Freedom of Speech is not Freedom From Consequences

If you tend to follow comments on political stories and posts you’ll be familiar with the concern expressed by some that freedom of speech is under attack
They complain bitterly that they do not feel they can express their views without being attacked by people with opposing views.

Free Speech (or Expression) is protected from government prosecution or persecution. In some jurisdictions, like here in Canada, there are reasonable limitations on this freedom…in that expression inciting hatred and violence against an identifiable group or person is not protected.

That’s not what I want to talk about here.

There seems to be a mindset among some (mostly alt-right folk) that they should be allowed to say whatever they want without consequence…even the consequence of having someone question your assertions, and sometimes call you unpleasant names, like xenophobe, or racist.

There are no such protections under law.

In other words, if you express an opinion that’s unpopular, expect there to be some fallout.

Now I’m sure that many on the Left are reading this and nodding your heads, but now I’m going to reverse that coin.

Many post-secondary institutions have banned talks by right wing personalities for a variety of reasons.

When these talks to go forward they are often disrupted by left wing groups with air horns and even pulling fire alarms.
Seriously…pulling a fire alarm in a crowded auditorium….anyone doing this is an idiot and should be thrown in prison!
But I digress….

The argument for to justify these protests is that the speakers are spreading messages of intolerance and hate.

I don’t disagree with that. However I would put to you that in not allowing these people to speak you are in fact lending them strength. Those who came to listen will see the protests and perhaps think that there must be some validity to the speaker’s points if those opposed don’t want them being said. So they run to Youtube and watch anyway.

I would let them speak. Learn their talking points, then take them and debunk them. Do it loudly, and mockingly. Show the masses that they are not to be taken seriously by turning their own message against them.

Otherwise you risk the undecided seeing you as nothing more than a zealot whose belief in your own ideology is so weak that you can’t bear to hear an opposing opinion.

We have to keep in mind that Freedom of Speech is a double edged sword.


Someone actually came up with this bureaucratic nonsense!

There’s no shortage of bureaucratic nonsense out there, especially when dealing with governments.

I’m writing today with one particular mind-boggling piece of bureaucratic bullshit in mind and that is the proof of citizenship requirements for a Canadian Passport.

If you read the link that you can use an expired passport, provided that it has been expired for less than a year. If you don’t have that (mine expired several years ago), you can use your birth certificate (I lost mine)

So I guess that once a passport’s been expired for more than a year it becomes easier to forge?? Seriously, if I could forge an expired passport, how much harder would it be to forge one that’s NOT expired?!

But no, no….I can use this card from the 60’s that doesn’t have a picture, or anything other than my name and date of birth on it. Honestly, I could probably forge that with a scanner and Photoshop and I’m not artistically inclined.

Of course its fairly straightforward getting a birth certificate, unless you get some detail of your parents wrong….but that’s a whole other story.

On F**king Profanity…

If there’s one indication as to how sensitive some people are, its in how we sometimes censor profanity.

I’m certain there are people who read the headline of this post and thought, “Oh thank god he didn’t spell out fucking!”

I’m amazed the the power of profanity can be completely obliterated by substituting a few letters with symbols, or a bleep, or even changing the word entirely to something similar. People know what you’re saying, but the fact that you didn’t actually say, or type it makes it somehow less offensive.

I honestly don’t understand that. The offensive word is out there, everyone knows it, but the fact that its eluded to is somehow okay to people whose sensitivities would be ruffled if the word was fully presented!

Now, that being said there are people who get offended by substitutions. I had some guy have a complete and total meltdown because I used the term mother-fracker on a FB post he was tagged in. (it wasn’t an insult post, just something humorous that happened in an improv class).
So I guess that’s okay if you’re going to be offended by profanity that you show the same level of outrage at substitutions as you do to the actual profanity.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I want to move on to the use of profanity in general.

There are people who feel that profanity is un-necessary. My mother has often said that profanity is for the weak….or something like that.

Much as I love my mother, I also love science. The latter tells us that people who use profanity tend to be smarter, healthier, more honest, and happier.
Don’t believe me…here’s a link! (sorry mom!)

Anyone who has spent any time with me know that I can, at times, be quite profane. That’s a fancy way of saying that I swear a lot. I admit it, I sometimes use f-bombs as punctuation. This basically means that according to science that I’m a fricking genius!!

I’ll admit that there are a lot of times when profanity really isn’t necessary to get a point across. But there are times when, no matter how large one’s vocabulary, nothing else suffices for emphasis.

For instance, lets say someone comes up with the idea of separating children from their parents simply because they sought asylum in this completely made up country called Southofcanada.

One could say that this idea is completely idiotic. Sure, kinda gets the point across, but how does that compare to:

That idea is completely FUCKING idiotic and the motherfucker who came up with it should have their fucking gonads locked in a vice in a burning building.

So I guess in closing I’ll put it out there if people swore more we’d be a lot smarter, healthier and happier!

I Am a Proud Left Wing Liberal “Nut Job”

That’s right.

I’m not particularly bothered by those on The Right who make liberal use the words “Leftie” and “Leftist” as insults because I’m proud of who I am and the stand I take.

What does being a Leftie mean to me?

It means that I believe:

  • In taking care of those less fortunate
  • That not everyone who is brown is Muslim
  • That being Muslim doesn’t make someone a terrorist
  • That taking in refugees is a good and humane thing to do
  • That immigration and refugees make our country stronger
  • That if its between two consenting adults, its not anyone elses’s business (even if they want to get married)
  • That a traditional family is whatever works for those involved
  • That everyone deserves to be treated fairly by everyone else
  • That workers deserve a fair, livable wage
  • That everyone deserves shelter, food and safety
  • That we have a responsibility to our fellow humans to act with kindness, wisdom, and compassion

Thoughts after my 4th heart attack

So yeah, 8 days ago I experienced my 4th heart attack.
My third was only 27 days before that one.

Before I say more I want to talk about how I knew this was a heart attack…because it is a frequent question.

Imagine the pain when you twist your ankle. Now imagine the pain when you walk on that injured ankle.

That’s the pain, only its in your chest, and you can’t help it by rest, elevation and ice.

In my mind the most worrisome thing was how quick #4 came on. I was feeling okay, watching tv and talking to a friend. The conversation wasn’t contentious, but I was talking about past events that had made me angry.

The pain hit out of the blue. I knew immediately what it was but hoped that it was just stress or anxiety.
I took my nitro spray, no effect, same thing with two chewable aspirin. I took another dose of nitro with no relief.

I then told my friends what was happening.

My overwhelming thought during all this was how embarrassing, having a heart attack so shortly after the previous one.

So half the emergency services in my hometown showed up. Fire, 2 cops and finally EMS. None of that helped the embarrassment.

So I was rushed to my local ER where after a short stay they fired me back into an ambulance to the Cardiac Cath Lab at St. Mary’s in Kitchener. As they wheeled me in to the cath lab I joked with the cardiologist that I’ve been through enough of these I could probably just do it myself.

After that I spent a few hours in the CCU at St. Mary’s before being transferred back to Stratford where I was discharged the next day.
So, heart attack late Monday night, discharged Wednesday morning.

I’ve been struggling with the fact that death is no longer an abstract concept for me.

Sure, I could live for another few decades, but 4 heart attacks in around 2 years, the last 2 less than 30 days apart drives home one’s mortality.

I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how the wring the best quality of life out of however long it is I have left.

I need to reconnect with people. That means overcoming this thing that makes it hard to leave the house. That means road trips, day trips, even place trips to see old friends.

It means working to enjoy life instead of just existing….or, as I’ve put it, “Waiting to die”.

The other thing that occurs to me is the irony of it all. Up until a few weeks ago I was depressed and passively suicidal.

In closing I hope the people that I love know that I love them. I don’t say it often, but I try and show it when the opportunity arises.

On being a high-functioning introvert

Some people are surprised to learn that I am an introvert and suffer from bouts of social anxiety and agoraphobia.

Unless things are really bad, I have no problems with most social interactions. I can be friendly, engaged and even talkative.
I might be aching to wander away and retreat into my shell but most people would never know that.

When things are bad, I can’t leave the house.
Not “don’t want to”, but “CAN’T”
Here’s an example.

A few years ago I had a heart attack, a fairly serious one. The pain woke me up in the middle of the night along with severe nausea.
I waited 3 HOURS to call 911.
I told people that it was because I thought it was just heart-burn.
I was a military medic for almost 20 years…I KNEW it was an heart attack!

The problem was that I was going through a particularly rough period of my life and just couldn’t deal with people at the moment.
From my medical experience I knew that not only would the responding paramedics poke and prod, but they’d be asking me questions, and talking to me and reassuring me and generally invading my personal space.
Because all that is essential when treating any medical condition.

So yeah, I didn’t call 911 for a heart attack because I couldn’t deal with social interactions!

And yes, I was fully aware that I could die because of that.

That’s how bad my social anxiety was that day. I would rather die than have to talk to another human being.

I finally called because the pain was immense enough to eventually override everything else.

I relay that particular story so you don’t mistake the affects of my anxiety as a lack of willpower or some other character flaw.

At this point some of you are likely saying, “But you have a good job that requires you leave the house (to go to work), and that you interact with people!”

One of the important things to keep in mind is that like many chronic conditions, anxiety sufferers have good days and bad.

If I must leave the house and interact with people on a bad day I have coping mechanisms that help me get through.
Work is usually a refuge for me. Its rare that things are so bad that falling into my work doesn’t mitigate the anxiety.
When it does I have people I to whom I can say, “I’m having a bad day today”, and they’ll know what I’m talking about.
With people outside that circle who notice that I’m off, I use the “not feeling great”, and if they push I’ll chalk it up to something that I ate.

Work is an imperative though. I have responsibilities to my co-workers and customers.

Social engagements are another issue entirely. I often feel some combination of anxiety, trepidation and/or dread whenever a social engagement is approaching. Even ones that I know I will enjoy.
As the time approaches my brain will race around looking for excuses to not go.
Its sort of like this:

ME: Oh no, I think I’m coming down with the stomach flu!!
ALSO ME: Relax, you just farted. You’re fine.
ME: I’ve got a really really bad headache coming on!
ALSO ME: No…you don’t. You really don’t.
ME: But there will be people there!!!

You get the idea.

That being said, social engagements of any type are out of the question on bad days.
There is no particular thing that I’m afraid of on these days, its just the idea of simply interacting with another human being seems to be impossible.

Case in point a few days ago I was having a bad day. Unfortunately I absolutely had to go to the grocery store.
It took me a good hour to work up the nerve to go.
When I got there I was distressed to see that there were people canvassing for a charity at the front doors.
I put on my best “Don’t talk to me” posture and strode quickly past, grabbed a shopping cart and WHAM..came face to face with a sweet old lady asking me to support something or other (I don’t know what it was).
I stammered out a no thank you and practically ran into the store.

I picked up a few things, but was so frazzled by the unexpected social contact that I ended up forgetting to pick up what I went to the store for. (and there was no way in hell I was going back for them!)

So the title of this is being a high-functioning introvert, but having read it over…who am I kidding? I’m a mess.