I urge my fellow writers, artists, musicians, performing artists, producers, directors, distributors—all those involved in the arts—to respond with courage, disdain, and the passion of Cyrano against those who would silence us. The war against freedom of expression is one of dynamic momentum, in which we are either advancing or retreating. Do not imagine that the enemies of freedom will cease attacking if only we’ll shut up and be quiet. Silence buys the artist nothing but self-censured, empty hours until the day he is either forced to serve the censors’ ends or be killed if he refuses. The enemies of freedom cannot afford to back down and remain passive while we in the West are allowed to express our ideas and views as we freely choose. Freedom is the totalitarians’ worst enemy, and they will continue attacking freedom and freely expressed ideas until they win or are forced to back down. Stand now, artists, and speak up–by doing what you do best, without restraint, and demanding that your freedom to do so be adequately defended–or watch in shame and regret as the generation of artists that follows is forced to kneel in silence.

Note to those in elected positions in the U.S. government: either act to protect our freedom of speech or look for other employment. Upholding and defending the freedoms guaranteed to your constituents in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights–this is your first and primary job. If you fail to do your job, those in the arts can be quite persuasive. That’s our job. We only ask that you stand with us and for us as our fellow Americans: speak up in defense of our speaking up, and support forcefulness against those who would use force against us. That’s all we ask. That’s all we need.

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