The following is my written expression of opinion. It is, to the extent of my ability, composed thoughtfully and respectfully. The reader’s freedom to agree, disagree, or disregard and respond accordingly is welcome and will be published, provided an equal import of thought and respect is afforded.
Debts rise. Nations sink. Olympians triumph. Droughts defeat. Wars prolong. Politicians perjure.
What then of this recent and headlining story? So much attention, distraction, energy and time focused on the words of one man and the reactions of many. Is this really our most pressing, current issue? Rather, is the order of predilection and surplus of coverage appropriate?
The first question is rhetorical, the second bears exploration and response.
Do the words spoken by any one man matter? Do they favor attention? Does the man’s occupation or public station demand exceptional scrutiny of his speech? Yes. Sometimes. Yes and no.
Opinions, beliefs and convictions are distinctively human traits. The public exercise of these, while innate, and where not suppressed entirely, is frequently used to vilify the originator. And this is often fueled via media attention and bias.
What is the core issue of this current, national feud? Is it the expressed beliefs of the head of a food chain? Is it a crusade to save or to change marriage? Is it the suppression of equal treatment of a specific group of individuals? Listen to, watch, or read major news sources and any one or all of these issues is seemingly the central focus of the event. In reality each is a distraction from the central issue, when made to displace such. These are not irrelevant questions, and we would be remiss to ignore them as acceptable query in the context of Mr. Cathy’s statements, but they have become distortions in their proportional emphasis regarding his statements and given the amount of control he maintains over the issue.
And so the core matter is none of these, but it is one which vexes humans (in general) by their will and ability, and Americans (in specific) by their right. Their First Amendment right. I’ve not performed an exhaustive search, nor do I plan to, nor should I have to in order to find a report which frames the event in this context. But I have yet to find one. Why?
From the perspective of the media, central issues are rarely sensational enough to garner a following, provide for a continual rehash of, or interest in a story. From the perspective of those participating in “eat-ins” or “kiss-ins” (each an exercise of First Amendment rights, provided they are peaceable), it’s easier to support the exercise of rights for those with whom we agree and wish to suppress that of those we oppose. Reaction to support or oppose an idea, or action is sometimes warranted and necessary. Defense of one’s right to speak, regardless of our valuation of the words spoken is always warranted and necessary. It just seems to be less in demand.