DISCLAIMER: In this rant, I discuss Conservative politics. If you are not a Conservative, you may be deeply disturbed. I also discuss my faith from a Christian perspective. Whereas, I am sharing my opinion only, you may read something into it not intended, get offended and take your little yellow wagon and go home. That is certainly your right. I discuss being a mother. Fathers, I am not bashing you nor trying to make you feel inferior for your lack of reproductive equipment. Nor am I advocating that you poop on anything in protest so that the government will formally recognize your lack of childbearing apparatus and cover it under any mandatory health care system. If you have struggled with infertility, it is not my intent to intentionally bring you pain by mentioning my children, it’s merely part of the story I may never get to after all these disclaimers take up all my time and space allotted for this entry. If you have basic common sense, I may offend you with my obvious “well, duuuuh” statements; you have my apologies in advance. If you are a human with opinions and emotions, I am directing this toward you with apologies in advance to life on other planets that may not be human, and certainly our Artificially Intelligent (AI) friends (as in “robots” and I am sorry if that is the equivalent of the “N” word or something). The use of the term AI is not a jab at our friends who we may have ideological issues with and thus no inference is intended that you are somehow less intelligent. AI implies Intelligent Design, so there’s that to dislaim, yada, yada, yada (tm – Jerry Seinfeld). I think that covers any group I may offend with this post, but if not, let me offer you a blanket, generic disclaimer (Note: I am not singling out people who may be named Blanket, with all due apologies to any member of the Jackson family). Tax and license not included, subject to credit approval as not all will qualify (sorry to those with lower credit ratings), may cause oily discharge, and in the event this rant lasts 4 hours or more, you may need to seek medical attention (if I’ve made you feel bad because your mom (there I go with the parenting references….ack!) wanted you to go to medical school and you didn’t, I am not implying a conspiracy with her, nor am I saying, “nanny, nanny, boo boo”). If you are a nanny and/or are named Boo Boo (with apologies in advance to Honey Boo Boo and Boo-Boo Stewart)…sigh…..
Clearly, I am being intentionally clever and humorous. At least I think I am clever and humorous, but last night I was anything but. You see, this rant is derived from the fodder that is my real life.
As far as I am aware, America has this little “thingy” I like to call Free Speech. It means that, basically, I get to say pretty much whatever I want. You can agree with me (which I’d like, and could quite possibly offer you a virtual latte in solidarity….unless you do don’t like lattes….but there I go disclaiming again, and thereby digressing). So you can agree with me or not. Guess what? That is your right under this “free speech thingy.”
Though perfectly legal, it would be exceptionally bad form for me to post something on one of your social media properties, let’s say a Facebook wall, that is of a contrary nature to something I know you strenuously believe in or that is a personal attack (I don’t work for Facebook, I disclaim and absolve Facebook of anything real or imaginary….sigh). For example, I have been called a “dumb Negro” and “neo-con wh*re” on Twitter (yep, another trademark there for Twitter. Consider yourself disclaimed). However, if I post something on my very own wall, I think this “free speech thingy” gives me that right. Facebook (and okay, Facebook, this is a dig at you!) has many complex and ever-changing privacy settings, to control what you can see or don’t want see. I use them (not an endorsement of Facebook or any social network), and, thus, don’t see many things that I might find objectionable. I actually do have friends who hold other political and religious beliefs, and knew that when I chose to “friend” them (trademark, Facebook?) or grant them “friend” status. I knew I might see some things I didn’t agree with and set my privacy settings accordingly (or adjusted after the fact…like “hide this story” or “mute” on G+ (I’m not affiliated with Google….another trademark….sigh…and if you are an individual with mutism, please take that up with Google, I’m just using their term…..while hoping to finish this rant today….sigh).
Last night, my 14 year-old shared a quote attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to George Washington: “It is impossible to govern a nation without God and the Bible.” Mind you, my 14 year-old child (sorry, teenagers, my 14 year-old teen), posted this on his very own wall. Actually, it was a picture of a t-shirt with the quote on it, with the attribution to Washington. As a new Christian, and as a high-schooler interested in politics and government, he often posts things like this….along with incredibly random things…and musical bits via Spotify (trademarked…move along already!).
Not long after the quote was posted, an adult made a comment. This is the same adult that recently raked me over the coals on stuff I posted on my own wall after expressing hurt and outrage after being told once again, that as a conservative of color, I don’t exist. When I explained that, (and normally with this person, I would have just let it go after a couple of innocuous pushback comments), this person kept posting, ending with how usually I am respectful and this time I wasn’t, blah, blah, blah. I did push back and hard. I said I was marginalized and had the right to express it on my own wall, as this person often does on their own wall (along with many items I totally disagree with, and use wisdom and discretion in not responding to because of that whole “freedom of speech thingy” in their own space!).
My son wrote a very respectful comment in return, that in essence said, though it aligned with his belief system, clearly everyone has the right to choose for him- or herself*. End of story, right? Not by a long shot. Almost instantly, another comment appeared. This time, in essence, accusing a 14 year-old of making this adult a “second-class citizen.” After deleting, I immediately wrote a private message saying this was not cool by any stretch of the imagination. On and on they went about the second-class citizen issue. I countered with Black Conservatives being treated poorly and reminded this person of their recent tirade and less-than-sympathetic posts on my wall when I expressed these same sentiments. This person then took it to their own wall, as is their right to do (and, frankly, where it should have gone in the first place, not frying a 14 year old publically). The version that was posted, of course, omitted that it was a quote that a kid posted. Just that “these people” and “their beliefs” yada, yada, yada….When my husband pointed this out to the adult in question on the thread, not one person said, “Really? You went after a 14 year-old over a quote?” No, context didn’t matter, and often it doesn’t. If you want to play out your inferiority complex on the wall of a 14 year-old, well, apparently, bully for you. Literally. Bully. I have no disclaimers for bullies.
Let me say this clearly: As an American (who, by the way, had ancestors who fought in the war for our independence), I have the right to free speech, so does my teen…and so do you! And, though my views may clash with yours, I still have the right to say them. I have the right to get in your face about it, and burn a flag, my bra or any number of stupid things to get my point across. I usually try to be humorous (as with this offering today), and I try to soften things and part on good terms. But, that isn’t always possible. I am a Christian first, and whereas I try to adhere to Romans 12:18 and “be at peace with all men” (that means “mankind,” feminists!), I also “am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”
This was a week in history when a political party tried to take God out of their platform. Newsflash: He’s on record as not being a party to most of your platform, but I digress. Thus, clearly, many people had feelings about that (again, apologies to our AI friends who may not have feelings, and if you are a really advanced AI and you do, double apologies)!
Bottom line: I live my faith out loud. I try to be respectful, but at the same time, I am not going to soft soap everything with blanket apologies (there I go again with Blanket!). Put the Big People Panties on and realize we are many, thus our opinions are going to be varied. Live your own beliefs out loud. But if I choose, in my own space, to state something clearly not meant as a direct attack on you, and you see it as such, maybe question yourself first, before lashing out….or just click “delete,” “ignore” or “hide.”
Is this what our society has become? That in order to engage in civil discourse, one must disclaim everything? Or — cover your dead ears and eyes, Jane Austen — have we become a society steeped in incivility? In dear Jane’s time, after the evening meal, the men withdrew to one room, to discuss topics “not fitting” for ladies to participate in (probably including religion and politics!), while the women separated to their own area (discussing some of the same stuff without “manly interference” and young girls learned about childbirth and all sorts of juicy stuff!). I’ve tried to re-create my beloved Jane’s time, by co-founding African-American Conservatives. A “drawing room,” if you will, for people of like mind to gather privately and discuss issues of concern to us. But the space is often crashed by others insistent upon inserting themselves into conversations not intended for them, and being offended that it’s not intended for them, and offended that, get this, it’s contrary to what they believe when…uh….it’s clearly stated in big bold letters at the top of our Facebook page.
My personal space is much that way, too. If I have invited you, I intend to be a gracious hostess. But, it is my home, and you will see glimpses of my personal life. I’m not going to disclaim my life. And if that’s what you need from me, clearly, you were never truly my friend.
DISCLAIMER: If you know me in real life or from our many discussions online, feel free to find me online and “circle” “follow” or “like” me. Warning: Religion and politics will be discussed…and tread lightly around my kids, as I do go from zero to full bore “Mama Grizzly” in about a second flat!
* They, their and other plural forms incorrectly used per grammar rules to mask the gender of said individual