Is it just me or does anyone else feel like the level of hate, division, and vitriol in America is rising at an alarming rate? Maybe it just feels that way because we are force fed the 'news' 24/7 and the average Joe has a place to weigh in via the many social media outlets. Lately America feels like a pot boiling furiously under a barely contained lid and any minute now it's going to boil over leaving a stain than can never be wiped clean.
I try to keep quiet when it comes to matters of politics, but I have grown weary of words tossed carelessly into the wind. Weary of implied sin or wrongdoing. Weary of jokes that aren't really jokes. The dialogue in America has turned into something I'm not even sure can be labeled as dialogue anymore.
As you've no doubt heard, The Henson Company (Muppets) is ending its partnership with Chick-fil-A over CEO Dan Cathy's interview statement regarding his definition of marriage (one man, one woman). Naturally others are quick to jump on the bandwagon and the mayor of Boston has said because of Mr. Cathy's 'bigotry', he'll make it hard for Chick-fil-a to acquire the necessary licenses to do business there.
Bigotry? If you don't support same sex marriage now you're a bigot?
What in the world is happening to our country?
I'm not debating the issue of same sex marriage here. I'm calling into question a person's right to hold an opinion on that subject and a myriad of other hot topics, and not be penalized, ostracized, or worst of all labeled intolerant, for holding said opinion. This is about far more than Mr. Cathy's view of same sex marriage.
I watched an online news clip where the reporter prefaced Cathy's remarks as 'controversial'. Really? Who was made dictator and given the job of labeling which viewpoints are controversial and which ones are not? It may not be her viewpoint, but America is somewhat split on this topic so controversial isn't the word I'd choose.
For the record I have many gay friends whom I dearly love. I'm also a fan of the Muppets and think a Chick-fil-A sandwich with extra pickle is one of life's little pleasures. God bless America!
The Hensons can do business (or not) with anyone they please, but let's not call names and attempt to start a public boycott. Mr. Boston mayor I'm talking to you and the Chicago politicians who are now spewing something similar. In fact the mayor of Chicago has said he will support an Alderman's recommendation they ban Chick-fil-A from opening a second store in Logan Square. Alderman Moreno has said 'Because of this man's ignorance, I will now block Chick-fil-A's request to open a restaurant in the First Ward."
Okay Mr. Alderman...so I guess you're going to make your way round to all the other folks doing business in the First Ward to be sure they toe the line, your line? Best make certain they don't hold any 'radical' views either.
The word discriminatory was also thrown in for good measure.
Nothing like taking the ball and running with it, right?
Anyone remember Joe McCarthy?
We have lost the plot.
It seems we are no longer a nation capable of rational thinking.
If you aren't left you must be right. Far far left or far far right.
There is no middle ground.
Actually there is middle ground, it's just that we've stopped looking for it. Instead we sprint like track stars to the far side of the pavement. Everyone belongs in a clearly defined slot. If you say you're a Conservative then you must believe abc. If you say you're a Liberal then you must believe xyz. Us. Them. The derogatory 'they'. The pronouns exhaust me.
I'm quite certain Ms. Henson and her company do business every day with folks who differ with her viewpoint on any number of issues. I'm sure I disagree with some of her positions but hey, that doesn't mean I can't still like the Muppets and, as an American wanting the economy to turn around, wish her company and Chick-fil-A both much success.
I think what's happening in this instance is frightening. The wonderful notion that everyone can be who they are, part of the fabric of America for eons, is disintegrating right before our eyes. Not only are we allowing it, we're helping it. What we have today is the less than wonderful notion that everyone can be who they are unless....unless your views are not in line with my views. Then we need to find you out, punish you, and do our best to besmirch your name and run you out of business.
Dear Henson Corporation, Boston Mayor, Chicago politicians, Hollywood, and America,
I'm quite certain there are currently many business owners in fair cities all across this great nation who hold opinions on any number of issues that differ from your own. Do we now start surveying the guy we buy our gas from or the produce man or our hair stylist before we patronize a business? How about their stand on abortion, illegal immigration, and legalizing marijuana? What does Mr. Cathy's viewpoint and personal opinion on same sex marriage, or anything else for that matter, have to do with the price of a chicken sandwich?
If we want to get back to a place where Americans can agree to disagree then I think it has to begin at the grass roots level. Let's start with Facebook. Let's stop posting links, posters, and cartoons that take words and twist them in order to imply something other than what the speaker intended. Let's just not go there.
It's so easy to go there.
To get a laugh, make a point, plant a seed of doubt in someone's mind.
Let's just not.
America takes one step closer to the edge of the cliff every day.
Let's dig in our heels and quit with the sweeping generalizations.
Put the breaks on hate.
Let's step away from the edge.