Kent

I’m a 1960s baby. Born exactly in the first half of that decade.

Back then, protest and civil disobedience was the rage.

Boycotts, by and large, were started because a company did or participated in something so horrendous that people were put off by it. 

Hypothetical example: The CEO of a company goes on safari and kills a mother of a species and orphans several offspring. People get up in arms about it and said company loses some business, maybe its stock drops several percentage points, but in six months to a year all is forgotten and no one really cares anymore. 

In the current retaliation of politics, individuals and companies are being taken to task for their (its) views on the political spectrum.

In the past few political cycles, the public has been hypersensitive about who says what.

Celebrities, entertainment and athletes, are taking it on the chin for espousing their personal opinions.

People want to dismiss those views as nonsense because who cares what a professional ball player or a Hollywood star has to say about politics.

I have told a couple of people lately when asked about recent political events that I’m not afforded the opportunity to voice an opinion because of how it may affect my employment.

But I’ll defend your right to say what you want. No problem.

I have spent the majority of my professional career defending and protecting the right to free speech, and a free press.

And if and when I don’t like the message, I just simply change the channel.

When my Facebook friends spout this and that, I may correct their grammar, but I defend their right to speak openly. 

If they are obnoxious about it, I turn them off. 

So in today’s world, people are losing jobs, families and friends for the right to say what they feel.

Don’t you dare bring up politics at Thanksgiving Dinner. You’ll be marched right out the door without leftovers.

The retribution level of “if you don’t think the ‘way I do’ means we can’t be friends, I won’t employ you, or you can’t have a seat at the community table of discussion is getting out of hand.

I have never been a fan of retaliation. It’s all very ugly to me. 

I found out early in my career that climbing over the person in front of you, or backstabbing coworkers to get a better station at a job just wasn’t my cup of tea.

As Capt. Hook says in “Peter Pan,” “Bad form, Petah, bad form.”

The current social and civil disobedience is not about the cause of a presumed individual group of people as much as it is a group of people inflicting harm on individuals.

Retaliation against a certain person or small group of people with the intent to do irreparable damage is yet another tear in the social fabric of this great nation of ours. 

I don’t believe I have done my ‘social fabric’ column here yet, but I will in the not-to-distant future.

Basically, it says that we have become so desensitized; almost immune to the lack of civility in this country that it resembles no-holds barred verbal bashing of anyone and anything in our way. We’ll step on anyone at anytime to justify our travels to the end game.  

The idea that the ends more than justify the means is almost commonplace.

I’m not trying to render an opinion on this as much as I am making an observation about a political climate that bothers me. It probably should bother you, also.

A great many of you understand what our job is in the newspaper industry.

We don’t make the news. We are not the news. We present the news.

My Journalism 101 professor’s first words back in 1982 to our class were, “If you don’t want to see it on the front page of the local newspaper, don’t do it.”

People who are doing their jobs in the everyday manner to which they are accustomed should not be looking over their shoulders or shriveling at the prospects of reporting an ill deed at their workplace. 

And in some instances, their job is to protect the greater good of the environment they work, than to protect an individual co-worker. 

Lighten up America. We’re going to work this out one day, and you will be happy when it happens. 

But for now, take care of each other. Speak kindly to each other. Don’t be so judgmental of others just because they think or are different than you.

That’s all I’ve got, Henderson. 

See you in the funny pages.

Kent Mahoney is the managing editor of The Henderson News. His e-mail address is managingeditor@thehendersonnews.com. © 2019, Henderson Newspapers Inc.

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