New year holds hope for better times ahead

Looking back on 2017, we see many changes that have caused our world to tilt just a little. Whether it’s the proverbial pendulum making its proverbial swing as ideas go back and forth or whether it’s all here to stay, we don’t know.

We just know that the pendulum has swung in ways we never expected.

Whether people like an American president or agree with proposed policies or not, we never thought we would see the day when it was acceptable to be so disrespectful of the person holding the highest office in the land. It’s fine to disagree with a president’s policies and even not to like the person, but we have always believed respecting the office and the person holding it was essential in a civilized country. Not so anymore.

Although we admire people who stand up for what they believe and are willing to fight to change things that need changing, we don’t always understand the direction these struggles are taking today. For example, the NFL players have told us they feel strongly about unfair treatment of black people in our society; therefore, they are kneeling at football games when the national anthem is played.

This has become a major disagreement in the country, although the discussion has been about the kneeling and its appropriateness, very little about the original issue. We can admire the NFL players who feel so strongly they want to right a wrong they see, but it seems like the alleged wrong has received very little attention. It seems like the battle the NFL players wanted to fight has been forgotten.

We believe we are all fortunate to be Americans and honoring the flag and the anthem is the way we express our pride and commitment to this country. In our hearts, even when we disagree with things in America, we still honor the flag while working to make things better. We don’t understand what kneeling does to promote their cause.

We’re also concerned with the direction free speech is taking. We’ve have seen too many examples, especially on college campuses, where people are denied an opportunity to speak because their ideas are different from other people’s. And, if they are allowed to speak, the protests have sometimes become violent.

This is so contrary to what America stands for that it is unbelievable. There would be no need for an amendment protecting free speech were it not for unpopular speech. If we all agreed with everything that was said, we wouldn’t have grown and changed over the years. Much change has occurred because of differing opinions and people’s struggle to make their voices heard, keeping at it until someone listened.

Free speech is for everyone, so protesters are welcome to disagree, peacefully. That is America at its best. It’s denying people the right to speak that bothers us; that is not free speech. We also don’t understand who gets to decide what speech is acceptable. Is there a vote taken somewhere, or is some official in charge of who can say what?

So, as a new year begins, we know the proverbial pendulum will keep swinging. We don’t know, however, what it will bring in 2018, but we would be willing to bet it won’t be boring.

Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve and Day.

Contact the Ryans at ryan@abqjournal.com.

 

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