Friday, January 28, 2011
Why Bother with Good Citizenship?
While growing up in the 80’s, our schools stressed good citizenship. If you came to school on time, didn’t miss too many days, and behaved well in class you received a citizenship award. Not to toot my own horn, but if my memory serves, I always received this award. I count this award as one of the few good things the public school system did. It emphasized what it meant to be a good citizen of this country.
As my life has gone on, I have maintained, I believe, that good citizenship status. Except for a short time in my 20’s, (hem,hem), I do my best to be on-time and present for all commitments (those of you who know me, be kind). I have a sense of duty, honor, commitment, and a deep respect for the law. I am not a perfect person by any means, but I can say I have never been convicted or accused of a crime, nor committed any to my knowledge (again, leaving out that time in my 20s).
However, even with this good citizenship status I am being treated like society has reason to suspect me of criminal behavior or at least not good citizenship.
Three times this weekend people have assumed that I, an upstanding citizen of this community, have the potential and probability to commit a crime, be rude to fellow movie-goers, and disrespect an establishment I patronize frequently.
First, we went to see Harry Potter this weekend. We took the whole family to see it. (I don’t want to hear anything about the PG-13 rating. We have been following Harry from the beginning and aren’t stopping now.) We waited in a disorganized line at the local theater, Corydon Cinemas. As we entered I was asked to open my bag so they could check to see if I had a video camera. Now, I don’t look the type to break copyright laws. I am a mom with 3 kids and husband in tow. How many moms do you know who can handle a camera while taking care of 3 kids and get a good enough picture to sell to anyone? Only because I choose to carry a purse was I presumed guilty before proven innocent.
Second, we were some of the first to enter the theater so we found pretty good seats. Against my better nature, we sat in the middle of a row. I figured the kids would have to potty a million times and they did. Right off the bat J, our son, had to go. P took him to the bathroom and decided to grab us some very expensive slushies. While he was gone the usher came around and asked everyone to move and leave no empty seats between them. I told my daughter who had an empty seat on either side of her to stay where she was. Later the usher came up to me personally and told me we would have to move together. I said, “Oh, well these are seats for my husband and son and they will be right back.” He said, “Ma’am, you can’t save seats.” I said in an irritated voice, “They were just here and my son needed to go to the bathroom.” Then something snapped inside. I said, “I am NOT moving. You get your manager in here and I will tell him the same thing.” The kid just said, “Yes Ma’am,” and high-tailed it away from me.
Now, let me explain. Usually I have so much more tolerance for kids like this usher, who obviously are new to the work force. They know very little about good customer service and they just follow the company’s policies without much thought. Today, however, I was pretty hot over the whole airline search and scan issue. I am pretty tired of being pushed around so that I can pay people to provide me with services which I certainly can get by without, but choose to spend our hard earned money at, not to mention the violation of individual rights, which I will address shortly.
So, to put it mildly, I have a short fuse about this issue.
Finally, today, Sunday, we decided to go out to eat for lunch. We went to Pizza King, where they have TVs in the booths and a train that delivers drinks. We love that place. The pizza isn’t very good, but I usually will get a Stromboli and the kids and dad get a pizza. It all works out. Today though, because we had 8 people in our party we were going to have to sit in the regular dining room and forego the TV and the train. When we entered, I told the hostess that we had 8 and she said she could seat us in the dining room. I said, “Actually, we would like to have 2 booths—one for us, and one for the kids.”
“We aren’t allowed to do that,” she said. I asked why. “Because, first, we don’t have two booths together right now.”
I said, “Well, putting that aside for a moment, because we might be willing to wait, what are the other reasons?”
She said, “We don’t allow the kids to sit separate from the parents and because it would mean two different servers.”
I just said ok, we will go somewhere else. Our friends’ mouths dropped open. “Why don’t we just eat in this room?”
“Because,” I said, “I don’t come here for the food; we come here for the TVs and the train, the pizza isn’t that good.”
Also, what I didn’t get to tell him—that I will tell you—I am sick to death of people assuming I am not going to be a good citizen because of other people’s bad behavior. This establishment is so cowardly, that it won’t ask parents to control their children or get out. Instead, I am inconvenienced to eat their terrible pizza and miss out on the atmosphere just because I have children and more than 5 people in the party. Well then, FINE. You won’t get my money.
I said right in front of the hostess that we should go down the street to the other Italian restaurant, The Spaghetti Shop, and we did. It was great food and there was more than one family in that establishment who sat their children at different tables—the proverbial kid’s table. The kids were ALL well-behaved and we had a great time.
Might I also add that we have the greatest friends in the world to put up with me.
Back to the topic of individual rights: why, I ask, should I bother with being a good citizen if I am going to be assumed to be a bad one? Isn’t this a violation of my individual rights? Am I not to be presumed innocent until proven guilty?
In this country, we spend a lot of time being worried about group rights. If we found that a group of people were being asked to open their bags and others weren’t, would we not scream about discrimination? Why should I open my bag? Why is it the business’ right to assume I am going to break the law just because I have a bag? That is absolutely ridiculous!
Why should a business assume that because our party has 4 kids in tow that they will misbehave without us sitting right on top of them? I have seen more than a few parents who allow their children to misbehave even when they are sitting right next to them! Sometimes the parents misbehave as well!
Why should I give up a seat for my husband and my child because other people gripe about not sitting together because they didn’t get to the movie theater in time? It isn’t like I am some teenager who is saving a whole row of seats and won’t let a lady with a baby sit down! That has happened to me personally, by the way.
And then there is the airline search and scan issue—why is it that I, an upstanding citizen (I know, I have said that already), should have to submit to either being seen nude or sexually assaulted because I am 3rd in line? Words are coming to mind here that I will not type out. I will replace them with this:
GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH.
That is the point I am now at. It does sound radical doesn’t it? More and more, I am starting to relate to Patrick Henry. I am inspired by this phrase. There is a Tea Party meeting with my name on it. I am so sick of politicians, liberal activists, and public brainwashed lemmings who want to push me around, take my money, and force me to believe what they believe.
GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH.
Who do they think they are? Do they think that their products and services are so great that I won’t walk away? They are right about many people. Many people will open their purse, get up and move, eat nasty pizza, and allow someone to grope them just to keep the status quo. Not me.
GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH.
Why should I have to be violated to prove I am not a terrorist? The many are now more important than the few, or the one. I am reminded of Star Trek. “How many does it take, Admiral, before it becomes wrong?” Picard asks Vice-Admiral Dougherty (my husband helped me out with this part). How many people have to be violated until we stand up and say:
GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH?
This is my battle cry. I am not going to support the status quo. If you don’t treat my family and me with respect you will not receive my business or my vote. If you try to push me around, I will push back. If you want to see in my bag you better be willing to give me a cash refund, not a gift certificate if you don’t make me aware before I buy my tickets. If you aren’t willing to allow me to wait for the seats I want and trust that I won’t allow my children to misbehave you will lose my business. If you think you are going to scan me or frisk me because I am 3rd in line I will not fly the “friendly skies.” And, when it comes to time to vote I will throw everything I have in support of the politicians who share my battle cry!
GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH.
I am a good citizen and I will remain as such. I will not allow the establishments I frequent or the politicians I vote for to play to the lowest common denominator any more. If you want my business you are going to have to show me that you respect my individual rights—my right to live free or die…or at least go somewhere else.
Thank you Patrick Henry for reminding us of the importance of liberty at all levels. Yes, there are people in the world who have no freedom. Who am I to grip about a minor infraction like opening my purse or being searched? I will tell you. I am the posterity that our forefathers so often spoke of. People have died for this great amount of liberty I enjoy and I will not turn my back on even one small infraction because small infractions add up. Inch by inch we give a little bit of our liberty away. We are frogs in the warming water. One day we will wake up and find we are in a pot of boiling water with no way out.