Ron White is one of the guys who toured as part of the Blue Collar Comedy group, and performed in their very popular concert videos. He always seems to have a drink in his hand, and smokes like a chimney. So, he’s not exactly a role model for America’s youth, but despite his bad language and joyous political incorrectness, I think he’s a funny guy.
One of his more endearing stories revolves around him being physically thrown out of a bar in New York City. In this story, he is in the process of being arrested, and he says, “I had the right to remain silent… but not the ability.”
Boy! How many times has that happened to you? Not the being arrested part, but the inability to keep quiet about something when it makes much more sense to do so.
I think I suffer from that affliction more than most people. My mouth has gotten me into trouble many times over the years, and the funny thing is I realize my mistake before I’ve even finished the sentence. The classic error, which every man makes once in his life, is asking a woman who appears to be pregnant when she’s due. If she’s not pregnant, that’s a mistake from which you cannot recover.
Lately I’ve been much better about keeping quiet about things. Many people who are “friends” of mine on Facebook have not been as reticent about expressing their views in very clear and insistent terms. Part of the reason is that our world and our state are both experiencing traumatic changes, and people are very emotional about what’s going on. That emotion translates to strong language, which can be insulting to people who might disagree with the point of view expressed.
I’ve always believed that there can be disagreement without attacking people who see things differently than I do, or wishing them harm. Civil discourse is occasionally held up as an essential virtue, but then those same people launch into an attack if their interests are challenged.
The thing is, I don’t want to communicate only with people who agree with me, because a person doesn’t grow that way. And yet, intemperate comments that insult my intelligence just make me disrespect the people who make them. And, it doesn’t help my normally cheerful demeanor.
This paragraph should say something like, “Let’s all be kind to each other,” but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Instead, maybe people could think for a moment between writing their emails or Tweets or Facebook posts and sending them. A couple of seconds to ponder might result in better communication in the long run.