We can't really say whatever we want. Free speech doesn't remove the fact that words are in fact powerful, and once uttered or written have an impact that is often real and very tangible. Once they leave your mind, where perhaps they are free, they take root and grow.
The idea that we can speak freely is compelling. In our own heads, we are forced to be very mature and forgiving of ourselves. Naturally, I can only speak for myself... but I disagree strongly, deeply, actively and vociferously with lots of the thoughts that bounce around my head. With time, you learn to hold on to the thoughts that matter, and let go of the thoughts that don't. You can also try filter the things you share, that are more in line with what you truly think.
If you are lucky, and have a few people who can take the barrage of thoughts, you may let a few people filter your thoughts themselves. I think we need to be kind to the people who we remove this filter for, because I think it is more difficult to let other peoples stinging comments bounce off us as easily as we let our own. Also, we have to be picky... because what we say still isn't necessarily heard or interpreted in the way we intended it to be. Also, by the time the words leave our mind, and take root... we may again disagree. Merely putting things in to words gives them new life, and life we may want to take back.
That said, unless you push the boundaries of what you are prepared to say, and what you are prepared to hear... it is difficult to move forward. Unless you speak, write, paint, or play your thoughts... you may think you think something you don't.
There is a lot I would love to be able to say in a world of free speech. But that requires a world where people listen, and a world where people think things through.
On wednesday night, a close friend of close friends, a 24 year old girl was shot dead in an attempted hijacking. This is a conversation I feel I should be participating in but feel incapable of expressing fully what I would like to say. Perhaps it needs more listening though. And action.