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As a New Parent, I Want to Give My Son Everything — Except a 'Free-Speech Zone'

Parissa Sedghi · Dec. 16, 2019

A few weeks ago, my husband Josh and I welcomed our first baby into the world, and it has been a whirlwind. In the first weeks home, all I could think about was making him as happy as possible. And it got me thinking:

I know I will always be protective of my son — it’s kind of my job. But when he gets older, I want to give him the gift of being at ease while feeling intellectually uncomfortable – of knowing how to handle these difficult situation without suffering a complete meltdown, like we see with too many students on college campuses these days.

Interacting, working, and perhaps disagreeing with people who see the world differently than you takes courage. Agreeing to disagree while maintaining relationships takes confidence. Unfortunately, our higher education system has taught the next generation of America’s leaders the exact opposite, and, as a result, our free speech is under attack.

What began as a leftist movement to censor “hate speech” has morphed into a demand to censor any kind of speech with which you disagree. This dangerous mob rule is highlighted by the documentary "No Safe Spaces,“ which examines the far-left culture of political correctness that has invaded college campuses and society at large.

We need this documentary now more than ever. The United States was founded on the belief in free speech. This isn’t a partisan value but rather a fundamentally American value. We have fought wars to earn and protect the right to express ourselves freely without fear of reprisal.

As a new parent, I want to give my son everything but a "free-speech zone.” I desire for him to grow up in a society where the First Amendment is protected and celebrated — imbuing him with the confidence to hold and share his beliefs. I want him to engage in healthy civil discourse and gain a well-rounded perspective of the world.

When his ideas are challenged, I don’t want him to view the challenger as the enemy. He needs to understand that disagreement is not assault and does not make him a victim of any kind. This is what my husband and I will teach our children — and judging by how well the documentary is performing, we are not alone in this.

According to Fox News, the “No Safe Spaces” documentary opened with “the second-highest ever box office gross for a documentary playing on just one screen.” It is being shown in theaters nationwide, and radical progressive activists are already trying to shut it down — ironically, by using the same tactics of intimidation demonstrated by far-left campus activists in the movie.

At a California showing, two masked men barged into the theater to intimidate viewers into leaving. One moviegoer described the men as “two thugs sporting hoodies, masks, sunglasses and carrying huge duffel bags [who] ran, not walked, up the aisle and sat at the back of the theater right behind us. They looked like bank robbers, home invasion criminals … they were trying to act scary.”

Unfortunately, it worked. Some moviegoers left with their children because of the risk posed by these men. They suspected the masked men were bluffing, but were not willing to bet their children’s lives on it. Who can blame them?

I do not know all the future holds for my son. Regardless of his chosen career or the requirement of a bachelor or post-graduate degree from a college or university, I know at some point in his life he will be intellectually challenged by someone. When it happens, I can only hope that I have raised him to embrace the polite (or impolite) discourse.

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