Monday, May 22, 2017

You Can't Have It Both Ways



The ongoing internet kerfuffle over the Notre Dame Commencement Walkout is starting to piss me off, so let's sit down and have a little talk. (American Right, I'm talking to you.)

First, I loved this. This is exactly how free speech is supposed to work and given the rough year the idea of free speech has been having on American campuses it was an almighty relief to see Notre Dame doing it right. They didn't boo. They didn't throw things. They didn't shout Pence down. They quietly, politely filed out of the commencement to protest Pence and his Administration's shitty policies. Good for them. This is exactly how free speech is supposed to work.

Second, you can't have it both ways.  You can't complain that college kids are too precious and sheltered to hear opposing points of view when they shut down or dis-invite speakers and then get all up and arms about it when they exercise the first amendment rights you always yell about by walking out in a peaceful, non-disruptive way. They have an absolute right to walk out. You have an equally absolute right to disagree with their reasons for doing so, but they can't be snowflakes all the time. Take a deep breath, acknowledge that there might be legitimate reasons to oppose the Trump Administration and not just the ones you see on the 'Fake News Channels' and relax. They were exercising their First Amendment rights and doing so in a peaceful, non-destructive way. It was beautiful. It was America at it's best in a year where we haven't had that many good moments. Oh and, by the way: This is exactly how free speech is supposed to work.

Third, we've got to stop yelling so much at each other. Our civil discourse is devolving into not just 'beat the other guy' but 'beat him senseless, with a shovel and then a spoon and then behead him and then poison him and then drown him and then decapitate him until we're sure that the body has stopped twitching' and it's only getting worse with every passing year. Just because someone didn't vote the same way you did, doesn't mean they're an asshole. (It might- but not necessarily.) While politics is always going to be about 'beating the other guy' to a certain degree, it seems to me there was a time when it was about 'getting shit done' too. Problem is that we're Rasputinizing our politics. And not in a fun, disco way either.

I don't think I've ever really said this before- as I still have a certain amount of hatred in my heart for Notre Dame shitting the bed the way they did against Alabama in the title game a few years back- but good for Notre Dame. If I was a rich ass alumnus, I'd be more than happy to cut a check.

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