Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Proverbial Straw

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.

34 comments:

  1. Exactly! Thank you, Joyce! I believe that every citizen has the right to believe what they want to believe. If they happen to own a business, and you don't like what they think, then don't go there. But the level of insanity that is happening with this whole situation is just that, insane.

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  2. Hear hear. I can choose not to patronize a place of business, that is my choice, but to gain publicity for intolerance is a lack of tolerance, on of the ideas for let's get along and be a nation of individuals. I'll give my money where I choose, they can to, but Muppets are supposed to be friendly.

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  3. Oh my goodness. A very well written piece. Well said.

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  4. So well said, Joyce. I couldn't agree more with all that you have said. I think the change that must happen will have to start at the grass roots level since it is obvious it is not going to come from our leaders. Kudos to you for expressing these thoughts.

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  5. I agree with the other comments - this was very well said!

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  6. I saw a quote once that said don't judge me because my sins are different than your sins. Also heard this once...opinions are like assholes (sorry) everyone has them and they all stink! Also another good one people that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    I'm not political by any means I mainly keep my opinions to my self...basically we live in an imperfect world and it's getting worse by the day!

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  7. Well said. I wish the media would stop publicizing negative stories. Sometimes I wonder if they are polarizing the country. Too much hatred out there that doesn't need to see the light of day, in general.

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  8. Well said. Sadly, until Jesus return, this division will continue.
    Ecclesiastes 1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

    But God calls us to stand for the truth. Thank you for doing that here on you blog.

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  9. Great post Joyce. DO you mind if I put a link on my FB page? I think the more people read about this, the better. Out here in the west we don't have CHick-Fil-A so I wasn't clear on the details of the story. Now that I know, it seems to me the very people who are labeling Mr. Cathy as a bigot and intolerant, are exactly that, bigots and intolerant themselves. Oh I want to link this so bad. :)

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  10. I agree with you. Free speech is okay to some people unless they do not agree with it; in which case it must be stifled.
    I definately remember Joe McCarthy, the blacklist etc.
    I have come to despise the 24/7 news cycle. Give me the days of the 15 minute nightly newscast with John Cameron Swazie. Or just give me un-biased news REPORTING for crying out loud.

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  11. I'm giving this post a standing ovation, Joyce. You have articulated your thoughts so well, and I share your disdain for politicians who get in the face of businesses who take a moral stand. But deep down, I am convinced that Chick-Fil-A will not suffer from this publicity, but will overcome and thrive because it's right. I have gay friends and gay relatives, but I don't endorse what they do. However, I'm not afraid to say I think it's wrong because I believe scripture calls it wrong. I think the persecution Cathy is enduring says worse things about the persecutors.

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  12. So well said Joyce! I remember seeing a T shirt sometime again that said, "Everyone is entitled to their opinion as long as it's mine." It was intended to bring a chuckle and at that time it did. Now it's being played out as a very scary reality - thanks for being a voice of reason in the midst of such chaos.

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  13. Here, Here!!! I love everything you said and agree completely!!!

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  14. I always know when I visit that you will have a well written post. I agree with you. I have gay family members who I love unconditionally, I enjoy Chic fil a and the Muppets too!
    "It's not easy being green" and it's definitely not easy being gay. How would they have felt if we all stopped watching when people said Bert & Ernie were gay! (shoe on the other foot)

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  15. Perfectly said (as always). It's such a sad commentary on life these days.

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  16. I do not like Chick-fil-A sandwiches but I'll just about knock someone over for their waffle fries. The whole gay marriage thing is such a touchy subject right now- I'm sorry that anyone tries to stir that pot. The thing that scares me is when something like this fuels the fire of hate crimes. Stupidity and ignorance are still alive and well.

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  17. I'm pretty tired of all of the division and hatred, too. You put it all very nicely! :)

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  18. I think I will mirror Carrie with an AMEN! I say we all get together over chick-fil-a sandwiches and watch the new Muppet movie!

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    1. That sounds like a perfect plan. :)

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  19. very excellent post. We have lost civility in this country. There is so much anger, people are so quick to judge and hate. I don't know how we'll turn it around, either. I love the quote, don't judge someone because their sins are different than yours. I think that was on pinterest.

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  20. Nicely penned, my dear. Once upon a time... Tip O'Neal and Ronald Reagan could have a peaceful beer and get things done. Now... the politics of personal destruction... Doesn't appear that we're evolving, or at least not in a forward direction. Thank you for sharing your insites

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  21. I've been so frustrated trying to find a way to vocalize just how ridiculous this has all become and you said it so perfectly! (I think you should submit it to every newspaper and tv station in the country!)

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  22. Beautifully said, Joyce. Thank you for being bold enough to share. It's such a sad reality about the direction we are headed in our great country.

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  23. Well said my friend! I'm with Zoanna, a standing ovation for sure! I could have never gathered my thoughts enough to express them on this issue, so I'm so thrilled that you did it for a whole lot of us.

    Way to go!

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  24. I think you just wrote what so many of us feel. I know that I agree with everything that you said, but I could have never written it so well.

    Well done.

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