Back in “the day,” Burger King had a promotional jingle that said, “Have it YOUR way, have it your way at Burger King!” I have been thinking about that jingle a lot these days. It came to mind when Sarah Sanders-Huckabee was refused service at a restaurant. Since that day, I have had many conversations with friends, in-person and on social media. It seems that some have, for over a year, been posting generous support for the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. The argument goes something like this, “It is my business. I have a freedom of religion. I object to your beliefs. Therefore, I should not have to serve you.” Those same people are now aghast that Ms. Sanders would be refused service.
Today, over 18 months since Mr. Trump became our president, people are complaining about how poorly he is being treated and demanding that the office of president should always receive respect. The irony is that these comments are from the same people who, for eight years, said (and still say) terribly hateful things about our former president.
Here is my point. To rebut the Burger King promo, when it comes to global issues, YOU CAN’T HAVE IT YOUR WAY! If someone criticized Mr. Obama, he/she should not be surprised when others criticize Mr. Trump. If the office of president demands respect, then that respect should have been granted across the board.
The Supreme Court has recently ruled that the baker I spoke of earlier had the right to refuse service to a gay couple. How is that different from a restauranteur refusing service to a political figure on the grounds of differing religious beliefs? How is that different from a Muslim business owner refusing service to a Jew or a Catholic? Folks, it is a very slippery slope! Our country has the separation of church and state for a good reason! I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to live in a theocracy!
I just had a long social media conversation, which quickly descended into bullying through blatant assumptions, accusations, political finger-pointing, and name calling. The irony is that the original post was a statement against bullying which was promoting civility and kindness. What is happening to our nation?
Our own president has urged people to punch others with no repercussions or retribution. Representative Maxine Waters has retaliated by urging people to physically “push back” against members of Mr. Trump’s administration. You can’t have it your way! If a Trump supporter punches another person, that supporter should be arrested for assault, and the president should not be condoning that type of violence. Our representatives should be working toward peaceful resolutions. If demonstrators “push back” and become disorderly or violent, they should plan to go to jail (as many did during the political demonstrations of the 1960s). As American citizens, we have the right to PEACEFUL assembly. We have the blessing of freedom of speech, but it comes with a responsibility. That freedom does not allow anyone to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theatre. The fact that our leaders are advocating and promoting physical violence is not acceptable! Do we want to put our families through another Civil War?
It is time to stop standing on the outer edges of the continuum of ideologies. We ALL need give a little and work toward understanding and empathy. We can disagree without name-calling and physical altercation. I have had many highly charged, yet rational discussions, with people of differing opinions. Those discussions are possible! It takes primarily the willingness to see yourself in the other person. It also takes patience, civility, listening skills, and self-control, items in short supply these days. I assure you, we are more alike than we are different.
Civil/rational discourse is ALWAYS welcome! It challenges our own in-grained thoughts and beliefs, and propels us toward a wider perspective. I get it, that type of discussion demands reading, study, and thought. That all takes time. Media-spin and blatant lies are so prevalent that it can take hours of research to get to the bottom of a particular issue. Social media memes, tweets, and sound bites never fathom that depth. It is much easier to watch 60 seconds on the nightly news than to read a six page in-depth article. Yet how much time do you spend each day posting, tweeting, and forwarding without first thinking critically. I find that I am spending more and more time searching to find the one grain of truth on the vast beach of hyperbole and fear mongering. It is not easy, but it is worth it.
The reality is that most national and global situations are so complex that, even after several hours of research, there are no easy solutions that can be condensed into a meme or tweet. The best explanations I have read regarding any recent news development have been several pages long! I’ve also had many lengthy philosophical conversations about current events that have ended in agreeing to disagree, because there were no clear cut solutions. When you honestly work toward courageous compromise, everyone wins some and everyone loses some. I guess that is the only way you can have it BOTH ways!