Thursday 15 January 2015
A Snapshot of Society & Our Freedoms
I tend bar and kitchen at a small bowling alley a few nights a week. I've personally never bowled, but it seems that bowling is a sport for all. When you break it all down, the method is quite antiquated eh? I mean, all you need are some balls and some pins and a long lane, right?
Something happened last night that gave me pause to say, "hmmm".
Forgive me for the labels as I attempt to hit some comedy. I believe my alley has about 20 lanes and last night a little over half were in use:
*We had a sober family of non-drinkers at the far end who sadly, never even glanced my way.
*We had a Chaplin-like man in his late prime, dressed with a pink button-down, purple suspenders, and a matching hat who was giving us all some lessons.
*We had some romance going on about mid way with a beautiful white girl adoringly sitting on her hot black bf's lap and giggling at their scores.
*We had a four-some of Asian youths who also didn't drink, but hit the vending machines up front.
*We had one young couple doin' doubles o' rum between strikes.
*We had the clerk from the front, struttin' her stuff as she checked on my change.
*We had the pin-chasing repair guy, an old hippy with hair still down to his waste, relentlessly fixing.
*We had the cleaning guy aka the Hip Hop artist puttering around cleaning.
All-in-all .... it was a diversified group, possibly even an average snapshot of humanity.
So the thing that made me go hmmmm was this next guy who was standing reading my sadly minimal food menu who asked me this:
"Are your hot dogs made with pork or beef?".
Under my breath, I said "they're made of lips 'n assholes my friend" as I walked to the fridge to check. Beef it was, so I made this fellow citizen his meal.
Soon after I had the chance, as I often do, to sit back and just survey the room, using my smart serve knowledge to ensure all was well, when something occurred to me. Right now, much of the world is debating free speech. Many of us say we have a right to say whatever we want, regardless of the offense it may cause. Words like "freedom" and "constitutional rights" are thrown around the internet daily now. But I ask you this:
Did any one of us, in that snapshot of humanity from last night, feel the need or the right to diss this guy for choosing beef not pork? For choosing Islam not Christianity?
None of us did, as we were all enjoying life! And if anyone had felt the need .... the need that we argue is a RIGHT ... would it have been appropriate?
Then why is it okay if you're strangers? If you live in different countries?
Why is it ok if the people you are targeting belong to a nameless, faceless group?
I have a Muslim friend named Mariam, who is one of the most kind-hearted people I know. I have thought of her often throughout these recent days. This right to offend undoubtedly hurts her core beliefs and in turn I feel sad for her and her life-loving family.
I just find it choking that you have the right to religious freedom~and I have the right to mock, disrespect, minimize, marginalize, and otherwise make fun of that choice and right.
Tell me again how this isn't simply BULLYING?
Perhaps someday soon, we'll have freedom of speech be a right you have .... but only for 18 and over.
If you're younger than that, it's just bullying.
Civil coexistence continues to suffer and crumble. Do we really have the RIGHT to sit back and let that happen?