I’ve been fortunate in Rankin Inlet during the past 18-plus years to have known a fair number of people who liked to discuss “hot topics” of the day openly and honestly, without playing the race card or firing about a bunch of impossible-to-disprove labels in an effort to force silence or capitulation.
It has been my experience, those who employ such tactics usually do so when unable to counter a well-made point, get themselves involved in a discussion with someone of the opposite view who has a deeper understanding of the topic, or are really not interested in any opinion but than their own.
And the logic they sometimes employ leaves one spinning brain patterns, trying to come up with something more than what?
I have never lived in the United States, but I am a huge American Civil War buff.
Anyone who does not share my unquenchable thirst for understanding of that incredible period in American history is going to have a tough time out-debating me simply because they come from Alabama. It just does not work that way.
Just because someone’s a great second baseman on the diamond, doesn’t mean they know more about the game of baseball than someone who has never excelled athletically, but has spent their life studying the game they love.
A baseball nerd, if you will, and most of the time their knowledge will blow that of star players who refer to them as player wannabes out of the water.
I’ve grown during the course of the discussions I’ve had with folks in Rankin over the years.
The most important lesson for me was learning to not only listen to an opposing viewpoint, but to try to understand it and where the person expressing it is coming from.
I can’t say it’s changed my opinion on a vast number of issues, but it has changed it on some, and a few of them were surprisingly so to me.
Learning how to properly evaluate the opinion of others, while being able to constructively examine my own way of looking at things, taught me to understand the different types of racism and how they differ.
It also helped me learn to differentiate between fact and wishing it were so in the opinion of others.
Learning these skills came at a vital time in my life, as the rules of debate were radically changing, and one was no longer allowed to counterpoint with the logically obvious.
If someone suggests every Canadian should have to learn Inuktitut, you risk having an ugly word tossed at you for asking is that after all English folks learn French and all Francophones learn English, our nation’s two official languages.
Because of tactics being employed these days, people often believe large numbers support one stance or another, when often nothing could be further from the truth.
We’re supposed to be a great model of multiculturalism and racial harmony for the world, but we’re becoming a nation where a minority of easily-offended types rule due to everyone’s fear of being called a racist or a bigot, and it has transcended craziness to absolute lunacy.
There are two people considering court action because of the revocation of their personalized license plate.
In Winnipeg, a city with a population of 705,000, a man by the name of Nick Troller – a huge fan of the Star Trek franchise – had his plate taken when two people complained part of it was offensive to indigenous peoples.
Troller’s plate proclaimed we are the Borg! Resistance is futile! And, here it comes, Assimil8.
So two people in a city of 705,000 ignored the Star Trek characterization of the evil Borg – a fictitious alien race that is, in reality, a collection of species who have been turned into cybernetic organisms to serve as worker bees while connected to a hive mind known as the Collective – and applied it to the struggles of indigenous peoples.
They’re lucky Harry Potter wasn’t there, or they may have quickly raised their tolerance bar.
But, if being offended by a Borg fan isn’t enough, look no further than a Nova Scotia man who had his plate revoked for the spelling of his last name.
It made no difference to the handful who complained that Lorne Grabher was a real person, and there were no sexual desires or fantasies attached to his family name being on the license plate.
In Grabher’s case, the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms – arguably this country’s last true bastion of free speech and equal rights for all – is threatening to sue the Nova Scotia government for infringement of the freedom of expression.
We do live in the greatest country in the world, but the attack on free speech and freedom of expression, as well as the rampant over-sensitivity, has to end or it will not remain so for much longer!