Thursday, September 18, 2008

Class Act?

Amendment I:
Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech....

Buckle up. I am bound to offend someone today; keep in mind that any perceived offense is not intentional. Before I begin my rant I just want it understood that I revel in my ability--my freedom--to express myself how, where, and when I want. I fully support and uphold your freedom to do the same. That freedom--that right--is one of the things that makes America the greatest country on the Earth.

{Aside: That and Twinkies. Seriously: little sponge cakes with frosting inside? Who else but an American could have made such a thing? Thank you, James Dewar.
But I digress....

That being said, I still have the right to mock you or take exception to the things you say or how you express this freedom. I can still support your ability to say the things you say, but I do not necessarily have to like them. My not liking them is not "censorship" or an abridging of that freedom. {Point of order: No-one but a governmental entity can actually infringe on someone's Constitutional rights. That is something a lot of people tend to forget.}

I open my browser this morning and what do I see?

Yahoo! tells me here that Josh Howard, a player for the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, has opened his mouth and shown just how much class he has.

Again: I respect his right to speak his mind.

I just think that he may have lost his mind. Or his class. Or his tact. You decide.

In a video posted on YouTube, Howard is shown on a football field at a charity flag football game. As the national anthem plays in the background, Howard approaches a cameran and says, "'The Star Spangled Banner' is going on right now. I don't even celebrate that (expletive). I'm black."
Excuse me?

Maybe I am naive. Maybe I have been living in a cave. But somehow, for some reason, I was under the apparently incorrect assumption that black Americans lived in the same America that I do.

At least, that's what I interpret his comments to mean: I'm black, not American. Am I wrong? Please. Tell me if I am.

What is this comment? From whence does it come and what is its basis? On one level, does this idiot realize that it is, in part, this "(expletive)" that has allowed him to make the ridiculous amounts of money he has made from playing a game for a living? In the words of a local sports talk show host from my college days: It's a game. A darn fun one, but only a game. Does he really think that he'd make anywhere near as much money playing somewhere basketball elsewhere in the world.

Send him to China. Let's see what his bankroll looks like then.

Is this just a dumb jock athlete basketball player mouthing off? Is this part of a small subculture in America that feels this way? Is it maybe due to his feeling of entitlement as a dumb jock athlete basketball player that he is somehow more than just a mere entertainer? That people care about his opinion of this country? (Again, I respect his freedom to have that opinion, remember.)

Okay. My fuse is lit: I had convinced myself that some of the furor over Rev. Jeremiah Wright's comments about America--as well as Michelle Obama's comments about America--had been overblown and overplayed by the Republicans. Now? I'm not so sure anymore.

We have a Reverend calling for the damnation of America.

We have the wife of a Senator / Presidential candidate proclaiming that she is finally proud of America.

And we have an over-rated pseudo-celebrity glandular case comparing (take your pick) the national anthem, America, and/or American traditions to "(expletive)."


Good thing the First Amendment is in place. Think about what would happen without it. Think about where these people would be without the good old American values they hold so dear contemptible.

The good Reverend would be doubly lost without the guarantee of freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Michelle Obama? Take a look around the world and see what happens to "outspoken" (I acknowledge this is not the best choice of words) women: Pakastani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto? Tibetan nun Phuntsog Nyidron? How about Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Agathe Uwilingiyimana?

Again, I could be naive, but I am pretty sure that all of these women had more than a little pride in their individual countries.

And we've already discussed just how much our little game-player could earn elsewhere in the world. Let's take it one step further: imagine playing for an Iranian National team... or the Chinese National team... or the (fill in the blank) National team. What do you think would happen if he refused to acknowledge the National Anthem of his host country? if he insulted the Anthem or his host country itself? How long would he continue to play his game?

How long before he was "disappeared"?

How much play would anything said by these three get in a country dominated by, say, the Taliban?

Anyone? Anyone?

That's what I thought.

Back to my original point--Mr. Howard, you may not like what the country stands for, you may not want to celebrate what you term: "(expletive)", and you have every right to speak your mind. Your so-called "(expletive)" gives you that right.

You may just want to recognize that the rest of us have our OWN right to speak OUR minds as well.

And like it or not, all of us red-blooded Americans who may not like our country likened to "(expletive)" by someone getting paid outrageously for a playground game? We red-blooded Americans that buy NBA tickets, merchandise, and programming?

We red-blooded Americans pay your salary, kiddo.

1 comment:

KingOfTexas said...

Why did you have to pick on twinkies? Why? Why? :)