Scoot: We owe it to our fallen soldiers to understand our rights!
Memorial Day weekend is the emotional beginning of summer! Even for adults who no longer have a school schedule, Memorial Day weekend inspires a “summertime” mentality that was part of our lives growing up and spending twelve important years in our young lives in school. Every year, we celebrated the beginning of summertime on Memorial Day weekend.
Growing up in New Orleans, it was customary to go to the beach with family when we were young and then as adults when we had families. Backyard BBQs, picnics and outdoor activities define Memorial Day weekend.
Leading up to Memorial Day weekend every year, Americans are exposed to numerous radio and TV commercials that give the impression that the best way to celebrate Memorial Day is by shopping and buying something on sale.
What is often lost with the commercialization that surrounds all American holidays is the true meaning of our holidays – and Memorial Day is no exception.
Memorial Day is a national holiday to remember the men and women who died while serving in the military. We all see and hear the acknowledgement of those who died serving our country, but hopefully, that alone does not satisfy our responsibility to remember the men and women who died serving in the military that continues to protect our freedoms.
Parents should talk to their children about Memorial Day and the freedoms we have in America, and that people gave their lives protecting the freedoms that allow any of us the opportunity to celebrate this day in our own special way. Couples and individuals should also take a moment to actually think about what it means to live in America and the price that was paid to create and protect the great nation we live in today.
Over the past few weeks, there have been topics discussed on “The Scoot Show” on WWL that serve to remind us that our most basic freedoms are often misunderstood and not respected.
When a racist rant by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling from a conversation with his girlfriend was released to the media, many argued that Sterling was expressing his feelings and the NBA’s and the public’s judgment essentially demonstrated that we really no longer have a right to freedom of speech in America. That observation was also made when “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson made harsh anti-gay comments in a newspaper interview and more recently, during an Easter sermon in a Louisiana church.
Criticism of words and thoughts expressed while individuals are speaking freely has led to questions about the First Amendment.
Gun-rights activists bringing guns into family restaurant settings have stirred controversy and questions about our Second Amendment rights. Chipotle and Chili’s restaurants have recently reacted to groups of gun-rights activists carrying their guns into family restaurants, apparently to just make a point about their Second Amendment rights.
Last year, Starbucks issued a statement telling its customers they are not allowed to bring their weapons into any Starbucks location – which immediately prompted cries that our precious Second Amendment rights were being violated.
On this Memorial Day 2014, let’s set the record straight on these recent challenges to our First and Second Amendment rights. Reaction to what is said when someone is exercising their right to freedom of speech is not an indication that freedom of speech in America is no longer protected or respected. Americans have always been held accountable for the meaning of what they say. The only thing that changes is how society interprets and judges words and ideas - but that does not constitute a violation of freedom of speech.
Gun-rights advocates flaunting their Second Amendment rights by toting weapons into family restaurants and displaying their weapons openly on tables does not reflect the true spirit of gun rights in America. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms for protection – not for making a point by intimidating other Americans.
Any restaurant or any business that does not allow customers to carry weapons into their location is not infringing on Second Amendment rights. The restaurants should not be criticized for establishing that rule – the gun-rights activists should be criticized for their obvious misinterpretation of the Second Amendment.
Hysteria and paranoia run deep in America. Many Americans have been convinced that our freedom of speech and gun rights are no longer respected and being taken away – but there seems to be no concrete evidence to support those concerns.
As Americans who are reaping the benefits of living in a free nation that was created and is protected by those who gave their lives serving in our military, we should be responsible for understanding our rights and not falling prey to fringe misinterpretation designed to create panic - which only distracts from the real meaning and understanding of our rights.
Happy Memorial Day!