I hate to be a downer with the amount of ‘serious’ stuff I post on this blog. However, I like to talk about interesting things, and let’s face it, ‘Top Ten List of Stupid Things My Students Did Today’ would be both hilarious and get old REALLY fast (after 20-30 of anything it starts to get tiresome — obligatory snicker).
Something that has been holding my attention, and frankly the attention of a large chunk of the planet, is the ‘Occupy ______’ protests. If you want to have a look at just what exactly this whole thing is about, this is the main Occupy Wall St website for the group that started it all. Chances are if you live near a major metropolitan area you’ve heard something about this, or maybe even have one going on.
This, for example, is a photo of the ‘Occupy Calgary’ protest currently going on in Olympic Park in Calgary, less than 3 hours away from where I type this.
Today on the news, I heard that the mayor of Calgary was considering using legal and police action to force the protestors to leave the park. This of course set off a flurry of ‘free speech’ and ‘human rights’ discussions. The protestors are naturally claiming that they are merely exercising their right to air their opinions, while the governments see people infringing on the bylaws that make our cities safer, better places to live.
And while I deeply sympathize with the less-than-fortunate people who feel that they are being economically abused, I have say, I’ve never understood the ‘free speech excuses everything’. Since when does your right to have an opinion mean that you get to call me names? Since when does your right to have a viewpoint on issues mean that I can’t walk through a park I like? Since when does any of your ‘human rights’ give you the license to blatantly trample over the rights of others?
I know that we have a system that needs some fixing, and I know it’s never going to satisfy everybody, but this whole societal complaining about one’s ‘rights’ as the excuse for any action that might be seen as petty or useless in any other context drives me freaking crazy. No one listens to whining. Actually do something. And at the same time, please respect those of us who just want to go to work, get paid, come home, and read a good book before bed. I’m even less likely to join your cause if you block my path and yell in my face with a megaphone.