Monday, July 4, 2016

Freedom of Speech at its WORST!

On Saturday hubby and I decided to go out to our county's Arts and Heritage festival held annually around the Fourth of July. We could have driven to the park, but chose to take the community shuttle instead. As we waited in line, the old fella behind us remarked, " Trump is supposed to give a speech out there later on today." I turned around and, with my fingers stuck in my ears,  laughingly replied, "Blah, blah, blah."

We had no idea that the lady behind the old fella heard what had been said until she angrily commented, "You Democrats have no clue what you're talking about. Here we finally have a man who will change America for the better, and you bad-mouth him at every turn. You think Hillary is the answer. I better go to the end of the line before I lose my cool!" She then stepped to the back.

Looking over my shoulder I stated, "No, I don't think Hillary is the answer, but I do think she's the lesser of the two evils. Oh, and by the way, for your information, I'm a registered Republican!"

"You certainly don't sound like one," was her rebuttal.

"What's a registered Republican sound like?" I countered.

"You'd have been overjoyed to get the chance to hear Donald Trump speak, and would have told the man behind you exactly that," the now highly-aggravated left wing supporter shouted.

"To listen to more of his lies, bombastic ravings, and uninformed rhetoric, no thanks," I yelled.

"You'll be sorry if Hillary gets in. No, actually it will be your children and grandchildren who will suffer from her devastating decisions that take innocent lives without giving it a second thought. She's too busy hobnobbing with the rich and famous to care about average people trying to make a decent living, pay their taxes, and contribute to our country's well-being anyway they can."

"Really?" I questioned facetiously.

"Yes, really," was her curt response.

By this time my husband was getting a little anxious and asked me to stop. I was having so much fun though, my mouth was on auto-pilot, I couldn't control it if I'd wanted to, and I didn't want to.

"Last I heard we are still living in the United States of America, and we are blessed with freedom of speech, my dear. I don't recall inviting you into our playful conversation in the first place, so kindly butt out." was my not-so-clever finale.

Then a tiny voice piped up with, "Geez, all I was trying to do was inject a little humor while we waited for the bus to arrive," said the old fella behind me. "I had no intention of starting World War III,"

His remark touched a nerve with me. We all have the right to speak our mind, and shouldn't be chastised for our beliefs and opinions. And by all, that includes the old fella, me, the out-spoken lady,
Hillary, and yes, even The Donald. Instead of taking jabs at one another, we need to respectfully listen to what each person has to say, mull their words over carefully in our minds, and then speak with conviction and respect. There is no room for humiliation and put-downs. I realized I'd acted very badly and looked for my opponent to apologize but my opportunity vanished along with the lady in the back of the line.

Perhaps the seriousness of our little tirade really hit home with me when the old fella's last words loudly resounded in my head. Such bickering is exactly how wars get started and leave behind horrible destruction and death. From  now on, I intend to lovingly embrace my freedom of speech and use it wisely.

To the lady in the back of the line: "Please forgive my rude arrogance. I had no right to speak to you in such manner, and I am truly sorry, At my age, I certainly should know better and do better."