My Thoughts on Freedom of Speech
March 24, 2003, 2:00am

I pray for America’s military servicemen and women and their families.
I pray that this war is over quickly, that our troops come home safely
and that there are few civilian casualties.

I find it tragic that the Bush administration’s attempts at diplomacy
failed so miserably and have led us to the point of starting a war
that might have been avoided.

Thank God the constitution enables all citizens to exercise their
freedom of speech to say what they believe. That’s what’s great about
democracy and what’s great about this country.

In fact, Theodore Roosevelt said, “To announce that there must be
no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president,
right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally
treasonable to the American public.” How dare the media call people
who speak out against the war unpatriotic. Exercising freedom of speech
is an extremely patriotic act.

I have been arguing that point for many years now, that artists have
just as much of a right to speak out as every other citizen. In 1995,
I gave a speech at Harvard called the artist as citizen. I made the
point then and many times since that artists are citizens first and
artists second. We have opinions and ideas, just like anybody else.
The difference is that we are given more visibility from which to
speak – so we have to be informed and we have to be responsible, but
it doesn’t mean we have to be quiet.