Saturday, March 19, 2016

Think before you speak, before you react...

With rights come responsibilities. While we live in a free nation and pride ourselves in the freedom to express ourselves freely (for the most part), what we say and how we say it does have consequences.

We all have a responsibility to speak out in support of what we believe is right and against what we believe is wrong and while we can't always appease everyone and speak in a manner that doesn't cause someone, somewhere to be angry or offended, we must each do our best to express ourselves in a way that is NOT expressly intended to incite a violent reaction. 

To those who speak in a manner that may be deemed offensive to others, while you are not responsible for the actions of others, you must accept responsibility that your words may have consequences. That said, what's offensive to one person may not necessarily be offensive to another. This means you just need to know your audience, know who you are speaking to so that you have at least have some control. If you know your audience and you intentionally fuel a fire with your words, don't expect that you can wrap yourself in the flag, cite your right to free speech and walk away from the resulting explosion, completely unscathed. You are culpable. 

To those on the receiving end of speech that they find offensive, who dare to commit violent acts in retribution for such speech remember that you are solely responsible for your actions. So what if someone says something that offends you? You have the right to counter with your own speech, with nonviolent protests, or walk away. You do not have the right to infringe upon the civil rights of others by committing violent acts just because you disagree. You are culpable too.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Friendship before politics.

Recently, some of my facebook friends have boldly stated that if their friends support a particular candidate or platform, they should unfriend right now.

I find that ridiculous but that's just me. If I don't agree with your political views, I'm not going to unfriend you, I'm just not going read them. That's because in my world, when I'm friends with someone it generally has nothing to do with politics.

I have friends whose political views are all over the place. They are Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, Independent, Socialist party at all.

They are hardcore conservatives, hardcore liberals and moderate in-betweens.

I have vehemently agreed and strongly disagreed with some of them to the point of arguments that got more than a little heated. Most of the time when discussions get really heated at least one of us knows when to stop arguing and raise a white flag of truce before it gets so bad it can't be fixed.

You might ask, "So Jess, is there any political view that you would find so extreme that you would unfriend?"

Good question. I'll put it to you this way...if I felt such a strong desire to unfriend someone because of their political views, I probably wouldn't have been friends with them in the first place.