Where did people get the idea that they were born with the right to go through life un-offended? And with that question I proudly proclaim “Tonight I rant and rave!”
Here’s the thing. There are over 6 billion, BILLION I say!, people in this world. It is a statistical impossibility that all 6 billion plus will agree on everything. This should be self -evident. Any reasonable person should logically assume that others will feel differently and will be passionate about expressing at least one belief that is at odds with the beliefs of those who find themselves offended by others expressing their beliefs.
Now, having laid such groundwork I submit to you the fact that a demanded apology is worthless. While I feel that freedom of speech extends to the right to demand an apology, I wonder why people bother at all. You were offended. You fussed and whined and spouted the fact that you disagree and are hurt. In most cases the offender is some public figure and no one you even personally know. This person, in the interest of damage control and public image, issues a retraction of their expression and apologizes. Have you changed this person’s mind? I seriously doubt it. Have you put pressure on them and caused them, in the interest of the preservation of personal peace, to say sorry? Yes. Mission accomplished? Certainly not. Chances are this person still believes exactly the thing they stated that offended you.
What, in a situation wherein you find yourself offended, should you do? Get over it. Come to grips with the fact that other people will have their own views and, while those views may be morally reprehensible, they are the beliefs that the other person will hold whether you like it or not. And in all sensibility, do they not have the right to believe differently and express such a sentiment? After all, you’ve demonstrated the fact that you disagree which will likely offend the one who offended you. If you have the right to express your beliefs, why not they? Are you (keep in mind I’m using “you” metaphorically, referring to anyone to whom the described scenario applies) above the rules to which you seek to hold everyone else? I find such an idea quite offensive and if you feel otherwise I refuse to demand that you apologize.
There are some beliefs, such as racism, sexism and many an other ism, that should not be tolerated. On the flip side, there are other beliefs that shouldn’t be a catalyst for strife. I’ve seen people referred to as idiots because they each preferred a different automobile manufacturer. Really? You drive yours, they’ll drive theirs. What’s the problem? Has anyone ever been forced to drive a vehicle manufactured by an offensive manufacturer? Surely such a situation has occurred in the rich history of Humankind, however, does it really matter? How traumatic could such a situation possibly be? There are of course exceptions. Imagine a brute forcing one, at gunpoint, to drive an offensive car. Such would certainly be cause for a claim of undue stress. The rental company being unable to provide you an un-offensive brand, however, is no real cause for concern. Consider those who haven’t the luxury of being able to be offended by a certain car because they are too busy trying not to be killed by anarchists.
Perhaps the previously describe scenario is a bit extreme. Let it serve as a parable of sorts. Be thou not offended by that which matters not! Thus saith the reasonable individual. One real life anecdote and I’ll silence my keyboard for now. I worked in a place once where a co-worker was unable to eat his lunch indoors. A different co-worker found the smell of his lunch, which was tuna, offensive. This fish favoring fellow couldn’t enjoy his lunch inside. He had to eat outside, facing many a threat. He could’ve been rained on, hailed on, tornadoed or accosted by hungry pigeons, depending on the day. This man had to endure the threat of undue danger due to one who was offended by a product of nature. Nature! The one thing we must all accept due to the lack of any other choice. This man was offended by the lack of regard he was accorded. Despite this, he faithfully stepped outside, day after day, to partake in an uncomfortable and dangerous afternoon repast. How, I ask you, is this right? By way of answer I say simply, it isn’t. But he never complained because he understood that his expression, although perfectly within his rights, was pointless. Wah wah humanity has won and such should not be so.
I bid you adieu and a don’t.
Adieu…consider that others may be just as offended by your taking offense as you are at the thing that offended you.
A don’t…demand apologies. In such ways you only demean yourself.