By Emily Merrell | VIRGINIA
In the state of Virginia, the code of law suggests that citizens use no profanity in public. Many places have anti-profanity signs and the like. Letting out an f-bomb in Virginia is a misdemeanor! Although it is a very old law, many people are still charged and can be charged a $250 dollar fine at the minimum.
A state lawmaker from Richmond Virginia is currently attempting to eliminate this law. The conservative Michael Webert is a farmer that believes in the right to free speech and understands that things happen that can trigger people to let out a dirty word. “When I cursed, my mother told me not to and handed me a bar of soap,” he said, “you shouldn’t be hit with a Class 4 misdemeanor.”
Clearly, any logical thinker will agree with Webert. Business owners can kick people out or ask them not to swear. However, lawmakers that voted against this law could be accused of “promoting profanity.” There’s another law in Virginia that violates free speech and that is the “flag burning” law. This law is also enforced despite the supreme court passing that flag burning is not a crime.
Virginia is violating people’s free speech. However, there’s more than just politics to these laws. Emily Post was an American author that wrote about etiquette for a formal society. The Emily Post Institute that is still run by her family still believes in keeping a lid on the censorship of profanity in order to keep a formal and polite society.
A researcher of profanity from Columbia University has answered his thoughts on these rules. It aims to “enforce politeness, and that is not something the law is equipped to do,” said Jesse Sheidlower, author of ‘The F-Word’.
While this law is often challenged and is clearly wrong, a recent video has shown it being enforced. Police took a reporter from a media outlet straight to the ground following an argument. “If you curse again you will go to jail.” an officer says. The reporter replied “F— this” and was charged with disorderly conduct.
Is it possible that we may be overlooking this law? We definitely are. The state of Virginia is violating our human rights to self-ownership and free speech and if they keep this up more states could follow along. Especially, within our current social justice society, censorship is not a fictional idea in our dystopian novels anymore. With our current political climate certain words, media, and ideas may be banned. And the enforcement of these Virginia Law shows that this could happen any day now.