Much of what I see in America troubles me greatly. The point on my mind today is the erosion of the first amendment in the name of kindness, or of seditious speech, or any infringement on that most sacred of our rights.
As a girl, my father taught me an object lesson on this issue early on. The Klan was holding a rally in Dallas, where I grew up, and I told him that they shouldn't say those things, or even think them, because it was evil. His response was to tell his five-year-old that while I might not like what was being said, as an American, I had to be willing to defend to the death their right to say it, because freedom of speech was not guaranteed in all countries, and that it must be zealously guarded in order to maintain it.
The lesson stuck. I see a lot of people saying things I don't agree with, or don't like, or don't think are wise. I see the bully media, our political class, and bots on Twitter (may it go bankrupt) drumming up hatred and division between us, and we the sheeple going along with it and even joining the chorus. At the rate it's going it won't end well.
Thomas Jefferson believed we would need a revolution every 50 years in order to maintain our republic, and maybe we do -- that decision is well above my pay grade. But I think we can all take a note here and consider our rights -- and our obligations.
We have a right to free speech, and concomitantly an obligation to use it wisely. We can't control the braying chorus, but we can control ourselves.
This is the third Father's Day without my dearest Daddy. My daddy really, really wanted kids. So much so that when it didn't happen for him and my mother, they adopted me. At the time, adoptions cost $2,000, and my father earned only $3,000 each year (ok, so I'm old lol). He saved it in two years. My mother didn't work at the time (the 60s), so it was all on him. A year later, they adopted my sister with the help of my mother's family.
As Daddy grew older and weaker, he was worried about dying and leaving my mother and sister and I to fend for ourselves. As he put it, "I lived for you girls." Which came as a surprise to no one. Whatever any of us needed, he was there. My mother died a year and a half later, and my sister sent me a photo of mother and daddy's wedding with the slogan, "Someone's happy tonight."
As men get more and more devalued in our society -- at least, according to the media and pop culture -- spare a thought for all of the daddies out there living for their families. Mine was an "old white man" -- quelle horreur! -- and the best person I ever knew. God bless every father out there today, and if you still have yours, give him an extra hug today for those of us whose are gone.
They're not! At least, not unless you're the only one doing so. Something I wish I'd known when I was younger . Also Truisms about the rocky road of romance: "go slow means "go away." "I need more time" has an unwritten corollary: "To find someone else." "It's not you, it's me" -- it's you all right. And the most useful tip of all: If someone ever tells you they're not good enough for you, LISTEN: it may be the only unvarnished truth you'll ever hear from 'em!
Much joy and love to all gamers -- and others -- this best of days. In a world where the news is often contentious, condescending or even downright contemptuous, it's wonderful to dwell on the good news this day reminds all Christians of. My hope for America today is that we learn to listen to -- and to stop shouting at -- our fellow citizens who don't agree with us about any particular thing. May all of you be richly blessed this season!
As I watched the news this morning, I wondered what happened to the America of 9/11 -- or better, of 9/12, 2001.
We were so united in those terrible days. The loss of so many lives. The courage of Todd Beamer, a man none of us had ever heard of, who with some of his fellow passengers brought down the final plane in a field where the only loss of life would be their own. The first responders running into those towers -- and into Tower 2 after the first building fell. The horrible choice faced by those trapped by the fires, whether to burn or jump.
The next time any of us wants to say something horrible about another American because he's of a different political viewpoint to our own, or treats another American contemptuously for any reason, we should remember 2001, and hold our tongues.
The Le Monde headline of 9/12 read: "We are all Americans today." The glass in this country is so much more than half full, and we should put aside our differences and our grievances and our judgments and stand together and be grateful for all of the blessings we enjoy. Probably wishful thinking, but there it is.
As I watch the world around me lately, I'm reminded of the sentiment expressed by Rodney King after his beating by police during the LA Riots of the '90s: "Can't we all just get along?"
Every time I turn on the TV, I see angry mobs of people shouting at one another -- both private individuals and "commentators." Everyone seems so convinced that they're right and the other guy is wrong, no matter the issue. We've developed a professional protester class -- notice the printed, not handmade, signs at some of these events. Some are so ashamed of their own ideas that they feel compelled to hide their faces from us -- and what does that mean?
I'm also reminded of something my father told me when I was a little girl. There was a Klan march on the news -- I was too little to even remember where it was. I told my Daddy I didn't think they should be allowed to do such a thing, because the Klan was bad. He told me that living in America meant that everyone had the right of free speech, and that I didn't have to like what they were saying, but I must defend to the death their right to say it. It obviously made a big impression on me, because I still remember the conversation all these years later.
Maybe if we all remembered that idea, and remembered what can happen when it's not upheld, we could begin to all get along or, failing that, conduct ourselves civilly with one another.
I've been wondering: what do we lose, as a society, by being unable to speak truth? What started out with good intentions: kids shouldn't call learning disabled kids retards, and people like the sound of "passed away" over "died," sparing people's feelings, has morphed into something quite different. If I'm attacked by a white woman (note how carefully I must put this), must I now tell the police that the suspect appeared to be a white, sys-gendered, hetero-normative woman? But that I didn't know how she "identified?" If I just say "white woman," am I hurling insults at the suspect regardless of the crime? And is this what the founders of America, who were every one wanted men merely for the things they said about the king and his governance, had in mind? Just wondering......