My rights are more important than yours

As a 60 year old white man, I have come to several conclusions living in America. Where we are supposed to have equal rights, what that really means is “my rights are more important than yours.” The examples are many and seem to be more at the forefront in a spin-doctored to disinformation news cycle. The other thing I have learned is democracy is hard work – you have to work at it to keep it flourishing. That is why it so easy to harm it.

One of the best examples can be gleaned from the letters to the editors in the newspapers or the comments on various blogs. The comments/ letters I am speaking of occur when a celebrity, athlete or entity espouses a political opinion that differs from yours. The comment ranges from they should stick to their art or sport and not use their popularity as a platform to espouse political views. Or, it might read, I want to watch a ball game and not be told what I must do politically.

It is OK for these people to wear eight corporate sponsor logos to sell you things, but they should not tell you what they believe. Yet, what is not being said, is it is OK for me to use my platforms or read that of others because they agree with my belief construct. In other words, my right to espouse an opinion supersedes yours. So, how dare Colin Kaepernick kneel during the national anthem or Megan Rapinoe say what she thinks. That is unpatriotic. Call me crazy, but siding with a Russian president’s opinions over that of your own intelligence people sounds pretty unpatriotic to me.

Another good example is the Religious rights activity. These laws grant the right to discriminate because it violates a religious belief. The subtlety of this being different from protecting one’s rights against discrimination is not heeded. But, it also causes a very slippery slope of the same folks being discriminated against by other religions or groups. This could be a LGBT owner not selling to someone with hate speech on their T-shirt, a Muslim owner not selling to an evangelical as they do not like their extremist views, a Jewish owner not selling to non-Kosher buyers.

Back in the late 1960s, three black athletes – Jim Brown, the star NFL running back and actor, Bill Russell, the star NBA basketball player and Muhammad Ali all spoke out against poverty and oppression of opportunity of black Americans. They did so knowingly and convincingly. What disappoints many is that Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods do not use their popularity to speak out against similar issues that still fester.To their credit, Lebron James and Stephen Curry are speaking out. Kaepernick actually hurt his career in so doing.

It is more than OK for people to speak out. That is the way it works. I recall when the US invaded Iraq, the country singing group The Dixie Chicks were vilified for speaking out against this. They were hailed unpatriotic by people supporting the Bush administration. Yet, history proved them right to question such a move. What is more unpatriotic – invading a country under false pretenses where over 4,000 American and additional numbers of allied soldiers die or speaking out against such an invasion?

Call me crazy, but if we are going to send Americans and our allies to die, we better have done our homework and exhausted all other options. It should be informational that a UK report found Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush at fault for not being forthcoming to the British people. As Forrest Gump would say, “That is all I am going to say about that.”


11 thoughts on “My rights are more important than yours

  1. And you said it so well, my friend. Civil rights/human rights … they ought not be dependent on skin colour, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, or any of the other things people seem to find fault with. Why we cannot learn to just accept people as they are will always be a puzzle to me. As I’ve always believed, one person’s rights stop when they infringe on another’s. But, in today’s world that seems not to be understood.

  2. Human rights are the rights of ALL humans to be treated with respect. The only proviso is that we also acknowledge the rights of all others. Rights do imply responsibilities. And while you mention famous athletes who spoke out, don’t forget Jim Brown, Billy Jean King, and especially Arthur Ashe!

    • Hugh, many thanks. In addition to Jill’s banner, I love “Rights imply responsibilities.” I should have mentioned Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe. The former not only advocated, she acted and she was ridiculed by men’s tennis leadership, especially Jack Kramer. Ashe acted as well, but did so with less fanfare, but equally effective words and voting with his feet to protest. Both are great Americans. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: A good book on this subject is called “The New Jim Crow,” it highlights a much higher incarceration rate for African-Americans for drug crime rate is as prevalent in white communities. The reasons are money and color. There is a bias against blacks to convict, but whites also have greater access to legal counsel. Rights are less available to those without money and with darker skin pigment. Keith

    • Thanks Erika. It is universal in democracies. Another truism is when people review their work performance, almost everyone rates themselves better than average, but that cannot be true can it? We have a hard time walking in other people’s shoes. Keith

      • I agree. In general it is difficult to rate since all rates are subjective basically. We may do really good jobs but even then it is because we feel the need about those things we do but not everybody has the same needs and priorities and here we go again… That is what we all need to learn: There is maybe no better or worse but a different. And there will always be someone who needs exactly that… but not everyone.
        Sorry, I may have digressed here but this is really a very inspiring topic, Keith.

  4. Pingback: Daily Kind Quote – Share Your Light

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