David is outside filling the bird feeders. This delights me because only in recent years has he acquired this love of birds. “I saw the little Chick-a-dee,” he says as he comes in the house, “she was the first one to the feeder.” The Northern Chickadees have returned. In warmer months, we see many Carolina Chickadees and Titmice together.
David’s former FIL, a hen-pecked music teacher, taught David’s children about birds. David liked his FIL and disliked his MIL “Nanny-Lou.” She was a Southern throw-back if there ever was one. “Those N-word are not as good as us white-folk,” she told the children. Fortunately, David’s children grew up in Liberal Northern Virginia.
Today, the talk around the Washington DC area is about the name of the local football team. I don’t follow football, and don’t like Dan Snyder, owner of the local team, who cut down very old trees because, he said, they were blocking his view of the Potomac River. The George Washington Parkway, which adjoins his property, is federally protected land, restored by the CCC in the 1930s. Most of the trees Snyder destroyed were old, others only 70-80 years old….a climax forest. After his original excuse for wanton destruction fell on deaf ears, he said he cut weeds.
A tribal group from the U. S. southwest is suing Snyder because they decided the team he owns has an offensive name, ‘Redskin.’ Currently, the dispute involves several groups, tribal and not who like or dislike the team name. Tribes across the US have come forth with an opinion.
I don’t like football, don’t like the name, don’t like the team, except for RGIII who is good to his mother, and I don’t like Snyder. Until this week, I could have cared less about the outcome of the suit. But that was then. Now I am angry, because the petitioner has asked the FCC to ban the use of the team name on the airwaves. To me this smacks of censorship, and I am mostly opposed to censorship.
Critical thinking involves listening to all sides to reach an informed decision (why I listen to the BBC, FOX, CNN and PBS, and read Thomas Friedman, Paul Krugman and other liberal writers in the NYTimes, and syndicated conservative columnist Charles Krautheimer). The first amendment protects our right to free speech. We also have a right to an INFORMED opinion, but informed opinions can only be formed by carefully listening to what those with opposing views say. You can’t hear opposing comments if someone places a gag order on a speaker they don’t like.
I also believe many people could exercise better judgement. Why would you want to say or write something hateful to another? Why can’t the local team acquire a new name? The team names Wizards, Nationals and Patriots are taken. Have a contest, let the kids decide. They have to live with the consequences.