Obsessed With Being Offended

No Obama on this flag

We love to be offended.   Think about it for a second and let the concept sink in. Doesn’t quite make sense?  It may be fair to say we are obsessed with it even.  It seems that everyone loves to be the victim and target of some offense act, statement, or concept. Take a look at this simple example that happened over the last couple days.

Yesterday, Nike released a new limited line of shoes called “Black & Tan”, in tribute of the popular Irish beer concoction and upcoming St. Patrick’s Day.  Although an unofficial name for the shoes, the term “Black & Tan” was originally given to a highly oppressive group of British leaders in the 1920’s, who terrorized Irish dissidents.   Of course, the news quickly developed that Nike’s “name” has offended Irish groups throughout the world.  News articles across the board couldn’t resist but use word “offended” multiple times throughout the dialogue, with majority of the “offended” being unnamed and unrecognized.    This entire drummed-up story has forced Nike to make a public apology and remove the unofficial name.

There is nothing wrong with being offended; but consider that every time some group, including ourselves, is offended, the word’s meaning is diminished little by little.   For example:

Barbara Walters is “offended” by the TV show, The Bachelor

Animal welfare group offended by Neb. Gov. Dave Heineman speech

Kim Kardashian is offended by actor John Hamm’s comments

Those are all from news headlines in the last several hours, according to Google.

In the current environment, when we are “offended”, it is just the status-quo anymore.  It’s not an issue; it’s not a problem.

We’ll get over it, right?

Yet, that is the crux of the problem.  These days, being offended is a trend and passing emotion.  Everyone is looking for appeasement via apology or a handout, wondering what will be done to ease their ire.  While we may be offended by someone cutting us off on the highway or bumping in to us on a crowded street, it really does not matter anymore.  We aren’t truly offended; we’re just trying to fit in with the narrative of the day.  It’s just cool to be the victim and oppressed.  After all, who doesn’t naturally want to indulge in some self-pity and be a “martyr”?

Well…

I am truly offended.

I am offended…

  • When it is announced that the Democratic Party of Lake County, Florida puts Barack Obama’s face on the American Flag.
  • When a group of American Indians, Northern Arapaho, are given a permit to shoot American bald eagles. 
  • When I am told that I must pay for other citizens’ “contraception”.
  • When it is announced that the national healthcare law will collect a $1 premium to fund abortion procedures from everyone enrolled.
  • When my tax money is rolled into Solyndra and other “green energy” companies
  • When our President shows his disdain for the United States of America, through almost all his enacted policies, including apologizing and negotiating with a declared “enemy” in Afghanistan.

These are issues to be offended over!   Not shoe names, celebrity spats, and TV shows.

As citizens of this nation, we should be more concerned and offended by the path the U.S. has been set on by this Administration than Peyton Manning’s departure, a Kony 2012 documentary, or whether or not McDonald’s is out of chicken nuggets.  

If we make these trivial parts of life the target of our outrage and choose to be repeatedly offended over them, then we simply become the “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

After all, when everyone is offended, then no one really is.

A Democracy?

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner”

 – James Bovard

         

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

Democracy vs. Republic

It is frightening when I hear someone refer to this country as a democracy.  Often times, it is elected officials, trying to speak in a language that sounds eloquent and patriotic.  Why does it frightening me? Mainly because the United States contains some portions of a democracy; but, in the end, is and was intended to be closer to a Republic.

Perhaps it may seem as if it is really is just an issue of definitions, but what if it is a whole lot more than that?  What if it is planned and an attempt to establish this democratic set-up?

Let’s look at what a democracy actually is.

Suppose a small group of people approach you and your family while you are walking down the street.  This group encircles your family and demands that you give your wallets, purses, and other valuables to them. Being that you are outnumbered, you comply with your oppressors’ demands.  Being robbed of everything you had on you, your captors are now appeased and they disappear.   The basic concept of Democracy supports what just happened.

Want to counter-argue that the example sounds extreme and there are laws prohibiting what just happened?

Let’s say the country just voted to make it legal to take others’ property?  A pure democracy would support this too; because democracy is based on the concept that majority rule is the final decision.  It does not matter what is deemed right, wrong, ethical, or unethical because the majority have decided what is to happen.

Democracy is mob rule.

For a simple definition, a Republic has boundaries that serve to protect from mob rule and shield individuals or groups from errant majority opinions.  The U.S. was intended to have the will of the people expressed and to guide the nation, but there is a severe difference from Democracy.  This difference is that if at any time the will of the majority of people goes outside the bounds of the U.S. Constitution, then it is to be rejected.

In all correctness, the United States is a Democratic Republic, in which the majority (voters) chooses through (representation) to make decisions for the country.  All these decisions by the majority’s elected officials are tempered through the court system.  If challenged, the courts then decide whether laws passed are within the boundaries set by the constitution.

Fast forward to today’s current hot topics and look how the concept of democracy has taken a tight grasp on many people’s thinking.

There are groups calling for the government to force religious groups to violate their convictions and provide free contraception.  On another front, there are people calling for the rich to pay an undetermined “fair share” of taxes, with talk of 99% against the 1%.  The whole concept of a 99% is ploy to stoke these democratic sentiments.

If the United States was a democracy, as some desire; these actions would have happened without any questioning of the legality. In fact, the 1% wealthy could have every penny taken legally from them if the 99% decided that was what they wanted.

This is why we have a Democratic Party and a Republican Party, and why the term “democracy” has been carefully turned into an acceptable description of our nation.  In basic, the Democratic Party theoretically is based on the belief that the will of the people is what matters, no matter what the majority supports at the moment.

It is mob rule vs. individual rights. 

 

“Democracy is the road to socialism.” – Karl Marx

Perspective on the Limbaugh Boycott Movement

Freedom of speech!

Love him or hate him:  There really isn’t any middle ground when it comes to Rush Limbaugh and his EIB Network.   So there is no reason to debate his actions, words, or show at this time.  If possible, remove him from this whole issue for a moment and remove Bill Maher and Louis CK as well.

Ask yourself if you believe in free speech.

If you believe in the 1st Amendment, then consider why you or anyone would support a boycott of a citizen exercising this precious right.  It is a dangerous slope to be on when we begin to call for economic intervention against individuals who say things that are off-color or outside the box of politically correct barriers.  In a world where we worry so much about safety, we often neglect the safety of our constitutional rights.  Consider that when we call for companies to boycott an individual or a network for language used or comments made, we are saying that the accused stepped outside the bounds of their right to free speech.

Does free speech have a limit?  Certainly, when it causes direct, indisputable physical damage to others, it can be curtailed to a degree.    Yet, with every boycott demand, the dissidents out there are saying that they believe that the word “slut” is beyond the acceptable bounds.

Is it possible that such individuals only believe in free speech when it agrees with them?  Is it even remotely possible that this freedom protects people who use inflammatory word?

Don’t misunderstand me; people are exercising their right to voice their opposition to comments as well. I support their right to call for boycotts; and I even support the right of Bill Maher to call Sarah Palin a c***.  Yet, one can use a constitutional right to inhibit others’.

Public discourse is what was intended to be protected by the founding fathers, even if in the most outrageous terms.  Why?  Without it, the walls of our freedom close in. We become silenced by the fear of repercussions of our words.  There are multiple examples throughout history of nations that limited their citizen’s freedom of speech and they all have at least one common denominator: they all had significantly less free societies than the United States has today.

Instead of using our right to free speech trying to restrict others’ speech through boycotts and advertiser complaints, let’s exercise our right to voice our opinions for and against those who speak publicly.

Unless, of course, you believe that the 1st Amendment applies only when you agree.

A Revelation

I believe all things happen for a purpose.  As I walked toward my polling place on Super Tuesday, I was approached (outside and at a legal distance) by a man, who asked for my support.   I had been vaguely familiar with the name and already had plans to vote for him.  He was Ohio state senate candidate Paul Isaacs.

I thanked him for being out there and continued on to go exercise my constitutional right. As I was leaving, I felt compelled to ask him for information about his campaign and some of his beliefs.  The conversation was continually interrupted as he would greet every voter walking towards the polling center; but through the half-sentences and pauses, I came to know a man who put his convictions and faith above other people’s opinions and the odds. This most obviously demonstrated by the fact that he was asked to run and start a campaign two months before.  As we spoke, I came to learn that Mr. Isaacs’ main reason for running was the lack of interest in the Heartbeat Bill that the current District 06 state senator has shown over the last year.   I listened to his abbreviated campaign story and saw conviction and passion that one rarely sees expressed in an individual.  I stayed that afternoon helping Mr. Isaacs hand out literature and asking voters to support him.  Between the requests, we spoke about our politics, convictions, and our faith in the Lord.  Before I knew it, the sun had gown down and the polls were about to close.  Mr. Isaacs had left a few minutes before to wrap up some loose ends before the results were announced.  Standing there alone in the dark, I found myself campaigning for someone who I’d just met.

Mr. Isaacs lost the election.  His two month old campaign garnered a little bit over 31% of the vote from OH -District 06 voters. For a campaign born not more than two months before Super Tuesday, that is nothing short of incredible, but that’s not the point.  Although we only spent three hours together, I could tell the drive Mr. Isaacs has for his beliefs cannot be stamped out by the loss of an election.  The revelation I experienced that evening was that I have a duty to be active for my beliefs or I need to sit down and be silent.  The middle ground is the easy place to be; in fact, it may be the easiest position.  What could be easier than being silent when dissidents are present and expressing  “convictions” when in friendly circles?  Nothing could be simpler than to blend in with your surroundings, avoiding confrontation with the people around you.

No more!

I cannot call myself a conservative, if I am not willing to speak it.  The biggest spark to this realization was a comment that Mr. Isaacs made to me that evening.  In a discussion around religious beliefs, he said he did not believe that people will die for something they don’t genuinely believe in.  I realized that this is a level of conviction that one must have if they truly believe in something, and it’s time to apply this all areas of life.  Young and old conservatives must live by this; or we must fade away, taking our beliefs with us.  There isn’t really any middle ground anymore; perhaps there never really was.