Updated: Nov 18, 2019
What do these three individuals have in common? Nothing that I can think of. However, in order to illustrate a point, I will explain. There is a lot of hand wringing going on about how divided the country is today. I often read how Americans are entrenched in their beliefs and unwilling to participate in any sort of civil or logical discourse. To me these are two different things. You can be entrenched in your beliefs, and have a logical reason for those inclinations. You can also be entrenched in a belief and be unable to logically explain why. I would suggest if you are entrenched in a certain belief, and unable to explain why, then keep it to yourself and don't bore the rest of us. If you do bring it up, then be able to articulate your logic. In other words, own it, have a take, or just shut up. Otherwise, you just come across as contrary/boorish at best, or confrontational at worst.
NFL...or Not For Long
Colin Kaepernick is back in the news this week. As you may recall, Kaepernick kneeled during the playing of the national anthem prior to NFL football games. His reason was that his actions were a form of protest against social injustice, primarily perceived law enforcement abuses against minorities. Most Americans did not approve of his actions. Some reasons that were given for this displeasure included that kneeling was disrespectful in general, and to military veteran's in particular. As a military veteran, I found this reasoning to be offensive. As an officer, I took an oath "to support and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." I did not take an oath to an elected official or a thing. I took an oath to an idea. So this line of reasoning did not resonate at all with me. Others said that they agreed that Kaepernick had a point, but he chose the wrong way to express his opinion. Hmm. So protesting social injustice in this country is Ok with these people, as long as it does not disrupt or offend? I guess Rosa Parks should not have offended the white woman who demanded her seat on the bus? I guess the black college students who refused to leave after being refused service at Woolworth's should not have disrupted the other diners? I guess hotel union workers that cause guest inconvenience should be quiet and not disrupt their visit. Really? Kaepernick took his stand and he paid the price. No NFL team has hired him since he was let go. That is their prerogative. I have no issue with whatever side you choose to come down on this, but if you are going to bring it up, have a logical take or shut up.
The art...or the artist?
Jane Fonda is back in the news. She was arrested recently in Washington, DC for protesting climate change. I have heard people say "I will never watch a Jane Fonda movie after what she did during the Vietnam War." Hmm. Now to remind everyone, in 1972, as a form of protest against that war, Jane Fonda went to North Vietnam and appeared in a picture wearing a helmet and surrounded by North Vietnamese troops. Most Americans found this extremely offensive. A couple of things. First, Ms. Fonda obviously did not support US involvement in Vietnam and chose this action to express her beliefs. Many Americans did not support American involvement in Vietnam and expressed it in other ways. For example, Trump, Bush II and Cheney chose to dodge the draft. I guess that is OK, since it was not disruptive and offensive? Now I don't hold it against anyone who did not want to participate in that debacle. Why don't they just admit it then? If you lost someone in that war, I could see how you would be upset with Ms Fonda. How about the three amigos? Maybe your loved one may not have had to go to Vietnam if they hadn't worked the system to avoid service. So the next time someone feels compelled to bring out the "no Jane Fonda movies" soapbox, respond with "I understand how you may feel, then you must not watch anything by Bill Cosby (convicted rapist), Kevin Spacey (alleged rapist), Mel Gibson (racist), Harvey Weinstein (alleged rapist) etc. See what they say. If they say that "those guys are different", then I guess rape is not as bad as protesting against an unpopular war. If they say they do not watch those artists either, then I guess Braveheart movie night is off. Again, I would suggest if you are going to voice your opinions on an artists work, and your displeasure with their actions, have a take, or shut up.
"I lost all my friends...when they found out I voted for Trump"
What?! I was trolling the CNN website, and yes, this is an actual quote from some 40 something, male wiggler. Embarrassing to say the least. So, I will attempt to explain to this "victim", my thoughts on his comments.
"Sir, I am going to go out on a limb and say that you did not lose your friends because you voted for Trump. You lost your friends because you are a dope. First of all, I was raised that who you voted for was personal, and asking someone who they voted for was impolite. Since society today is not polite, I suppose we can disregard that. So if someone did ask you who you voted for, and you responded, instead of politely declining, were you prepared for any follow-on questions? Or did you just offer up who you voted for, and bored/offended everyone to tears shortly thereafter? I have good friends who voted for Trump, and some who did not. We are still friends, as who we voted for is not a topic of discussion, as good friends normally discuss other things. I personally would not vote for someone that I consider a misogynist and a racist. What is a misogynyst or a racist you ask? Read the dictionary. I know it when I see it. That is just me. I don't consider my friends who voted for Trump misogynists or racists unless they prove otherwise, through their words or actions. However, if someone who voted for Trump is not prepared to address those items, if they are asked, or if they support those actions for whatever reason, then yes, they may find themselves increasingly isolated. So can you explain to me sir how your friendless circumstances came about…exactly?" Again, own your position if questioned or shut up.
Just a suggestion
So when put in a situation where you have to listen to some gasbag bloviate about something they do not really understand, you have four choices. First, grin and bear it. Second, change the subject. Third, firmly state that it is not a topic you wish to discuss. Or lastly, challenge them to explain their logic. If they can do that, then ok. Not that you would change your mind but at least they have thought through their position. If they have no logic when challenged, then they are just dopes and I would advise you to exercise extreme caution in further interactions. Or drink heavily.