Enough with the madness — oh did I offend you?

By Dwight Collins | Jul 09, 2015

Camden — So there seems to be a lot of people that are just offended... period. Mostly, it's people who when the truth comes out are just offended by someone being offended. See where I am going with this?

Toxicity runs in circles and from my observations a lot of people are doing an outstanding job fueling with toxic emotions. We get mad and speak our peace and wonder why we get angry responses, which if you take a minute and think about it, the majority of the time the message is lost in the delivery.

I enjoy a good debate. When two or more individuals can have an educated discussion on a topic without offending each other, it is how you get heard. It is a proven fact when people are being attacked verbally they tend to shut down, ignoring every word, so at this point the argument is futile and is just a waste of breath.

The big thing in the news these days is the flying of flags. First, it was the Confederate flag, the symbol of the south during a time that pit families against families in a battle for rights. For my generation, it is a symbol of Bo and Luke Duke and just simple southern living. Am I offended by that flag? No, not particularly. I also am not offended that it offends someone else. Some people allow themselves to get passionate about the wrong thing. I'm more offended by a personal attack about parenting skills or who others think I am, than I am about an American's right to fly a flag.

I asked my son the other day what the “rebel flag” meant to him and he said, “It's a redneck thing.” After thinking about it for a bit, I realized that symbols — although thought to be universal, can mean something different to others. If I was to ask a history teacher, I might get the long, drawn-out explanation about why the southern states seceded from the Union and how it stands for hate. I feel it stands as a reminder of the sacrifices people are willing to make to stand up for what they believe.

There are flags I find offensive in the sense that they trigger an emotion in me The Nazi flag triggers sadness and the realization that millions died because a very crazy man was very charismatic and that is a combination just screaming for a bad, bad ending. The Confederate flag is different, I fought for the right for people to be able to fly their own flag, even if I don't agree for what the flag stands for.

I see a rainbow flag, it doesn't drive me into some moronic diatribe that paints me as a “hater," rather it proves to me the sacrifices people have made in the pursuit of freedom have not gone to waste. One love is cool with me, it doesn't affect my personal or professional life and I have far too many other things to worry about then same sex marriage and if my flag offends you. Get a grip people.

In the push to be politically correct and not to offend others is honestly a huge waste of time because free will and human nature will trump it every time. Don't believe me? Check out your news feed on Facebook, last month looked like an explosion at a southern Skittles factory, and for what?

Hate and discontent breeds hate and discontent. Although I believe people have a right to feel the way they feel, they really don't have the right to tell anyone else they are wrong.

What offends me is people being offended, but not having ability to accept that people are just wired different and do not have the same morals as someone else. Say what you need to say, but if someone disagrees and their argument has fact, you have no right to attack them over their beliefs.

The Freedom of Speech does not mean you can say whatever you want, like screaming "fire" in a crowded theater, if it is going to cause mass hysteria and lead to the injury of others. In that case, you are guilty of inciting a riot, not excising your freedom of speech.

Removing the Duke boys from reruns may make a small population feel better about what happened more than 130 years ago. If I fly a state flag and a tourist from Massachusetts drives by and tells me the Maine flag offends them, you can bet I will try to understand why and most likely dismiss it as an opinion of someone who is just a sad, angry person who lives to complain about just about everything.

An atheist friend is offended by my thought on religion, which I can't understand because I am not offended by her lack of faith. Ignorance and tolerance sound kind of the same, but are very different. It is considered being ignorant of the facts. Tolerance has no distinction, right or wrong, red, white and blue, Confederate flag, religion, politics and even pop culture are not the problem.

Not all, but a large population of America have this unearned feeling of entitlement, which I believe is in an extremely missed place. This is not a question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, but rather in either case, we have chickens and eggs. Enough of the softening of America to the point it has no backbone. I am a lover not a fighter, but I also have no problem telling people it's time for a reality check when need be. I will never tell anyone what they believe to be true is stupid or has no basis. I will however, probably not keep that person as part of everyday life, because honestly, I have no time for that.

So the next time you find yourself irritated by something someone does or says, remind yourself that not everyone's oars go as deep as others and sometime what might be offensive to a few means something totally different to someone else.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Amy Files | Jul 13, 2015 18:05

It seems that Mr Collins began to make a connection but then failed to continue along that path in order to explain the real connection between the Nazi flag and the Confederate. They were both flown in the name of racism and hate -- a desire by white men to create an all white (and "pure") society.

The Confederate flag being only a symbol of the Dukes of Hazard to some people is simply because those people have not been educated on the seriousness of its history outside of the tv world.

Saying that that is okay to fly the Confederate flag because your only connection to it is the Dukes of Hazard would be similar to saying it's okay for people to fly the Nazi flag because they don't think it means anything bad and just think the symbol looks cool. Their ignorance of its history and meaning should not be an excuse for offending people who have been affected by its true meaning — whether that's jewish people who lost family members in the Holocaust or black people who are still today dealing with the affects of our country's past treatment of them. Those people have a real reason to be offended and I am going to guess that Mr. Collins is neither Jewish or black.


Posted by: Janet S Eugley | Jul 09, 2015 18:58

Mr. Collins, bravo ! I strive to respect other views as long as my views in return are respected. I'm afraid in this country the minute you disagree with someone you obtain a label. Your letter is one of the best I've ever read. Thank you.

Ralph Eugley

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