Thursday, September 09, 2010

On "Rights"

Ok, let's all stop shrieking for a moment and forget about who's ox is currently being gored. Its September 9, 2010 and we're still a Constitutional Republic and not the Orwellian dystopia we're on the fast track in becoming. In this Republic, you have the right to:

  • Damn the nation from the pulpit like rev. Jeremiah Wright
  • Emotionally assault mourners at military funerals like the trolls from Westboro Baptist
  • (Apparently) Intimidate voters a la New Black Panthers
  • Take your best white sheets off the bed and wear them in the public square
  • Burn the Holy Bible
  • Engage in sex acts on a public street, in front of children (gay pride parade style)
  • Engage in street evangelism at that same pride parade.
  • Build a monument of triumphal conquest in the shadow of a mass grave in Lower Manhattan.
  • Burn copies the koran on the anniversary of the most cowardly against civilians in American history

Alright, now that I have your attention let's think about this like adults. I want to emphasize the "adult" aspect because more and more, the national dialog has been resembling a junior high school lunchroom dominated by petulant children.

Every one of the aforementioned bullets is burning someone's bacon or jazzing them on. One is reading and saying "yeah baby" while another is saying "how dare them..." Your ox or not, it may be "gored" under the protections of the First Amendment. Yet, for everyone who clamors to assert their "first amendment right", too few are willing to cowboy up to their "first amendment responsibility" to own the consequence or fallout of their expression.

How does this play out? Quite simply. If you're going to engage in street evangelism at a pride parade, you'd better be prepared for the same reception that Lot received that evening in Olde Towne Sodom. If you're going to stand in your pulpit and damn your nation while spewing marxist liberation theology, don't hide behind the race card when you suddenly become an object of scorn.

For the rest of us, it should be a no-brainer. There is no enumerated right that protects us from offense. If you believe that this SHOULD be the case, you're playing with fire in the fact that you too offend folk on any given day. Any protected class is only an election away from becoming a public pariah, or vice-versa.

Someone has said, "There was a time when people had tender hearts and tough hides, seems that has become twisted around." I wish I knew who actually made that remark because it contains a wealth of pithy wisdom.

No comments: