survivingmiddleage

the ups and downs of life

Freedom of Speech Is Not Freedom to Disrespect

I am all for freedom of speech. But I think a lot of times that many people take advantage of this freedom. Disagreeing with something does not give you the right to be disrespectful. Maybe more should follow the old adage of you draw more flies with honey. When you speak negatively to or about someone or something else, you are already setting yourself up for adversity. But if you go at it with inflammatory statements, you’ve really stepped in it.

This has been on my mind because the last couple of weeks I have been seeing this quite a bit. I really started paying attention to what people were saying and how they were saying it. Again, I was shocked and probably shouldn’t have been. I can’t blame it on me being Southern and the other people not being from the South. No, they were from the South. And they were quite rude and abrasive and hateful. Some things were personal attacks. Some were politically charged. Some happened in a workplace environment.

Ok, the personal attacks I saw were quite vicious. I tried to speak up about it but you can’t argue with stupid. Sometimes  you have to just ignore and move on.

The politically charged attacks were eye-opening. As I have stated in previous posts, I am neither Republican nor Democrat. I don’t care what party you are. But what I do care about is how you present your feelings. When you start name-calling and bashing, you are a disgrace to whatever party you are affiliated with. If you can’t have a civilized conversation or state an idea or opinion without the negativity or mud-slinging then you need to just shut your mouth or fingers (internet). When you behave in that manner you reinforce all the negative stereotypes about that party. If you want your message heard, do it in a manner that is not offensive or inflammatory. When you are spouting off slurs and insults, you make more people tune out than tune in. If that was your agenda, fine. But if you wanted someone to hear you or understand your point of view then you should have approached them in a kinder manner. Again, you draw more flies with honey.

The workplace situation was something I walked in on. I heard a supervisor speaking to an employee. It was a civil conversation from the supervisor’s side but suddenly the employee snapped at her. I was shocked. I was raised that you respect your supervisors. You may not agree with them and that is fine. If you don’t, approach them by trying to explain yourself respectfully. But the second you open your mouth with outright insubordination, you have crossed the line. Frankly, I hope that employee got written up. Whether they were right or wrong on the other matter is not the issue. It’s how they addressed it. Show some respect.

The bottom line for me is that I am tired of people using their freedom of speech as an excuse to be completely disrespectful. There are perfectly acceptable ways to disagree. More should try it.

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