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July 1, 2015

I Love it When I’m Wrong

I love it when I’m wrong, it’s one of my favorite phrases… and today… I was wrong. In being so, I also learned something about myself, reflection, and that (sometimes lost) art my parents taught me of thinking before you speak.

A few days ago EL James (author of 50 Shades of Grey) decided to hold a Twitter Q&A… this was a disaster. As a non-fan of the movie (I admit I didn’t read much the book (I didn’t get far before the writing turned me off)… but have read lots about it if that counts for anything), I thought the Twitter roast was hilarious and started sharing the “good times” with some friends (read: sharing the best Twitter slams for us to mutually titter and cackle about). That’s what I was doing when I came across this one:

It was (and if I’m being honest *is*) hilarious, and I was soon zipping it around to friends. But then, I read a bit more of @avestal’s Twitter feed (which you should check out… he’s funny and has his head on right) and came upon this (it’s a feed so you have to read it from the bottom up… I’m too lazy to have reshuffled it for you… sorry):

And that’s when I had my personal “oh shit” moment. You see, Andrew (sorry if that is too personal, Andrew, we don’t really know each other after all) is dead on with his assessment of “But–maybe don’t punch.” I constantly preach about positivity and treating others with respect… and here I was glorifying the very public flogging of someone who had put herself out there, taken a chance and written her book. I’m not saying for a second my opinion of the movie (or book, what few words of it I read) has changed… but there is no need for me to be personally bashing the woman who wrote it (or glorifying anyone else for doing it).

Mr. Vestal acquitted himself far better than I did in this whole thing and I can’t undo the sharing I’ve already done; however, I can say I learned from (and hopefully will be better because of) it and for that I’m thankful.

May 7, 2011

Do as I say…

I do not think Bush, Cheaney, or any other prominently places US official had anything to do with orchestrating the events of September 11th, 2001 (other than the actions of men in similar positions than the afore mentioned pair years earlier and US policy in general that is). I do not believe that Osama Bin Laden was a “good guy” or patsy, a victim of propaganda or anything like that. What I do think is that he was a desperate person who did what desperate people do… desperate things.

I don’t believe any of these things, but… I know a few pretty intelligent people who do. Because of their beliefs, I find myself questioning their thought processes and conclusions on this matter but not – at any point – their intelligence.

Why am I bringing this up?

Because a football player has been held over the fire for about a week now for publicly denouncing the celebration of another mans death and for questioning the involvement of people such as those mentioned above in the tragedy of September 11th, 2011. it is suspected that he will lose endorsements, fans, and – as a result of the previous two – that his personal finances will be (to whatever degree) compromised.

Folks – and I’m gonna be blunt here – this is just stupid. If we, nestled comfortably in the land of the free and the home of the brave, need to live in fear of exercising our right to speak our opinions (clear and present danger issues not withstanding, of course) what is it everyone was extolling when they were singing (and saying) “proud to be an American” after Bin Laden’s death was announced?

If I am to listen to what “they” tell me… in Iran, you need to be afraid of what you say… it may come back to haunt (hurt) you (especially if you are a woman). In Iraq, Syria, Saudi (oops, I don’t think I’m supposed to say bad things about Saudi Arabia cause we are friends… regardless of the actual conditions on the ground there… sorry… my bad) I am told by those I’m supposed to trust to know what they are talking about that the same is true.

I am supposed to be excited about all of the civil unrest in these countries, about UN sanctioned and executed no fly zones etc. Why? because it is all supposed to be ushering in an era of democracy and freedom in the region. It is supposed to make them more like us… enlightened and tolerant.

Unless… of course, by “us,” you happen to be a running back who has an opinion running contrary to the oh so profound refrain of USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

Rashard Mendenhall is doing **exactly** what we are over there fighting (and over here preaching) about, exercising his freedom of speech. He has hurt no one (unlike many of his unpunished peers) and he has committed no crime (again, unlike many of his unpunished peers). No, what he has done is practice what we have all been told from as far back as we can remember is your right and responsibility as an American… when you have doubts, questions, or opinions – open your mouth and start a dialog about them.

He embraced the American way, the constitution, the bill of rights… everything that is what we (supposedly) hold dear. In return “we” have spent a week making him retreat from his words, reiterating in our actions that despite all the blather to the contrary a person really isn’t free to speak their mind in this country… at least not without consequences.

I just struggle to understand all of the national pride in our freedoms, and all the interest in “fixing” other parts of the world so that they can enjoy them as well when it doesn’t seem to actually be a core value to the average person on the street here. Freedom to agree is not the same as freedom of speech…

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