To use a term straight from the ’60s, Americans have been arguing with “The Man” almost since there has been a USA. There have been many, but a few come to mind. From 1920 to 1933, we had prohibition. Our government banned production and the sale of alcohol. History is very plain on how that turned out. Long story short, it did not last.
In 1968, there was a federal law passed that required all vehicles (except busses) to have seat belts in them. As time passed, one state at a time, we now have laws that require all passengers to wear them. We all remember how maybe it made us more safe, but we did not like being told we had to wear them. It was a major discussion for several years most anywhere you went. Many spoke out against it, but so far this one appears it will stay in place.
A little closer to current times in 2005 is when the no smoking ban in certain public areas started. Now, it may be a selfish way to look at it, but me not being a smoker, this one was fine with me. Some 15 years later, and still with many smokers in the country, this law still stands strong as well.
There are so many things we have today that are worth fighting for in order to make a change of some kind for the betterment of all. As I have said in the past that I am more of the guy with the questions than the guy with the answers. But, is everything worth a fight? Most anyone not living in a cave can plainly see that there are a lot of angry folks right now.
So, I must ask, is all the anger justified. Just because we can, should we always exercise free speech?
Now, I am not saying there are not many things in our country that are not right and need fixed in some way or another. My question is why are so many of us ready to fight all the time?
One of my favorite quotes is from one of our more modern-day high-level thinkers. “As long as you say with all due respect, you can say whatever you want,” is what Rocky Bobby says to ther owner of his car in “Talladega Nights,” just before he makes a bold harsh statement to him. All the while he’s thinking “all due respect” will make it OK to say something almost hateful.
Isn’t that about what we have now? Is it OK to say or act however you want, regardless of what effects it may have on the person you are speaking to?
Today we have those that say the virus is a hoax and just a made-up thing to trash our thriving economy — that all the doctors and medical professionals are wrong and are lying to us. I am not sure how they explain the confirmed deaths, but that is another question I do not have an answer for.
We have one side that says they will never wear a mask. The other side says we should all be wearing masks to end the virus in a timely manner.
We also have a side that says schools should all start on time and as usual, while others are saying there should be new programs and a new structure in place.
My thoughts are that we trust the folks much smarter than most of us that have the knowledge, experience, and the elected officials to make the right choices. I would in no way want that burden of making the choices, but I will honor whatever else comes my way.
My question is this — just because we can stand up and speak out with hatred and anger about all the issues we now face, should we? Or should we stand back and see how it all plays out?
I was told many years ago that God gave us two ears and only one mouth for a very good reason. It was so we could listen twice as much as we speak.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.