I Reserve the Right to Offend You

Liz Harrison
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Posted: Jun 01, 2015 11:56 AM
I Reserve the Right to Offend You

It is nothing personal – it simply is recognition of the fact that human beings, regardless of their chosen social groupings, do not agree with each other all of the time. When there are disagreements, someone will be offended. This is also directly related to the fact that our society was built to be free, no matter how much anyone might want to make it otherwise.

I reserve the right to offend you by refusing to engage in political “purity tests,” or get upset when anyone calls into question my loyalty to conservative causes. When I chose to become a Republican, I made an agreement with that party to go to the polls on election day and support legitimate candidates that party suggests for me. By legitimate, I mean individuals that are at least a little qualified for the office in question, and not guilty of crimes. That means I have voted for Democrats over the years, when the GOP was foolish enough to push felons and utterly incompetent candidates for office. Conversely, while I have, as a general rule, cast my ballot for candidates with an “R” after their names, I have rarely done so because I actually supported those people for any reason outside of political affiliation. I am 43, have voted since I was eligible at 18, and have never voted “for” a president, yet. I'm still waiting for someone to run on either ticket that would get my vote for a reason other than party affiliation. Yes, I know that offends at least a few people.

Keep your religion to yourself. I reserve the right to offend you by demanding that everyone keep their faith out of politics, and stop making government their church, respectively. If you want your religious doctrine to be the letter of the law, find a secular (scientific) reason to justify it. While I know that offends many conservatives, at least you can rest assured that I will defend your right to follow whatever faith you have – presuming its doctrine does not call for harming others. Beyond trying to prevent America from ending up with a state church like England, there was another bit of genius in the First Amendment. Religion has historically been the cause of wars, and this nation is home to countless warring factions. Even if the Founding Fathers did not anticipate the problem that can cause, they managed to address it anyway. One of the primary arguments against religion being mixed with government was the understanding that the business of politics is filthy. Only the insane would want to soil the sacred with that excrement, right?

I reserve the right to offend you with facts, words, and ideas. In general, I'm fully aware of the fact that my particular flavor of freedom isn't welcome in most conservative circles, primarily because I don't have a problem with stealing good ideas from anywhere – including the left. Also, I will defend anyone's right to speak or be offensive, regardless of whether or not I actually agree with them. In all honesty, I'm more likely to defend someone with whom I disagree with great vigor, and offer a tepid nod to those that are already on my side. There are more than enough people out there that make it their business to silent and marginalize their opposition, so I choose to do the absolute opposite. That also means that I do not judge others. Yes, this writing may come off as judgmental, but I've not included a single word about what anyone else should do. This is my opinion, which anyone can take or leave. My only purpose is to challenge people to think about a few things they take for granted daily.

Finally, I reserve the right to offend you with the obscene, profane, beautiful, and ugly things in this world. Larry Flynt is a saint in my personal pantheon of protecting freedom, and I will perpetually ridicule the “I'll know it when I see it” standard for defining the obscene. Additionally, I refuse to be silenced by anyone that accuses me of being racist, sexist, misogynist, or any other “-ist” that is invented to level against me. My patent response to that tactic is quite simple - “And?” followed by “prove it with facts, not feelings,” if necessary. I refuse to waste my time disproving baseless accusations made by anyone that opposes me for whatever reason. That means I may use taboo terms for the purpose of explanations, not as weapons. If I would use the profane to attack others, then I'd simply be proving what had previously been a baseless accusation.

The bottom line is that no one is entitled to their opinions. If you cannot defend your beliefs and philosophies in civil debate, your opposition is not the problem – you are. You need to be asking yourself why you are clinging to indefensible beliefs. Conversely, you also shouldn't stand for being shut down by your opposition with facile claims that you are evil or stupid for disagreeing. Instead of rushing to justify yourself, make your opposition offer factual proof to back those accusations. The ever-growing list of “-ists” must not be accepted anymore. If you think I'm offensive, I've got nothing on them.