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What Times We Live In

Extremism in all of its forms bothers me greatly. I am troubled when a vegan calls me a murdered because I choose to enjoy a steak. I know that taking a cylindrical object, lighting it on fire and breathing in the resultant smoke is a very illogical (and unhealthy) thing to do. Knowing this, it would be absurd for me to sue tobacco companies for providing me the means to do so. As a smoker, I find it insulting when someone tells me 'it's bad for you' as if I lack the intellectual capacity to have figured that out for myself. I do understand this quite well; I made the choice anyway. Mentally underline that word choice, since it seems to be such a buzzword nowadays.

I am, however, completely troubled to the core when ANYONE - regardless of where they are on the political spectrum - tells me that I have to accept everything that a group espouses to be considered 'right'. I don't see life as either/or. I have voted Republican...and gasp, have voted Democrat. Some issues... such as the military being provided for, roads being kept, and the law being enforced equitably... one could say that I am fairly 'conservative'.

As far as 'liberal', I'm fine with the notion that those who are unable to care for themselves should have a safety net. Please note that unable means really unable. As in a real disability. If unwilling, well... then you deserve the minimum wage job you'll always be getting until you realize that, "Hey. I can do better."

What a quaint notion - Personal responsibility. Guess I'm 'conservative' there as well. Just to show that I am not lock-step with this website, I believe that marijuana should be legalized, if for no other reason than medical purposes. This is not the time for a discussion on that, because that is not my focus. Should one wish to engage in an honest, vigorous discussion about this topic at a later time, I would be delighted to.

By just those three examples, one can see that I don't see life as either you believe this way, or you believe that way. I can say that while I have spent a lifetime getting to my mind set, or world view, it can change when I get compelling evidence that forces me to rationally change my mind.

In terms of right/wrong, or truth/lies however, there is nothing one can say or do to convince me that that which is inherently wrong can EVER be construed as right. Your motives may be pure. Does not matter. The goals may be noble. Does not matter. If ONE person's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (another way of saying CHOICES) is detrimentally altered by the actions of another person, then those actions are wrong. Plain. Simple. English.

There is also nothing you can do or say to convince me that lies can be truths. Truth has a ring, and when recognized as truth has an undeniable appeal. Even habitual liars can't stand to be lied to. No matter how many facts you use to wrap around a lie, however...well, a candy-coated turd once you get past the candy is still a turd.

Whatever happened to this country anyway? It seems to me nowadays that people have just lost their collective minds. It was once expected that one took care of themselves and their families; nowadays, doing that one acts like we should give them an award or something. In the name of tolerance, we are slowly degenerating from a nation of doers to a nation of... awareness raisers?!?

Name you position, name your platform...almost all efforts in this country for societal change of whatever the problem du jour happens to be is one big happy awareness rally and then... more awareness rallies? The problem with awareness rallies is, or should be, so obvious that it pains me to have to point it out. Usually, that's all there is. On the rare occasions where people feel like taking action, it is of the sort that most logical folks would say, "That's wrong!"

Even our current political campaigns operate this way. When John F. Kennedy campaigned back in 1960, the catch-phrase (or sound-bite, in today's terms) was, "But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises - but a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them."

Today it is all about what goodies I can get.

We are becoming a nation that takes the path of least resistance it seems. Not everyone; not even most... it certainly is heading that way, though. There are people that I see every day, young and old, that exhibit the traits of hard work, personal responsibility (for their lives AND choices...that word again), integrity and that quaint idea called honor. They have self-esteem because they earned it through achieving their goals and setting higher ones. They have the respect of their peers because they have earned it. The nice things that they have they have because they have earned them.

People want to try to solve the problems of this world by maligning the country that they live in. All of the awareness rallies I have ever been a witness to have the same theme: We are bad; everyone else is good.

Well, let me use my own awareness soap-box:

When the roll-call for the discoverers of the cures for all of the various forms of cancer, AIDS, any disease you wish to name is sounded, the over/under I'll call 75% just to make it sporting....and I'll take the over.

Name ONE other country that, after defeating another in a war, instead of destroying it outright, forcing it to pay draconian reparations that practically should have destroyed it, or occupying/colonizing it permanently; instead chose to rebuild it? This was done twice in the past century.

I can go on and one, but that would be piling on.

Yes, there have been horrible acts/periods in our nation's history. Absolutely. Undeniably. To deny such would be folly. The Framers of our country recognized that they were but flawed men, and as such did not know everything.

Having no idea what they future held, they set our Constitution up so that through vigorous debate, hard work, and then putting it up for a CHOICE (that word again) by the electorate (us).

Not by firebombing. Not by shrill, incoherent screaming (it's peaceful assembly). Not by putting paint or dye on people's clothing. Not by breaking someone's windows. Not by putting needles on a postcard and putting it the mail… Certainly not by demanding respect that hasn't been earned in the first place.

No awareness rally can possibly effect social and political change in this country. Action does… Legal action. Look at the above two paragraphs if again if you are unsure as to what would or would not be legal actions. The Framers again did not know everything; to have pretended otherwise would have been the height of arrogance.

Let me finish with this:

Respect expected is not respect that you are seeking; it is fear. Tolerance means that opposing viewpoints can be discussed rationally; not by screaming and shrill name-calling. An honest, vigorous debate can win converts; resorting to hate-filled ranting last I checked has yet to do so.

What gives anyone the authority to tell anyone how to live their life? You do, if you CHOOSE to give them that authority. There are many folks more than happy to have that authority.

Bigotry is a state of mind that comes from the phrase 'By God'. Defined, it's a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions, prejudices or causes; especially those who exhibit intolerance or hostility towards members of a group. It can be based on:

  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Nationality
  • Region
  • Religious/Spiritual/Lack of Beliefs
  • Age
  • Economic Status
  • Disabilty
  • Political Alignment

At it's extreme it always develops into an ideology, or world view. Any form of bigotry against one affects all.

And isn't that what is at the core of this site? Pointing out bigotry in action? Continue pointing them out folks; because their actions are wrong. Shouldn't that have been obvious from the beginning?

--William R. Perry--

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