Thursday, August 9, 2012

If it's good for the goose...

We are all sick of the CFA thing with Dan Cathey, right?  You are probably thinking, "Seriously?  NOW she wants to talk about it?  I'm done reading..."  Well bear with me.  This isn't about his comments.  It's about something SURROUNDING his comments.

Dan Cathey made the decision to comment about gay marriage.  YES, it was his right.  NO, I'm not arguing it.  Other people reacted and made comments about his comments.  YES, it was THEIR right.  NO, I'm not arguing about them, either.  And what was the big backlash?  "You must be TOLERANT.  You must ALLOW this person to have his opinion.  You are un-American if you don't!  Freedom of Speech!  First Amendment!!"  Some people even went so far as to say you couldn't react to his words or choose not to eat at CFA.  Not many - most people were willing to agree that if you didn't like his words it was your right, provided you accepted his right to say the comment.

Here's the thing:  Yes, we have freedom of speech and the right to say what we think.  That's what makes this country great.  I love it.  But we forget rights come with responsibilities.  Say what you think, but accept the consequences of your actions.  People seem shocked that words and actions have consequences (that's a rant for another day...).  Some are foreseeable.  Some are shocking.  Some are fair, others not.

Now, why am I bringing this up?  Well, in the past few days I've noticed something about the so-called "Tolerance" people.  On several occasions I've seen these same people attacking others viciously for their opinions.  Saying, "How dare she say that to ME?!?"  Or, "Why is that person being so mean to ME?," simply because another person on email or on facebook disagreed with them.

People, a disagreement is NOT a lack of tolerance.  If I say, "Here's my opinion," and someone says, "I disagree," that's life.  That's the essence of freedom of speech.  If the person goes on to say, "You stupid moron, you must agree with me," that's not freedom of speech.  That's hurtful and rude.  But if someone doesn't agree with your opinion, they are NOT being intolerant.  They are simply exercising the right which so many people shrieked we must give Dan Cathey.

So why is that when a public figure makes a statement that could be controversial, we're not being tolerant if we disagree?  However, if someone in our life says, "I think otherwise," we start facebook campaigns against this person and attack him/her?  One of my friends said, "Let's return to civilized discourse," and I agree.  But not just in the political/religious arena.  PERIOD. If you have a deeply held belief, and someone disagrees, recognize that they are practicing their 1st Amendment rights, just as you are.  Note: I'm talking about civil disagreement.  Not rude, nasty, ugliness in disagreeing.

Does that mean there's no room for debate?  Of course not!  Civil response and debate are a cornerstone of our society.  Does it mean there aren't times to campaign against someone's words?  Of course not!  Some things people say are just plain ignorant, unfair, rude, and may even infringe on the rights of others.  Does it mean you can't complain to your friends or ask for support?  Isn't that what friends are for?  I'm just saying that you might want to consider what is truly worth your time.  You may be surprised once you take a deep breath how trivial some matters become.  And most importantly, you may want to ask yourself, "Is this person really deserving of my wrath, or should is this a situation in which freedom of speech dictates that I have to give him/her a say, even if I disagree?"  Who knows - you may learn something in your search of the internet to prove him/her wrong!  I know I have on many occasions!

So now my logical side has had it's say!  My emotional side is snickering...and wondering how well I'll remember this when someone really pisses me off...

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