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Friday, April 28, 2017

Do Not Dare to Think Wrong

Do Not Dare to Think Wrong
a cranky opinion for
CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY
The following is the opinion of a cranky old man.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but please, be nice.  There is no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid-head.
There was a time in our history, the 1950’s, where speech was not protected.  I know little of this time except what I read from many of the oppressed.  It was a time of “Red fear.”  A time where anyone who expressed an opinion other than that of the mainstream-thought-police was labeled a communist.
Anyone in those dark ages who dared think out loud of the possibility of a world where wealth was shared in any way were subject to incarceration at the worst, cold shoulder shunning at best.  Talented people, especially and famously those in the entertainment industry, were blackballed; they could not find work, they could not be hired.  If someone even pointed a finger and claimed you didn’t think correctly, you were ostracized.
Those were scary times.  Times of McCarthyism, times of fear to express an opinion.  It was a time of shame for our country.
Is it so different today?  I will no longer express my political opinion out of fear.  Fear of violence on my person or property.  Fear of being ostracized by neighbors, friends or even family.  Mere mention of a political preference in the wrong place is dangerous.  I have experienced it and it is not nice.  College students are failed for thinking the “wrong way.”  The hate is palpable.  Love trumps hate, it also beats the shit out of people who dare to disagree.
I was never one for bumper stickers or signs on the front lawn, but this last election I saw almost none of these old election standbys.  This last election, people were in fear of expressing a presidential preference.  A bumper sticker for the wrong person on the wrong street might end up in a slashed tire or a broken windshield.  A political sign on a lawn could result in an egg bombed home or worse.  I’ve never before experienced such hate, such fear to express an opinion.  I don't mind if you attack a thought or an idea, but these days people are attacked, not the thought or idea.
Last year my daughter gave me a hat representing a political candidate.  I would not even think of wearing it in public.  Wearing this hat would be asking to have the crap beat out of you for daring to “think wrong.”
 
This hat resides on the mantle in my basement next to other hats representing my favorite sports teams.  When we have visitors, I put this hat under another, in order to avoid any potential animosity or repercussions it may engender. 
It is silly isn’t it.  I am almost ashamed of myself.  I hide a hat for fear of the reaction it may provoke.  I am actually afraid that friends, even relatives will no longer associate with me if I dare to “think wrong.”
The days of “Red Fear” in the ‘50’s were scary and were wrong.  This country is supposed to be the one place where you are guaranteed the right to “think wrong” without retribution.  I’m not so sure that is true today, so I remain silent.
My silence does not mean I agree with the “correct” thinkers.
The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

23 comments:

  1. I think a lot of us feel this way. You would think people could act more grown-up, but it is what it is - uncomfortable!

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  2. Wow! Powerful post. I speak my mind behind the relative anonymity of my blog or Facebook, but stop short of public signs or bumper stickers. Can we come back from this malaise as we did after McCarthy was swatted down, or is this irreversible? Our polarization seems to be more entrenched than ever. This could get seriously ugly.

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  3. We lived on a corner lot of a major street when we lived in Billings Montana years ago. Politicians and whatnot would always approach us if they could put a sign up on our lawn. Our usual answer was "no". At that time (and now it would be different) I didn't worry about repercussions. I just didn't know a lot of the platforms people were running on and I didn't think it was fair to represent something I personally might not believe to be true. So our blanket policy was no signs. However, after the recent election tons of people in Prescott where we lived before Phoenix reported signs being stolen. I just don't get that. I might oppose, but I would never steal.

    betty

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  4. I live way downunder and I'm a bit afraid of backlash too, so I'm careful what I say on blogs I read from America. I try to be neutral and if I can't then I don't leave a comment. It must be uncomfortable to have to think twice before speaking once.

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  5. Excellent post. It's the same in the UK, I learned long ago to keep my mouth shut for fear someone would shut it for me. What goes on these days scares me.

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  6. Until i know where someone stands, i am very careful what i say. Even when i do know, i am as tactful as i can be.

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  7. I hear what you're saying and it's the same with religion these days. Mention that you're a Christian and you might get crucified!

    Though I do see plenty of folks on Facebook who aren't afraid to rant about politics of either party.

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  8. It is true.......you need to protect yourself. We no longer affiliare ourselves with any clubs, religious organizations or political parties and avoid topics regarding race, religion, sexual preferance, politics....anything you can think of that may rile someone up. Cuts down on intelligent conversation but it also cuts down on the danger.

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  9. All of this is being done to silence the right. It's not working for the most part. There is a movement that they will never stop. That they will never silence. That's how Trump became president.

    The mainstream media is proving they are fake with some of the lies they publish and many of which they have had to retract. They don't care about that either. Once it's out there it's out there.

    I see the mainstream media and the democratic party failing and failing rapidly. There lies the anger we're seeing. They used to be the party of the people. They aren't anymore and they just can't see that.

    Thanks for letting me borrow your soapbox today. I feel much better.

    Have a fabulous day, Joe. ☺

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    Replies
    1. There has been anger on both sides, some people just turn the anger into violence, threats and shunning. It is OK to dislike an idea. But an idea should not change because of threats.

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  10. Don't you just love what's happening in Berkeley---we always called it Bizerkley--the home of "free speech'?

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  11. I agree with you 100% Joe, it's a shame that we can no longer share and discuss opinions whether we agree or not, it's not worth it to even mention politics, anyone on Facebook who starts a political rant it seems is only out for a fight, you can't respond without being dragged down, like you I choose to not discuss politics most don't want my opinion anyway.

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  12. I basically keep quiet, not out of fear of retribution but just knowing that nothing I say will change the mind of the person on the other side, nor will they change my beliefs. Yes, we are very much a divided nation.

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  13. Hi Cranky,

    It's not that bad in the UK - but certain viewpoints do bring about the same reactions sometimes - mainly because they are extreme.

    I have (kind of) experienced what you are talking about when I visited the US. I was about to express my opinion on Ronald Reagan when I realised (thankfully) that the person I was speaking to would have judged me in a bad way. I stayed silent.

    Personally I believe in free speech - we need to listen to what people are saying to try to understand their viewpoint, no matter how "radical" it may be.

    It's a shame that we are all slowly becoming scared to do just that.

    :o)

    Cheers

    PM

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  14. I don't make much of an effort to hide my political leanings although I do my best to not ram my liberalism down other people's throats. Still, I wouldn't want anyone to think I support Donald Trump, who I suspect history will not treat kindly. I'm currently watching the National Geographic series on the life of Albert Einstein, and while it's seldom a good idea to compare anyone to Hitler, there are so many similarities between Germany in the thirties and America today. It isn't enough to be quiet or afraid; we need to stand up for what we believe in, and it isn't a border wall, the destruction of our environment or less strict gun control laws. Only our cherished institutions can save us from autocratic rule and those institutions are all under attack by the current administration.

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  15. Some of your comments illustrate your point very well.

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  16. I, too, noticed the complete absence of bumper stickers and lawn signs in my town during this past election. And no one in my circle of friends talked about who they were going to vote for. It was very different from past elections.

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  17. I remember, at the age of six or so, being afraid that men in suits were going to knock on our front door to cart my parents away. I don't know on what level I was aware of the political scene, or even how, but it was somehow insidious. I for sure knew that my father was no fan of Eisenhower and I sensed in my young mind that was a dangerous thing.

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  18. OMG Try living in San Francisco and down the peninsula, and have a differing POV on certain things! When my folks died, we took the opportunity to leave my hometown and friends etc, to start over in a new community. A semi-rural part of northern california. Talk about culture shock! But here, I can dress the way I want to, and express myself without too much condemnation. HOWEVER, it is starting to change, since the election. Many are coming up here to "enlighten" us semi-rural folks.

    I keep telling my husband, we need to sellout and live on a mountain top. People are just too consumed these days and downright angry. I want to live in peace and beauty and not have to be living in fear. It is a choice.

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  19. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm on a different planet than you all. I've never experienced any threats or felt any danger because I expressed my opinions. The only time I thought my answer was unusual when I got a bunch of weird looks at work (when we still lived in South Carolina) when they asked me what church I went to and I said I didn't go to any church.

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  20. It's been heading this way for a while. I had an Obama Biden sticker on the back window of my truck and last year when I went fly fishing someone spat a was of tobacco on the glass. I easily sprayed the mess off when I go home but the message was clear-we don't like liberals here. Ever who did this didn't like what I thought and let it be known.
    I'd like to believe that we're in a country where we can think what we choose, I certainly don't mind if you voted for the other candidate, but like you I fear we're drifting too far from the shore.

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