Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 9/2/2013 [Archive]

Martha's Big Adventure - The Free Speech of Bloggers

Martha's Big Adventure — The Free Speech of Bloggers

By Martha Randolph Carr

Ever since the first blog was posted in 1998, chronicling the aftermath of a hurricane, a lot of us have wondered if the surge of people writing about their children, their hobbies and the ups and downs of life was a good idea or a sign of the end of our communities.

The reporting of the common man's life was suddenly in the hands of all of these ordinary guys and it seemed like the definition of anarchy. A lot of the bloggers didn't understand the term, original source, which means an institution that sets a high bar for the truth before they state something as fact. There are scientific studies or polls with enough participants and not just Wikipedia or other bloggers with a lot going on at their site. A fancy looking site is not enough to prove credibility.

Another common problem was that there weren't enough sources in the first place.

Just because someone has a strong opinion doesn't mean there isn't another side to the story that will greatly affect the way we take in the information. It's a learned skill to know when there are still more questions to ask and then go out and seek a reliable source who can fill out the picture.

However, democracy, which is not a form of government but an ideal that promises equality regardless of labels, may survive and even have a renaissance because of bloggers and not journalists.

Bloggers are actually a continuation of a tradition that helped found America and win us our freedom in the first place. Early in the struggle for independence from England, Thomas Paine anonymously published Common Sense, which inspired the middle class to join the revolution. Until Paine came forward as the author, he was a relative unknown and can be seen as a model for modern-day political bloggers.

The Arab Spring of 2010, which is going through a bloody down-turn in the Middle East right now, started with social media and bloggers who were able to reach large numbers of their fellow citizens. There is something powerful about finding out that you're not alone and it's when the middle class can briefly become the ruling class when there is a single, unified push for freedom. Large numbers of people rallied behind a banner are an extremely powerful force.

Vietnam is feeling the threat of the common man being able to forge their own opinions. There is a new law that requires internet companies like Google and Microsoft to keep their local servers within Vietnam's borders and citizens are banned from mentioning anything political.

It's an effective ban on free speech or at least an attempt at it.

But for some reason ever since the middle class figured out that we could rule ourselves, along with all of the messy complications, we've been willing to defend the idea of one person, one vote and the right to a free assembly even if it is only at first on the internet. Within the idea of self-rule are all the endless choices that we can make with our lives and the optimism that some of our dreams are going to become a reality.

Money is often seen as the dividing line between the haves and the have-nots but money can trap a person into staying silent more effectively than shutting down the internet across an entire country. The courage to say what you believe to be true, even if it may cost you something often leads to a change in government and right now there are bloggers who are reporting what they see happening to their neighbors in Syria, or to people in Russia who are being persecuted for being gay or even a local protest in a small town in America. It all matters.

Word Press, which is one of the more popular host sites for bloggers currently has almost 70 million blogs, and rising. Out of all of these conversations, new voices are emerging with thought-provoking, useful things to say that will inspire others to create and build and believe in something even better. More adventures to follow. Tweet me @MarthaRandolph about your favorite blog and visit my blog at www.marthacarr.com. Email Martha at Martha@caglecartoons.com.

© 2013 Martha Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc. newspaper syndicate. This column has been edited by the author. Representatives of fact and opinions are solely those of the author. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Sales@cagle.com.

Download Martha Randolph Carr's color photo - Download Martha Randolph Carr's black and white mug shot photo
Why not run a cartoon with the column? We recommend the cartoons below as a good compliment to Martha Randolph Carr's topic.
Click on the thumbnail images to preview and download the cartoons.

Related Cartoons

Watching the Watchers
By: Pat Bagley

June 11, 2013

Watching the Watchers
By: Pat Bagley

June 11, 2013

 Con  Question Authority
By: Rick McKee

June 7, 2013

Government Is Watching
By: Nate Beeler

June 10, 2013

Government Is Watching COLOR
By: Nate Beeler

June 10, 2013

Social Media Dark Side
By: Mike Keefe
The Denver Post
May 30, 2013

Social Media Dark Side COLOR
By: Mike Keefe
The Denver Post
May 30, 2013

Freedom of the Pressed COLOR
By: Christopher Weyant

May 22, 2013

 Con  Freedom of the Pressed
By: Christopher Weyant

May 22, 2013

 Con  Obama's No-Free Press COLOR
By: Gary McCoy

June 9, 2013

 Con  Obama's No-Free Press
By: Gary McCoy

June 9, 2013
    

We do not accept and will not review unsolicited submissions from cartoonists.
Sales & Information: (805) 969-2829 sales@cagle.com
Billing Information: (805) 969-2829billing@cagle.com
Technical Support: support@cagle.com

FREE cartoons for your website if you're already a paying print subscriber!
Artwork and columns are copyrighted by each creator. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. [Privacy Policy]