitution makes headlines, whether because of an issue working its way to the Supreme Court, a violation of rights documented in the media, or an emerging political fault line that breaks on an interpretation of Constitutional powers. Meanwhile, the debate in our country over who owns the narrative of our history rages on.
Whether you’re talking about race and policing, privacy and national security, immigration, gun rights, or executive war powers, all of these complex issues need to be understood and debated by the American people and their representatives. Too often however, the country defaults to a binary partisan stance.
So to Tim Cook who believes that, “free speech isn’t only about speaking, it’s about listening, whether or not we agree. It demands we stay informed,” thank you. To Martha Raddatz who views her role as a journalist as, “a voice for the American public,” thank you. To all the honorees – you are an inspiration.