Ex-Freedom of Speech

In fact, most liberals don’t support free speech today,
And often see a need for censorship instead.
They claim “misinformation” causes broad decay,
So free speech ends if they dislike what’s being said.




Good listeners seem hard to find these days.
More people, when you’re talking, in effect,
Aren’t truly listening to what you say,
But looking for a place to interject.




Which criticisms
Do the most
To bother you?

Those false and spiteful
Or the ones
Which might be true?



Apple Tree

Such lovely people—sweet and kind they are,
And thus our friendship dates back rather far.
But I have noticed they have every “ism,”
And always view through quite a far left prism.

At college age their daughter came out gay;
My friends supported her in every way.
Then recently she said that she was trans,
Took “they, them” pronouns, a name more like a man’s.

The parents fast adjusted to the name,
But longtime plural words weren’t quite the same,
For sometimes, always accidentally,
From habit they would utter “her” or “she.”

Their kid took that as massive disrespect,
Necessitating total disconnect,
And so between them all communication,
Immediately was put in cessation.

This made, of course, the parents very sad.
They wondered what they’d done that was so bad.

I mull if left wing notions introduced,
Have brought some kind of chicken home to roost.



Russel Winick recently started writing poetry at nearly age 65, after ending a long legal career. He resides in Naperville, Illinois.

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36 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    Richard Weaver wrote a seminal book back in 1948, titled “Ideas Have Consequences.” It was truly prescient for what is happening today.

    The ideological ground for the collapse of liberal support for free speech was set in the 1980s, when the notion that certain expressions of opinion were “acts” (rather than mere verbal utterances) began to be pushed by leftist theorists. From this utterly false idea came the notion of “hate speech” and “disinformation.” Since the First Amendment protects only speech and not actions, the ground was prepared for left-wing fascism.

    Today, “hate speech” simply means any speech that anyone in a governmentally certified minority group finds offensive; and “disinformation” means whatever is said by your non-leftist opponent in an argument. Both are now recognized as “crimes,” and liberals (who generally aren’t too bright) very easily slid into being defenders of controlled and policed speech and thought, without a qualm.

    Ah, Voltaire!

    • Patricia

      Joseph, a most auspicious comment. People are tone deaf to any talk about our cilvil rights! I have never seen the world so oblivious and uncaring about our freedom!
      Seems, being aware is quickly snuffed out, as elected and unethical,elected WOKE maggots crawl everywhere. Their message carried as the best escargot of pure lies via the evil media. Thank you, Joseph.


  2. Sally Cook

    Dear Russel –

    I see that you and I are on the same side.

    How can any art form exist in such a de-oxygenized atmosphere? Is what I just wrote an actual dictionary-certified word? Do I care? Not likely.

    Art? Most art is unwieldy, incomplete, even bad. We might have done without much of it.. It is those brief snippets of blazing clarity for which we wait. Those are what show what it means to be human. Truly human. The moments that make God smile.
    I warn you, don’t make God frown ! Thanks for what you have written here.

  3. Sally Cook

    PS –
    My admonition was to the wokers, Russel, certainly not you.

    • Russel Winick

      Yes Sally, we are on the same side of the fence. And ironically, it is much greener on our side! Thanks!

  4. Tonia Kalouria

    Love all of these, and find the Liseners, especially, such a succinct truth.

  5. Diana Sheldrick

    It seems to me
    that freedom of speech is seen to be
    a whole lot of talk with no responsibility

      • C.B. Anderson

        But will you ever apologize for your own spinelessness?

    • Russel Winick

      I always liked this famous opinion from liberal Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in the case of Whitney v. California (1927):

      “If there be time to expose through discussion, the falsehoods and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

  6. Cynthia Erlandson

    Russel, it seems to me that you have done a tricky thing here, and done it well: these poems are both entertaining, and insightful expressions of very serious topics. I especially like “Listeners”.

    • Russel Winick

      Thanks Cynthia. Yes, the poor listening situation is frustrating. But I’m certainly guilty of it too at times.

  7. Cheryl Corey

    Russel, I’m accustomed to seeing your terse and acerbic witticisms, so I was pleasantly surprised to see your longer ‘”Apple Tree”. But if I may ask, what prompted the title? Thanks.

    • Russel Winick

      Thanks Cheryl. That title came from wondering if this was somehow another case of an apple not falling far from the tree.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        I thought it was a reference to the sin of Adam—perhaps the parents had eaten the forbidden fruit of liberalism and were forced to deal with the consequences, just as the whole world is still living with the consequences of Adam’s sin and will until the end.

  8. Joshua C. Frank

    “Apple Tree” is my favorite of these! It shows just how liberalism comes back to bite its adherents. By being so liberal, they let even worse influences corrupt their daughter beyond what they could deal with, and she found it intolerable that they couldn’t go that far, so she disowned them. That’s one of the problems with liberalism: it grows the more it’s accepted. “Progressive” has a double meaning here.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      It seems to me that the daughter described in “Apple Tree” was simply looking for a convenient excuse to disown and break with her parents. They happily accepted her coming out as gay, they freely accepted her decision to become a trannie, and they had no trouble with her name change or her pronoun switches.

      All that occurred to precipitate the daughter’s alienation was a minor slip in pronoun usage — comparable to calling a newly married girl by her maiden name, or mispronouncing someone’s surname because of a memory lapse, or mistakenly referring to a Monsignor as “Father.”

      Something as trivial and forgivable as this made the daughter “totally disconnect” from her parents? Really? Is that believable?

      What one actually sees here is a manifestation of deep hatred and revulsion on the part of the daughter. She had a festering resentment of her parents, and it’s very likely that her decision to be a lesbian, and her subsequent decision to become a trannie, were preliminary stabs at hurting them. When neither thing worked, she seized upon an error in pronoun usage to lash out at them and cut them out of her life.

      Hatred always looks for an excuse to pick a fight.

      • Russel Winick

        Interesting conjecture. And it’s possible – I don’t know. I just listened, and the poem covers the full extent of what I was told. Thanks for this analysis.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        If she wanted to hurt her liberal parents, she would have become a conservative Christian, married a like-minded man, and become a homemaker and mother of many children. Nothing offends those people like even one of those, let alone all! (I’ve got a poem on that coming up in a month.)

        Young people these days have extreme contempt for their parents. There are many reasons (such as a general cultural Marxism where every hierarchy has to be inverted or at least overthrown, technology making a new world every generation, and the casting off of religion), but I think one reason not talked about much is that they’re taught evolution. To me, my parents are one step closer to when the Apostles and other saints brought Jesus to our European ancestors and to when God made Adam. To the young woman in the poem, her parents are one step closer to being chimpanzees and other lower animals.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        The daughter wouldn’t have done those things you mention, Joshua, because they are unfashionable, non-trendy, and out of sync with what her peer group would approve of. Becoming a dyke and a trannie is actually cool and with-it, and gives you social-status credit in the left-liberal in-group.

        The real point of the poem is that liberal parents produce radical children, or as was said in the eighteenth century, “The Revolution always eats its own.”

      • Joshua C. Frank

        Yes, I agree, that’s why I was thinking it wasn’t about hurting her parents as much as about following their teaching to the natural conclusion of what they believed. Just as their teaching her evolution leads to her contempt for them, their general liberalism leads to her extreme leftism.

        Historically, cultures that become sexually permissive have lasted two to three generations afterward. Assuming ours stays true to this law, it doesn’t have long.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        In connection with that, the brilliant literary and social critic Camille Paglia, who is not a Catholic, has pointed out that effeminacy, homosexuality, and gender uncertainty are the late symptoms of civilizational decline. She mentions Ptolemaic Egypt, imperial Rome, the Mauve Decade of the 1890s, Weimar Germany, and our situation today. These are periods where perversion is not just rampant, but celebrated and preferred by the elite classes.

  9. Roy Eugene Peterson

    The war on free speech certainly has been amplified by disinformation passing as truth in the news media and the evil spawned by the term and use of “hate speech.” Stalin and Hitler would approve!

  10. Brian A Yapko

    Great poems, Russel — observant and with strong messages. I too liked The Apple Tree best — what it says to me is that no matter how much you lower your standards, compromise and appease certain people (leftist zealots come to mind), you’re still going to get burned in the end. As Churchill famously said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile = hoping it will eat him last.”

  11. Norma Pain

    Thank you for these poems Russel. I enjoyed them all, especially Apple Tree. This new disease of oversensitivity is making life very difficult and causing much withdrawal of connection with each other on a daily basis. If we are afraid to voice our opinions because we are stepping on eggshells, how can we grow. It is all so very silly.

  12. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Russel, as always I love the wit and wisdom of your poetry – poetry that always carries with it a serious message. For me, ‘Apple Tree’ is a message all parents should heed. Perhaps it’s time for us all to reassess our values before we lose every last vestige of our humanity… we have now reached a point in South Texas where conservative mothers and grandmothers are taking their children/grandchildren to highly sexualized drag shows in Dallas… it’s gone way beyond political preferences… we’re entering ancient territory here. That’s why our history books are so important. Russel, thank you!

    • Joshua C. Frank

      Susan, I had no idea that conservatives even in South Texas were driving 6 or more hours to Dallas to take their children and grandchildren to see that kind of drag show! How horrible. It just shows that conservative means nothing anymore. What is going through their minds as they do this? It’s as if we’re living in one of those zombie movies, or most of the world has been assimilated by Star Trek’s Borg.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        People tend to do what is trendy and popular. This is why left-liberals are so fanatically concerned about getting control of the schools and mass media.

      • Joshua C. Frank

        I think the left-liberals have gotten their wish… but as we see with “Apple Tree,” it’s ended up being a Faustian bargain.

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