Saturday, November 21, 2009

This land was made for you and me

I've been both busy and not feeling well over the last few days, so blogging hasn't really been a priority for me.  While I haven't been writing, I have been reading a lot of blogs but commenting, like blogging, has been less of a priority than just reading what others have had to say.  On that count, while making the rounds, I read something that really upset me.  I don't want to address everything this person said, because I feel like this person was always more capable of upsetting me than anyone else might, and we have very different opinions and debating the issue would just upset me more and get nowhere.  However, there is something I want to say because it's been bothering me and I need to get it off my chest.  Please, understand that I'm not interested in debating politics (another reason I'm not discussing the other person's opinions), but the point I'm about to make is one I stand firmly upon and when I say "you" or "me" I mean everyone, including myself.

It is never okay to tell another person that they should leave their own country just because they have a different opinion or political persuasion than you do.

Yes, that one sentence gets to be its own paragraph.  Calling someone less patriotic than you are, or "inviting" them to go find another country to live in, because they may be more liberal or more conservative than you are is degrading and should cross the line of what is and is not appropriate to a debate on political matters.  We live in a country where everyone has the first amendment right to exercise free speech and freedom of religion.  They should be able to do so, on both counts, without fear that someone who doesn't agree with them will ostracize them, or worse yet, "invite" them to exile, or worse even still, commit an act of violence against them.

Every single American should have the right to their opinion, so long as their opinion does not injure someone else, it's called liberty.  When it does injure someone else, it becomes license and should not be tolerated, as license treads upon the fabric of liberty.  Trying to silence those with different opinions, in telling them to leave their own country, is inexcusable and should never happen.  We are all responsible for what we say, and what we do (a lesson I've learned in technicolor recently) and that responsibility extends to knowing what is and is not appropriate to say in the interest of winning an argument or making a point.  Just like with any argument, it is possible to cross the line.

Restraint should come into the picture somewhere, as without it, freedom of speech means nothing.  If we abuse our rights, then they mean less. Every single American should have the right to say what they think, or believe, without fear of retribution but should also understand that every other American has the same exact right.  We should all be able to have an opinion on our government without being told our opinions are inferior and that we should leave. 

This country belongs to every single citizen living in it.

It even belongs to those citizens with a different opinion than you have. I acknowledge that the person whose opinion offended me has a right to it.  Likewise, that person, and people like them, should have the same understanding that if my opinions are different I'm still entitled to them as an American.  I would never suggest that they move to another country because I don't believe the same thing they do, and they should likewise not infer the same about me.  It is when they do, when they tell others who disagree with them that they should go somewhere else, that they have committed license against that person's freedoms and liberties.

No person has the right to make fellow countrymen feel inferior for thinking.