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The Power of the Pen

The title is somewhat of a metaphor, since so few people now write anything with pens that will be read by anyone but themselves.  I believe in your powers of extrapolation.

If you watched the Superbowl on Sunday, or at least the commercials, you probably saw the following ad:
And if you have a social media account, you may have seen some of the responses to that video.  If not, you can take your pick of media coverage about the responses from Fox, ABCCNN, NPR, Huffington Post, or you can just read the comments on the video itself here.  Or use your favorite search engine.  Or talk to people at work.  The point is, you've probably heard or read someone talking about it by now.  

Interestingly enough, the United States has no official language.  

Then yesterday, a truck in front of me had two bumper stickers, the tamer one reading "Islam Sucks," the other reading, "Kill a Muslim for Jesus."  Besides the obvious insensitivity and hate towards Muslims in those statements, there is also a perversion of Christianity.

Yes, we have a Bill of Rights that guarantees us free speech, even at the expense of others.  No, there is no Bill of Responsibility.   

The responsibility is on our shoulders.  We have to take responsibility for our views, our words, and the consequences.  This means considering how our words will be taken by those around us.  This means accepting their reactions as consequences.  This means that if I can say whatever the heck I want, you should be able to call me out when I'm in the moral wrong.  This means that your silence when you see someone spraying their filth onto your homescreen is as good as permission.  Do not make the mistake of thinking that just because we are friends (even IRL) that I will agree with everything you say.   

Our words tell the world something about us.  If we are spewing charged comments on the internet, not only are we bigots, but we are bigots cowering behind the comfort of our screens and keyboards, confident in the fact that because we are not in immediate danger of getting a bloody nose, there must be merit in what we say.

I am begging you to think about what you say, what you type, what you share, and what you like.  You are in control, not only of what you say, but of who you are.  Please, use that power wisely.


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