Tag Archives: first amendment

F…(Forget) The NFL

A couple of days ago I wrote a post on hiking as a form of escape. In it I said that heading out to the woods was a way of escaping the pressures of every day life. I used to feel this way about the NFL. Every Sunday I couldn’t wait to turn on the Fox pre-game show and then watch the games all day long! I knew that for a few hours on Sunday I could just veg out and not think about anything.

When Colin K. began his protest last year, I feared that the politics of that gesture would creep its way into the game that I loved as it unfortunately has happened in Hollywood. Sure enough, in the space of a year, it has come to the point where I can’t watch any of it. The pre-game, the games itself or the post game shows. All have been politicized to the point where they are totally unwatchable.

Thankfully our great country has a Constitution and it clearly states in the First Amendment that every person has the right to free speech. I don’t have an issue with anyone who wants to protest. I served my country in the USMC so that all of us will continue to have the right of free speech. My issue is where they choose to do it. As I said, sports and by the way, I’ll add movies and concerts along with this because they are venues where we choose  to get away from it all. They have now ruined it.

With the money that they make, I am certain that they could find a more suitable place and time to air their grievances instead of alienating at least half of their audience. Let football be what it is-a game. Get rid of the politics.

Where and when in our culture did we get sidetracked by the idea that because you can play a sport, sing or act, that you are now an enlightened political voice? I do not now nor have I ever expected someone in sports or entertainment to provide me with political commentary or guidance. they are not role models. I do not look up to them in any way and do not expect them to feel the need to be burdened with that responsibility.

So what do I think? Even though I disagree with those who do not stand, I will support your right to do so. For all of you athletes, actors and singers, please just shut up and play your game, act or sing your songs. That’s it. Nothing more. Until that time I won’t be watching the NFL or paying to go to the movies. I refuse to finance your incredibly hypocritical political views.

So for now, join me as I say F…(forget) the NFL.


There is no Zen in PC thought.

“Tolerance isn’t about not having beliefs. It’s about how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you.”

-Timothy Keller

We live in a pretty disturbing time. Yes, we have to contend with ISIS, economic woes, poverty and many other issues that consume our thoughts. But in the last couple of weeks, however, something more disturbing has come to the forefront and really needs to be examined.

Let me first say that I am no fan of political correctness. My friends, political correctness has run amok in this country. Our college campuses, high schools and society have fallen prey to the ideas of a few, and if you don’t agree with them, you are then branded a bigot among other things. Gone are the days when you could actually have an opposing thought, because if you don’t agree with a person or a group, then you have committed some form of unthinkable crime. Peter Thiel says that “the core problem in our society is political correctness.”

I firmly believe that we all strive to think and act in ways that correspond to a belief that most everyone is tolerant of others in society. Unfortunately this is not always the case. It seems that those who claim to be the most tolerant are not. I honestly can not comprehend how you can say that a person is racist, bigoted, homophobic or whatever because they don’t agree with you is acting in a tolerant manner. Noted author Ray A. Davis sums it up perfectly when he says that “tolerance only for those who agree with you is no tolerance at all.”

As a strong believer in the first amendment, it should be obvious that as long as you’re not threatening anyone or spreading any type of hate speech that could hurt someone, then what you say should be left alone. You shouldn’t be demonized, threatened and ostracized because of your beliefs. The beauty of the first amendment and living in the United States is that we are allowed to actively disagree with others who do not share the same thoughts.

I would like those who instantly have a guttural reaction to those who oppose them and vocalize it to rethink their reaction and ask themselves, “how is this being tolerant?”

In trying to be a more compassionate, and yes, a more tolerant person, I am trying to keep an open mind to other people. I’m not going to lie-this has proven to be a very difficult task. I do not agree with a great many things, but I refuse to resort to saying that someone is a racist etc. because they do not agree with me. What then can we do to truly show that we are tolerant?

First and foremost, everyone needs to accept the fact that people are not going to agree with everything that you say or think. Having this belief alone would considerably elevate the level of discussion in this country when it pertains to controversial issues,  

Second, let’s agree that just because someone disagrees with us that they instead choose another way of reacting than spewing hate back at your detractors. Accept what they have to say as what they believe. Resorting to the old responses of “you’re a racist or a homophobe” just doesn’t cut it anymore. If anything, it shows a distinct lack of intellectual depth and understanding of what free speech is.

Third, if you disagree with a radio program or a television show based on its content or message, turn it off. If you find a book, blog, newspaper article or any other written matter to be offensive, don’t read it. It really is as simple as that. As fervently as you hold your beliefs, so do people who disagree with you. And that is the point as well as the big picture.

As with earlier posts, you may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with hiking, and more importantly Zen Hiking?” I believe that a distinct correlation exists between the two. Being Zen in being able to live in the now, and not worry about what has happened in the past and what may happen in the future. We all want to live our lives as we choose without being afraid to express our views.

Taking the time to think while I hike has allowed me to do several things. I know that at work I have colleagues who have expressed differing viewpoints as to handle a situation. When I am out in the woods (especially this time of year) walking, thinking and breathing in the crisp autumn air gives me a chance to examine each side of a situation. Sometimes I stand firm and other times I am compelled to change my view based on what has been presented to me. Regardless of what the end result is, I have thought about it and can further articulate it when asked to do so. I am not blindly and ignorantly shutting down the ability to express opinions that differ from mine own.

Another colleague, whom I respect immensely, told me recently after a rather contentious discussion that she disagreed 100% with what I had to say. No name calling, no threats. A mutual disagreement among colleagues that did not end badly That is how it should be.

My point is a simple one. We all choose how we react to everything that happens to us everyday. We can choose to react passively or in anger. We can choose to react showing our ignorance. But, if we choose to do so, we can react in a manner that shows compassion and tolerance. Labeling and calling people names because they do not share our thoughts is the antithesis of actually being tolerant.

Think about these questions:

If I choose to react in a negative manner to those who disagree with me, how is that promoting any type pf beneficial discussion?

If I choose to accept the fact that other people will hold different beliefs, can that possibly hurt further discussion?

If I am at a point where I hold a very strong belief, can I at least get to a place where I can, at the very least, begin to understand where that other person is coming from?

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.