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There is a huge difference between how, and for what causes, people used to fight for in the past in this country, and how we do so now.

In essence in the past people were fighting for their rights as human beings, as guaranteed under the US Constitution.  With no dependence or trust to any group except for those that were willing to help in their own interest and in their own rights.  Now we have people basically going out for their ‘cut’ what they feel they are due by a society that has treated them poorly.  Not their rights, and that everyone must conform to them because they feel that they have a legitimate grievance.

Which is their right to do so, they have the freedom of speech, the press, and to assemble.  But, I can wonder at the difference that it is causing in the national debate right now.

Through every other time in our history we have had movements based on fighting within the law, within due process, and with peace and humility to try to get the rights…that they already had, under the US Constitution.  All of the big debates.  Tragically the Civil War was the exception to the rule.

Sometimes they had to use the power of the law to help them, and sometimes the ‘law’ and the power of the Federal and other Governments were against them.  And yet they fought.  For the rights that were afforded them as humans, and as American Citizens.

Martin Luther King, and the Civil Rights movement through the 50s, and 60s, are an important example of this.  Fighting for their right to not be discriminated against by government institutions, to be afforded the same right to a seat on the bus, to get the choice of whatever they wanted to do.  They were fighting mainly for their right to choose, what to do and where to go.

To not be discriminated against by any perspective organization.

Or in the case of labour they were fighting for their right to make the wages that they thought that they should make.  To work, or not work, if they so chose until conditions had improved for them.  And often it was the Government who stood in the way of such change as that.

But now in a good part of society, and by a lot of different groups of minorities are now being fighting for the things that they are owed.  That they feel that they have been owed since the beginning.  Through things like affirmative action, reparations, redistributing the wealth, giving someone else something so that we may make up for all of our sins.

Or they are fighting for their own rights, but with no regard to the rights that they may be taking away from others.

It’s an interesting difference, one that I am not sure of the full implications of.  I blog, you decide 😛

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4 Comments

  1. Awesome point!! And I agree. There is a big difference between fighting for your basic rights that you have been denied….and fighting for things that just make your life better than the other guy or fighting to just get a piece of what the other guy has. This truly is a problem in our society and these differences have blurred somewhere along the lines.

  2. Fighting for one’s rights vs. fighting for what one is owed. There’s a very fine line between the two and how does one delineate? I don’t know of any legal precedent to address such a matter–only a moral one that I’ve experienced and one that I will write of to illustrate the point. This story happens to have the virtue of being the complete and absolute truth.

    I once knew a blind man. This man was not born blind but because of the actions of others (at least this is what he claims) he gradually lost his eyesight in his teenage years. He was also the victim of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. The man is now almost 30 years old. After surviving through all this, one can only imagine what such experiences are like.

    Is this man owed rights? Absolutely. He is afforded many government benefits and rights under the American Disabilities Act. However, what his rights are and what he is owed are completely different things.

    He is owed a normal life, with normal sight. But that is not what the world gave him. He would want that life like any other person but the unfortunate truth is the world cannot give him that life. He’ll never have that life and must do with what he has.

    For most people, the immediate reaction to such a person and his situation would be things like pity or sympathy. I have neither for this man and after reading the rest of this entry, it will be evident why.

    This man became extremely embittered by his experiences. It is understandable that this happened. Because he could not hurt the people who hurt him, the blind man slowly but surely became as cruel, hateful, and deceitful as the people who blinded him. Eventually he became as physically abusive as the people in his past. It’s a great irony that he became just like the very people he hated. It’s also a great irony that this blind man is a deeply religious Christian.

    His physical blindness also led to a spiritual blindness. A false sense of entitlement began in him–a belief that the world somehow owed him much more than rights. Because of his spiritual blindness he did not see that things like respect, admiration, trust, friendship, and ultimately love, were things to be EARNED and not handed to him because of his blindness. When he was denied these things because of bad behavior, his reaction was unbelievably violent. He manipulated and assaulted the wife who had tried to love him unconditionally. He treated his guide dog better than his own wife. Likewise could be said for his friends. Worst of all, he was so entrenched in his own religiosity that he could not see the hypocrisy of all that raged around him.

    Of course, it was only a matter of time before someone had to draw a line against such cruelty. And inevitably, yours truly was the one who had to take up the burden of that effort. I had no choice in the matter because this man was a roommate at the time. After enduring endless months of lies, insults, threats, and after great personal cost to myself (including financial costs), I and two other people managed to eject this man from the house we were living in. He of course, did not go quietly. After a tense final month, he was eventually forced out.

    The heart of the story is this. What happened to this blind man in his past was terrible. No one disputes that. However, his troubled past does not give him license to act with cruelty to others, to demand respect without earning it, or to receive admiration where none is due. His past does not give him any excuse whatsoever to commit a wrong in order to set something right. And the hard truth is, no matter how terrible someone’s past is, no matter what they have endured, it does NOT give a person reason to commit any wrong of any kind, nor does it absolve the person of responsibility for his actions and his life.

    The blind man WAS owed rights. But the other things he felt entitled to were things that could not be given to him without being earned or otherwise be wrongfully taken from someone else. Right now there are thousands of people in this country who believe they are fighting for their “rights.” But I think they’re wanting what they feel entitled to. That is not something that can–or perhaps should–be given to them.

  3. Wow incredible story and I agree but I think what you refer to as rights and entitlement are clearly two separate things it’s just with handicapped people sometimes we get caught up in this and the lines do blur. I have a handicapped child who is protected under the IDEA and the ADA. I however know as a parent and primary caregiver of my disabled child that even though he has rights as an individual and as his care giver I cannot interfere with his rights, deny them or prevent him for access to his rights….I cannot allow him to infringe upon my rights either. That is why you have to be connected with a good network of people who understand these lines in the sand. If you have a handicapped person they cannot be denied access to a “normal” quality of life…but it does not entitle them to harm others or essentially break the law. Let’s face it…your friend was breaking the law with his abuse and that needed to be addressed by competent care givers so that he could get the mental and emotional supports he needed to be helped and healed. Actually I would challenge the environment he was living in and wondering why he was not given those supports because clearly from your story he was still very emotionally crippled and needed professional help. Did he have access to it?? Did he have help and the resources to get such help?? I don’t know. But that would be an important question to ask. I would have to make sure he had access to the proper resources he needed for help and healing. Now if he were assured access to these treatments and resources but refused them and continued on knowing he was harming others then that is when social services needs to be involved to try and determine the extent of what needs to be done…because like any other citizen he is not exempt from the law and abusing other people is not only a sin against God but it is a crime.
    So while I do at times feel, as the mother of a handicapped child. like hiding behind his disabilities in order to have an excuse for my depression or lack of life or special treatment or whatever, I try and remember that it is not his disability that defines me and what I can or cannot do in life….But it is what insures for my son, what rights he has, that he has access to his rights and I cannot prevent him from experiencing a normal quality of life, but that as his caregiver in this process I do not give up my rights either. We are both, regardless of our abilities or disabilities bound by our laws and when those are infringed upon it is a criminal act period.

    • The thing about the blind man is that he was given access to the proper resources and care. However, he did not use those resources properly. After much verbal sparring and cornering him, a group of us finally forced the truth out of him.

      He concealed the fact he was declared a 5150 by the state in the past. In California police codes, a 5150 is a danger to themselves and others. If I had known the truth, I would NEVER have agreed to live with him. After hard questioning he admitted that in the past he consistently lied to get out of counseling because he didn’t trust in counselors or their methods. It became apparent to us that we were dealing with a borderline pathological liar and calling him out on his dishonesty resulted in psychological or physical violence.

      He has begged me and others to not turn him into social services. Believe me, I would like nothing more than to do just that. However, as with any law enforcement situation, there is what we know to be true, and what we can PROVE. Sadly, much of what happened between me and him can’t be easily substantiated. Specifically, the people who witnessed the altercations between me and him are now unwilling to take action to hold him accountable. They feel that it’s emotionally too much trouble to press for an inquest. Consequently, I can only let the matter drop–albeit not quietly.

      I’m not concerned so much with the legal implications at this point as with the moral ones. He was essentially taking advantage of his disability to garner emotional sympathy from others and to forcibly impose his will on his wife. Every time she would not comply with him, he would use guilt as a weapon against her, though in truth she did nothing wrong.

      Additionally, his habitual dishonesty led him to believe that he was somehow an incredibly righteous man before God and that the rest of us who were contending with him were the ones with the problem. This man seemed to me more blind than Saul of Tarsus.

      Now he claims to have changed. His consistent dishonesty in the past has made it virtually impossible for me and others to ever trust him again.

      And that kind of dishonesty I feel is at the heart of the problem with those who are now demanding what is entitled to them–those wanting their “cut.” They are abusing the system at the expense of those who really need the resources, especially people with autism. As long at this behavior continues, those who really need care, resources, and having their rights affirmed will be overshadowed by those who just want what they feel is owed to them.


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