All too often, I find myself chewing things over before making a final decision about where said ponderings will end up. Sometimes I spit them out to display my regurgitated mess for all to see or I’ll swallow them down and move on from it all.
In recent days, I’ve experienced a few situations where the “freedom of speech” term has been abused to the point where I can barely put it into my mouth. Needless to say, these events are not destined for digestion.
Let’s first discuss a man by the name of Allison Caldwell from Pembroke, NH. Mr. Caldwell, apparently, finds religious diversity to be rather offensive. In fact, he finds Jews to be downright despicable human beings. However, our precious freedom of speech allowed his letter sharing these hateful views to be printed for all to see.
Letters poured in from all walks of life in the Granite State, denouncing the publication’s decision to print the message. The Concord Monitor fiercely defended their position – recognizing that it was tasteless but falls within the acceptable guidelines to our 1st Amendment Right. I can respect their willingness to try to do “the right thing” even if it isn’t the popular thing. But, there is something “off” about posting a message that sends a blanket message of hate directed at a certain group of people.
My second experience was a first-hand one and came at my indoor soccer game this evening. As a fiercely competitive individual, I often get on the nerves of the referees. Tonight, we had a younger gentleman who, apparently, is at his wit ends with our team. He missed several obvious hand balls and I had no hesitation in calling him out on his missteps.
As the game wore on, he grew increasingly upset with my “helpful” suggestions and began ranting about how pathetic our team was. His anger grew when it became apparent that his “authority” was not going to shut me up. At the end of the game, he walked past me and shared a nice little comment with me. I’ll just say that one word rhymed with ducking and the second part sounds similar to bore.
This “man” felt such anger towards me and my commanding ways that he attacked me at the core of my being. He used violent, angry words to share his views. My fellow teammates asked me to let the matter go but, by principal, I cannot do this.
At what point do we draw the line for opinions and hateful words? What good can come from either of these two situations? What ever happened to “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”?
And, most importantly, when did acceptance and tolerance become endangered species?