Just 40 years ago, regardless of your stance on politics, race, money, or religion, people were generally able to exist alongside anyone. There were arguments, just as there are today, but they didn’t end with divorce, or calls for arrest for some imagined crime, they just ended with an agreement to disagree, and not revisit the topic. Even 25 years ago, this was still the case, as I can remember my parents and I having that experience with friends. We may have been upset and avoided the other person all we could for a time, but we generally didn’t dispose of someone for a simple disagreement. During my high school years, when these conversations happened, they were either short lived or lasted months or years, as both parties would go back and research then come back and keep working to bring the other person to their point of view. Many of those I call friends vehemently disagree with me on many topics, from healthcare to immigration and more, and we still call the other a friend, unlike so many today.
During the election of 2016, many people became incensed at others for not agreeing with them on who to vote for, candidates had people insulting and demeaning others over the simple fact that you will never find one candidate that everyone will agree with. From George Washington to Donald Trump, every President has had people who wanted someone else for the office, yet they all were chosen to fill the job for their time. Sadly, today we see violence happening in the name of “resisting a fascist regime” from a group that is using Nazi logos and names, and tactics straight from Mussolini’s or Hitler’s playbook. The simple statement that “when your argument requires you to assault those who disagree, it has no value in any sense” perfectly sums up all of the groups who have rioted to stop what they don’t want. However, if you look at eras in the past, you will rarely find the “I don’t like that, so you can’t do it” attitude, you may see protests, signs outside a business or school, and chants being repeated to bring people to one side or the other, but rarely will you see violence erupt over a mere invitation of a speaker, or not wanting a statue removed from a city park.
This attitude, sadly, has been growing for the last 20 to 25 years, and seems to be all but unstoppable now. From the 1990’s and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, to today’s demand that the military, and in fact, the federal government, “must” pay for all manner of things, society is at a tipping point. It is my hope that, over the course of this, I can highlight areas were simply walking away, or changing how a topic is approached, may help stop the flight toward anarchy or worse.
Just over two years ago (April 2015), a couple in Oregon sued a local baker for not making a cake for their wedding. The bakery in question is owned and run by a Christian couple who said that to do so would violate their faith. Rather than let the free market take over, and see who the public supports, the couple in question sued, eventually winning the day, and forcing the bakery to close. The argument that a business cannot deny service, else they are guilty of discrimination, is one that has been debated for decades, yet until 2015, people didn’t sue, they simply told their friends and family, and let the market decide if the business was guilty or not. If the community disagreed, the business would see sales decline until they either change their policy or close their doors for good. (1) That same year in Indiana, a pizza parlor was sued by a gay couple for not catering a wedding. Granted, this story produced a seemingly endless stream of humor over any couple wanting pizza for a wedding, but it shined a light on a new law in Indiana, which the restaurant owner said allowed a business to refuse service on religious grounds. In the Oregon case, the bakery was closed and a family’s ability to support themselves was stripped from them, over a simple matter of a cake, while in Indiana, the community rallied around the business and raised money for them to keep them open after being sued. (2)
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the examples above, just two years later (October 2017,) a coffee shop in Seattle, run by a gay man, saw a video go viral, as the owner went on a verbal tirade against Christians, as he kicked them out of his shop, and was very profane in doing so. Using the examples above, one might expect the damaged party (the customer) to sue and force the business owner to capitulate or close their doors, but this one saw nothing of the sort. The ACLU quickly got involved in the first two, proclaiming loudly in both cases that the First Amendment meant that a business could not say their religious freedom trumps anyone else’s, while in the case of this coffee shop, they were silent, and the community saw nothing more than customers treated as if they had urinated on the counter while their heads spun on their necks. (3)
The sad part of this is that a mere 20 years ago, many businesses had signs that they catered to a small group or didn’t serve others. Most were considered jokes, as they read “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason, with or without explanation.” This was often cause for laughter, or just a decision to not patronize a business, and again, the market decided which businesses succeeded or failed. Granted, this scenario is largely geographic as you will always find areas of any country that hold either very liberal or very conservative views, and the community rarely sees challenges to this, as those who disagree don’t stay long, if they visit at all. Taken as an example, Nashville and Los Angeles are almost on different planets, as in Nashville you find a generally conservative community, raised on Bar-B-Que and beer, and country music, while Los Angeles is so diverse in what you find it could almost be a country on it’s own. From international food, to different cultures, to different religions and lifestyles, when someone from either city visits the other, culture shock is almost too mild a term to use.
These example show two things very clearly, one segment of society demands that no one disagree with them, no one is allowed to run their lives according to anything but what they allow you do, while their polar opposite simply avoid a business that is not in line with their views. Chic-Fil-A has been the target of many tirades and more for their policy of closing on Sunday, despite the policy stating it is to allow employees to spend time as they see fit with their families. When the CEO, Dan Cathy, was interviewed and stated that his personal belief that marriage is a sacred union of a man and woman, the media proclaimed for the world to hear, that the business was homophobic, despite having the quote showing this was Mr. Cathy’s personal opinion. The Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame faced the same, as the patriarch of the family, and the other members, said their personal belief is that marriage is for a man and woman, and saw the series almost cancelled, despite it always showing the family praying over their meal, and it being obvious that they are a deeply religious family.
All of examples of both sides of this argument point out a massive difference in how the two sides of this situation handle themselves when they are faced with those who disagree. There is a wonderful quote, although who said it first is something attributed to many, but there is a segment of society that says if something offends them, no one may do it, while their inverse simply says if something offends them, they will avoid it. This is perfectly shown in the fact that a baker and pizza parlor were sued, while a coffee shop was not, when they refused service to customers completely opposed to their views. There are very few examples of something so offensive it should not be in polite society, that being vulgar language, pornography, other nudity or graphic displays of affection, as very few people want to see any couple, gay or not, all but having sex in public, or someone dressed in so little a doctor could perform a full physical exam without needing them to disrobe. A prime example is something heard from both sides in the late 1990’s, and even parodied in South Park’s episode entitled Tolerance Camp.
I was sitting with friends just a short time after graduating high school, a few of them openly homosexual, when a story came on the TV about a Gay Pride parade that facing complaints and even threats of charges for public indecency. Knowing our friends, no one was shy about voicing their opinions, as the video showed men in lingerie few women would even want to try on outside of a closed room, and worse. Oddly enough, at least by current standards, the few gay people at the table were the most upset, as they said, it painted homosexuals as being perverse and horrible people, and I agreed with them completely. Those at my table were among the nicest and most amazing people I have known. I joke that, if you get a flat in Texas, don’t worry, in about ten minutes four guys in a truck with tools and beer will be by to help, and everyone at that table would agree we were “those guys” as we would all stop to help anyone who needed it. Aside from asking those few people for clothing advice when I didn’t want my mother or sister to know about a surprise party, they were people to me, just people with expertise in an area I didn’t have, as are the rest, we all find something interesting, and pursue it, and come to the others when needed. But, sadly, today, we’ve seen a movement from one extreme on the political scale to demonize all who don’t believe as they do, and those being demonized are so marginalized that any argument to defend themselves only adds fuel to the fire.
Today, however, we have students so assured of their “rights” that they claim discrimination for a failing grade when they didn’t show up, or demand “safe spaces” where they can ignore the world. and their parents are defending them. A cartoon published years ago shows two situations, both where the student had failed a test, where in one the parents ask the child to explain, and in the other, they angrily shout at the teacher to explain. Having gone to college to teach, as I love studying history and teaching, I first found that as I don’t coach any sport, I’m not able to find a teaching position, but also having substituted for several years, this attitude is slowly encroaching on even the most conservative of states and cities. I am thankful I never had to sit in on a conference where parents were told their child was failing, but I did hear students in the halls telling their friends how their parents would “make the teacher change the grade or they’d have them fired.” The attitude of your academic success is someone else’s responsibility teaches only that you need to complain to get your way, and leads to so many other problems in life that no one entering the workforce is able to handle.
I also remember in one class, where I only had one day and it was test-prep, students claiming their teacher allowed the use of iPods and the like when absent, but the teacher didn’t leave me anything stating this, so I told them no. I was accused of being a Draconian Tyrant, and explained that in actuality I was a Jeffersonian, in that I followed the rules unless they were amended by someone with that authority. The students actually began to question me about their test prep, it being an AP Government class, and I ended up getting a long term position from that teacher as a result. In this situation, thankfully, the students wanted to learn, and seeing that they had someone in the classroom who could help, jumped at the chance.
When I returned for my two weeks in the classroom, I lectured, answered questions and generally had a wonderful experience, as the students were bright, engaged, and eager to learn. In the down time, some asked me about various colleges, and other paths in life. I didn’t hold back, telling those who wanted to open an auto garage they should first go to trade school, then learn from a master while getting their business degree slowly, so they’d have little debt and gain experience and real world knowledge, and they were shocked that a teacher didn’t just say “go to college.” Others wanted careers where college was a must, and I told them about loans and such, and advised against debt where it could be avoided. A few of the other teachers cautioned me in this, saying that I could anger parents who wanted their child to attend college, but I will not lie to students and tell them a path that isn’t right for them is. A few parents complained that I was “advising their child that college was wrong,” and I explained that I actually had advised college would help, but that there was a path that would avoid much, if not all, of the normal debt, and was told “you’re lying to cover yourself.”
This shows the attitude so prevalent in the world today, that being “I’m right, don’t you dare say you didn’t do what I said, you’re wrong and must now suffer!” After that experience, I was ready to tell that school district not to call me, but a move negated that need, as well as entering my Junior year, where I was either waiting tables, delivering pizza, in class or asleep, so the situation was resolved, but I was saddened still that parents are so hell bent on their child going to college, regardless of the child’s desires, that they will attack anyone actually listening to the child and being honest.
The simple fact is, today we have people on all sides of every issue that firmly believe in their own infallibility and their right to not be challenged. When you suggest that the government should not force citizens to purchase a product provided by the government, you’re accused of wanting “millions to die.” When you point out that you simply want the mandate removed, not the products, you’re told you’re lying, that you want death and you will never change their mind. This is a large issue for sure, but this attitude goes much farther than just Health Care or other government programs. Stories have been told many times of a woman ranting at a man for holding the door as she “doesn’t need a man” to do that for her. Some have the man saying fine, then entering and not holding the door, only to then be berated for being rude. That event, ranting about holding the door and not holding the door, shows the attitude of “I’m always right, do as I say!” the clearest. How is anyone to know if someone wants a door held for them or not? A video online some ago shows a woman ranting at a couple as they simply share a chaste kiss for “having sex” in a restaurant. When the business refuses to kick them out, the woman then throws her food on the ground and demands a refund, after which it gets worse when she’s told no.
Opponents of unfettered immigration and open borders are accused of racism for wanting all immigration laws already on the books enforced. When those people ask what race an “illegal immigrant” is, they’re screamed at for “clouding the issue” and being racist. When illegal immigrants rape or kill an American, and are given little more than a slap on the wrist by a “sanctuary city” (5) opponents of illegal immigration use this to show why our laws must be enforced, while supporters of open borders say it’s a “random incident” and “shouldn’t be used to tar good people” but they can’t offer any statistics to show how it’s an isolated incident.
The cries of racism or sexism aren’t restricted to illegal immigration or opinionated people who believe they have a right to be right. Very few people today will argue in favor of Jim Crowe laws as we saw in the 1950’s and 1960’s, rather the opposite, as “separate but equal” never works. But, today, we have minority students demanding segregation, companies sued for not hiring a minority over a more qualified person, and even calls to change a character’s race or gender to be “inclusive.” One company, just over 15 years ago, had a policy that all applications were online and anyone including “anything that would give away the race or sex of the applicant” was disqualified. The first and second interviews were automated via phone, the third via phone with a live person, and the fourth was all but a job offer and the first time you were seen by anyone. This company was sued (although they won each time) for “policies that harmed minorities” and the argument was that minorities wouldn’t have access to the needed technology, despite public libraries not charging for internet time to apply for jobs, and phones being widely available and inexpensive.
The popular culture arguments are even more comical, as they are almost all made by those who would never watch the program they demand conform to their point of view. Two examples show how the policy works wonderfully, or could fail dramatically. The Flash, on the CW network, has the characters of Joe, Iris, and Wally West, played by African Americans, and being a long time fan of the comic myself, I noticed the change, but never cared, as these three are amazing in the role they play. This shows that if you hire for talent, it won’t matter who is playing the role, unless there is a reason to otherwise look for talent. Doctor Who, for years, has come under fire for not having a woman play The Doctor. Initially, the role of someone who fled their planet to avoid military conscription, and being the 1960’s, meant a man, but over time, we have seen women assume roles originally played by men, from Commanders on Gallifrey, to Missy taking over from The Master, and the new Doctor coming in late 2017 is a woman, but from all reports, will do amazingly, indicating that until now, the right woman for the role just wasn’t available. In a funny twist of fate, someone was outraged that Superman on the CW show Supergirl was to only be white, despite having a white man playing the role in the credits, while another was incensed that Rami Malek, a “white man,” was playing an Egyptian Pharaoh in the Night at the Museum movies, until Malek let them know he was born in Egypt, and thus, actually an Egyptian!
This argument also comes into play in many other situations, but it always comes down to the same basic tenet, hire based on race/sex to avoid being racist/sexist, and the irony of “you must be racist/sexist to not be racist/sexist” just brings about the response of “you’re too ignorant to understand.”
Agree with me or you’re a Nazi and to be killed
The secondary tactic today is to call everyone who doesn’t agree with and follow you without question a nazi. Being a student of history, and having already said this here, those using that accusation to silence dissent are actually using the nazi tactics and logic. After World War 1, Germany was demoralized and dejected, until a charismatic man named Adolf Hitler rose to power and gave the country a scapegoat and whipped them into a frenzy. This is a typical tactic, that being to paint your opponent as so evil that all around you will rally to your defense. Charlottesville, VA saw a violent clash between “nazis” and “antifa,” although many now claim to have seen these groups come in on the same busses, suggesting they are simply one group instigating violence to get their way.
My personal stance, and arguments, against this argument is simple, my Grandfather and Great Uncles fought in World War II against the actual Nazis, with one dying on D-Day and laying in Calais to this day. My Great Uncle Coleman, a tank commander on D-Day and in North Africa, rode into Paris when it was liberated, and told me about his time in the Army fighting a brutal regime that murdered millions for the “crimes” of being Jewish, or gay, or otherwise undesirable. Just under a century before that, my ancestors fought to free slaves in the south, but because I don’t support what these “enlightened” people do, I am now painted as nazi.
The clarion call, of course, is to disarm all who are legally armed after any event involving a firearm. A “white supremacist” killed African Americans after the election of President Trump and the call was for gun control, not killer control. Those crying for “common sense gun control” ignore the tool used when it’s a pressure cooker (Boston Marathon bomber,) a truck (NYC,) or a van full of fertilizer (OKC Federal building,) and look for how to fix mental health, but when someone uses a firearm, you’re a nazi for wanting to address the actual issue, not just ban a tool.
Looking at three specific events should show how making a tool illegal is going to do nothing, as Chicago and Detroit should prove on their own. Columbine High School saw a brutal massacre of students, by other students, using weapons stolen from their parents or others they knew. These were high school students, and thus, they should not have any legal way to purchase a firearm. The only exception is if they were already 18, they can legally buy a shotgun, but they used other weapons that they could not legally purchase, so if they acquired the weapons illegally, how would yet another law stop them. Sandy Hook Elementary was virtually identical, with the killer stealing the weapons to kill with them. Again, he acquired them illegally, but the call was to pass another law, not address how to stop the person. This one also showed media ignorance, as they showed a photo of an AR-15, when that was left in his car and not used. Finally, Sutherland Springs, TX, saw a Baptist Church targeted by an avowed atheist who hated Christians. While he did purchase his weapon, he should not have been allowed to, as had his Dishonorable Discharge and Domestic Violence charges been properly reported when they happened, the state of TX would have had him on record as a prohibited possessor, meaning legally, he shouldn’t have been allowed any weapons. But, in the aftermath, former Vice President Biden is on record saying the man who had his own AR-15, and stopped this murderer, should not have been allowed to have the weapon that stopped a killer and saved lives.
The simple fact is that if you argue against removing a statue, for a speaker to come to a private event, or for law abiding citizens to be armed as the law allows, you are labeled a “nazi” and will be attacked, in some cases, physically and to the point of death.
These are the people who stop in a driving rainstorm to change a stranger’s tire, who hear about a family in their community suffering a loss and rally to cook meals and help, and generally do all they can to help anyone in need. Those accusing them of all manner of horrible things are those who demand that you wait for the Police when a killer is standing over you. They scream that you want children dead for suggesting women arm themselves to prevent assault, while also screaming that we need to “teach men not to rape,” as if it’s a genetic thing, although they also tell you being a man isn’t genetic.
The arguments don’t make sense, as they tell you that rape culture is only fixable by “teaching men not to rape,” then tell you that you can’t assume someone’s gender. They ignore the actual culture of rape in Hollywood and the DNC, while harping on “locker room talk” from over a decade ago from a man who, until he ran for President, was never accused of racism or sexism. All of this, to me, proves that we don’t have a racism, sexism, or homophobia issue, we have an willful ignorance issue.
If someone broke into your home five times, each time doing damage to your property and family, would you welcome them back again, and then say they didn’t do anything wrong by their actions leading to the death of one of your family? No, you wouldn’t, although I also wouldn’t argue that a pistol round can ricochet and kill as was argued in this case, having read about it, but that is just what the jury in San Fransisco has said. If you were beaten to a pulp would you blame the bat, or the person swinging it? If you were fired for calling in sick when found to later be at a baseball game, would you blame racism for your being found out to be lying? This is the crux of the matter and what must change, as we have almost half of all Americans today blaming everyone but the person responsible. Zarate, after killing Kate Steinle, is acquitted despite multiple felony convictions and deportations, companies are accused of racism when a minority who is less qualified than a non-minority, doesn’t get the job they want, and men are accused of all manner of crimes for merely living their lives. The question here then becomes simple, when, if ever, will society finally stop this madness? If we don’t, we are headed for the end of the grand experiment that is the Shining City on the Hill that is the United States.
Remain civil and respectful of everyone’s right to their own opinion. You do have a right to think and believe as you do, but so do those you disagree with.
This is, by my design, an family friendly blog. Yes, I know that the topics I write about are not those children, or even teenagers, normally read about and discuss, but part of rule one, being civil, is not resorting to profanity.
If you resort to a base insult, you will immediately be ignored by me and all others who understand the rules of a debate. If I challenge your point and you call me racist, you are proven to be someone unworthy of my time and respect, and I will ignore you after that.
CITE! YOUR! SOURCES! I have cited my sources for the examples above, and if you have an example used where the source isn’t cited, you can assume it’s my own personal experience, but feel free to ask. If you are asked for source material, either admit you’re using something you can’t prove, or provide the source material.
Finally, and most importantly, I am never, by disagreeing with you, denying any right or insulting you, rather, I am embracing my own right to free speech, and questioning what I do not believe. If you are unable to convince me, that is not my “denying your right” to anything, it’s my refusal to embrace your point of view simply because you demand I do.
Addendum – I’ve fought the HTML and revised over ten times now and I cannot get a constant result of a SIMPLE CARRIAGE RETURN after the centered section headers. I know it looks bad, but sadly WordPress is apparently in a mood to undo all changes when I save a draft.