Freedom of Speech (in My Car)

Driving alone in my car is like going to Las Vegas: “What happens in my car, stays in the car”. And I consider myself a well-behaved lady because my parents taught me manners. I promise you that. But like every person, I have my weak moments. When I experience a mild, yet potent, version of road rage, I start talking like a sailor. I cannot handle it when someone cuts in front of me without using their indicator. I can’t, and why should I? Did your car come without indicators? No? Then use it! It’s as simple as that. You see this? I’m getting worked up about this just by talking about it. Having said that, it made me think about how easily I would insult other drivers because I knew they couldn’t hear me and I wouldn’t have to face the consequences. It is very similar to what we do with social media.


Most of society will almost never insult you, or say how they honestly feel about you, face to face. We are scared that we will be judged, so we will rather do it behind someone’s back or behind a computer screen. It gives you a fake sense of power, because you’re untouchable and you don’t have to face the consequences, or witness the pain that you might have caused with your words. When I’m reading different articles, I’m amazed at how many times people can see something bad in, what I consider, is a positive article. The question, “Really?” is what I continuously mumble, while I read people’s comments on Facebook or Twitter. If you are going to search for the bad in people, you are going to find it. No one is perfect, and the difference between a weed and a flower is your opinion. So, does this make us cowards? I believe it does. When you proceed to judge people, because they are different from you, you’re defining yourself and not them. And social media has created the illusion that we are living out our right to freedom of speech, but in reality, we are really utilising it as a platform to bully and cover up our own insecurities.

pretoria girl writes _ ilka steyn

Words carry a heavy weight and can change someone’s life for the better or the worse. My wish for our world is that we will show respect and compassion towards each other, and to see our differences as something amazing and colourful. Can you just imagine how dull life would be if we were all the same? If you struggle to accept and respect these differences, and you feel the need to say something mean, then just think about this old saying: “If you don’t have anything decent to say, don’t say anything at all”.

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