Free speech demands free thinking

Trevor Frey

Voltaire once said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

And that is fact.

Zak Cummins’ Feb. 18 commentary about the apparent falsities of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and life was ill-timed. The piece may have seemed relevant, as it is Black History Month, but I felt it was classless.

After reading the Web site he referred to, I was sickened. Many of the people and groups on that Web site are renowned for their racist beliefs.

The home page of radio host Kevin Francis Strom,, greets visitors with a large photograph of Ernest Zundel. Zundel is a Holocaust revisionist. He claims that the Holocaust never took place. This is one of Cummins’ sources?

Scroll down the site and you find a cartoon of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon holding President George W. Bush.

Scroll further and you find a link to the National Alliance home page. “Love your race,” it proclaims. One of its prominent U.S. members was arrested for threatening the life of a federal judge.

But the next one is the kicker.

Former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan David Duke has an article on the page as well.

I could write all day about what these “primary sources” have done, who I think they are and why they are a conflict of interest for Cummins’ commentary.

I think that’s up to you, though. You need to recognize the beliefs of these individuals for what they are: racist.

Even though King plagiarized some of what he said, people were exposed to those thoughts only because he said them. The possibility that he got his Ph.D. through plagiarism is trivial. King was a leader. He motivated people through speeches and actions.

Besides, David Duke regurgitated much of what he said as well.

My point is that we have to educate ourselves. I knew when I read Cummins’ commentary that the letters would pour in.

The very fact that I can write my reaction and opinion is due to our freedom to do that in this country. We enjoy free expression and exchange of ideas. Part of that is hearing things we do not want to hear.

I have cited various Web sites that, if read, I hope will sicken you as much as they did me.

We don’t need to worry about an individual’s words. We need to worry about our individual actions. I felt a responsibility to speak against Cummins’ opinion.

What are you going to do?

Trevor Frey is a freshman photojournalism major from Toronto, Canada. The views expressed in this commentary are only those of the writer and not those of the Herald or Western Kentucky University.