Tuesday was an enormous exercise in self-restraint. The hotly contested presidential election came to pass and at the end of the day, Barack Obama was still holding the keys to the castle. I have my own problems with Obama’s policies. I’m very moderate in my politics, or at least I like to think I am. I approve of his destruction of the DADT initiative and it is because of “Obamacare” that I have had health insurance for this past year while I was technically unemployed. I know I write these books but I’m not exactly James Patterson. I don’t have a deal with any publishers so money coming in was a trickle at best. I certainly didn’t have any sort of medical benefits due to my work. I was able to get an extra year on my family’s insurance because of it, though. I am supremely thankful for that. That said, I disapprove of his endorsement of drone strikes and think he hasn’t been as effective as his boldness in campaigning hinted he would be. I do not think he is trying to turn the country into a communist state. I don’t think there is any conspiracy regarding his birth. I don’t think he’s a Muslim, nor would I care if he was. The reasons I had for considering voting for a new president were borne out of evaluations of what he has done versus what he has done. When Mitt Romney emerged as his competitor, I knew that Obama was the better choice. I do not like Mitt Romney or ANY of the things he stands for. The fact that he is such a waffling flip-flopper with no true sense of political identity makes that a frightening issue. What does Mitt Romney stand for? Who knows? It all depends on who he is trying to please at that given moment. I have no respect for Mitt Romney.
What am I trying to get at here, you may ask. The election has come and gone and there’s no reason to pontificate now. What I want to talk about isn’t the election. It is the aftermath. In the wake of the election I have seen things typed and heard things said that make my fucking blood boil. Here’s the deal America. You are free to say whatever you want. Freedom of speech. It is a thing, as those of you who I have confronted about the downright nasty things you have said are ever willing to point out. What I want to point out to you is this; freedom of speech does not mean you are immune to criticism for the things you say. If I hear you say “That damn nigger Muslim stole our country” (Which I did hear. I live in Texas.), I have the right to inform you that you are a hateful, ignorant bigot who lacks the development of reasoning necessary to vote in the first place. I can say you are a danger to our country and tell you that you should go penetrate your own rectal cavity with a saguaro cactus. That, my friends, is free speech as well. I have suffered through arguments to no end in the last few days that have ended with “you have to respect my opinion.”
No I don’t.
You have the right to have your opinion but I do not in any way have to “respect” it. The opinion does not require respect, merely acknowledgement of its existence and the right thereof. I do not have to take you seriously or sit there and allow you to continue making a fool of yourself. I cannot physically stop you from saying it, though sometimes I might wish I could, but I can rebuff you every bit as much as you can spew your ignorance. I’m not some dirty liberal trying to silence a persecuted minority as some of my more far-right leaning Christian fundamentalist acquaintances have accused me of. I swing conservative on more issues than you imagine, and those issues are private and I don’t want to start another argument. All I am saying is that I am tired of letting ignorance go unpunished. If you want to say something stupid, please know that I and others like me, will be more than willing and able and within our right to let you know.
This is what free speech is, people. Don’t ever forget it.