Those who know me might call me a liberal. Actually, those who know me might call me a bleeding-heart, environmentalist, falling-over-the-left-side-of-the-boat, tree-hugging, white-guilting whackjob.
But there are ways I lean so far right that I give my friends on the other side of the boat motion sickness. For example, helmets and cigarettes. OK, I get that it is your right to bike or motorcycle without a helmet and it is your right to smoke. I am down with that. However, I think we should have an understanding so that your moronic decisions based on who the hell knows what rationale do not affect me or any other innocent bystanders.
If you choose to hit the open road on two wheels without anything protecting your precious noggin, it is possible you may get into an accident. In fact, you may get into an accident with me. And, since you are bare-headed, you will most likely suffer brain damage and need all sorts of medical care. That’s cool; it is your choice. However, given your decision, I think that you should not be able to get any medical benefits from the government, including disability, since it is not the taxpayers’ problem that you didn’t want to mess up your hair. Also, my insurance company, your insurance company, and I should all be free of any financial responsibility, since again, we weren’t the ones rambling on about the freedom to sustain brain damage. Finally, I would like to request special dispensation from the Pope and the Union of Reform Rabbis so that those who are religiously bound to feel guilty are let off the hook on this one.
As for smoking – go for it. But, please, do it in your home without your kids around, since they aren’t making that choice. And, um, if you do get emphysema or lung cancer, the same financial deal as above applies. Really, why should my insurance premiums go up because you decided to give yourself a disease?
I know, as a liberal, I am supposed to want to protect people. But, I’d rather protect those who cannot do something to help themselves. Which brings me to the other area in which I might be labeled conservative.
I am all for respecting the rights of nations, people, and organized militias, but only when they do not infringe upon those weaker than they are. Sure, we need to respect that some dude is a sovereign leader, but if he is trying to annihilate large groups within his nation’s borders, something should be done by those standing about. Should it be better planned than the Iraq debacle? Yeah. Should we just stand by, wringing our hands, watching Robert Mugabe, and saying, “Well, it isn’t our country, so what right have we to go in?” Well, ask Kitty Genovese. Oh, yeah, you can’t.
Might does not make right. But strength means responsibility. And, sometimes the rights of those with more power are less important than protecting those with less. You have a right to refuse medical treatment because you think you are a deity. You do not have the right to impose that on a little girl. It’s all about grown-ups dealing with the consequences of their actions but not making those with less power face consequences they cannot control in the name of protecting the rights of the powerful.
And, to the grandmother in my son’s playgroup who was aghast that once she had been falsely accused of child abuse: you are a big girl. Suck it up. I’d rather ten parents be falsely accused and embarrassed, as long as they were treated fairly in the process and allowed to exonerate themselves by proving their innocence, than have one single child left sitting in her home, waiting for those around her to get over respecting her parents’ rights.
Sometimes, a situation just calls for fixing. And sometimes, not fixing it is just the lazy way out.
This post is a part of Julie’s Hump Day Hmm roundtable. There are lots of good posts round Julie’s way each Wednesday, so go on over and click on a few. And Julie herself puts up some pretty good reading the rest of the week.