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Safe Zone and Merry Christmas

I hope you had a Merry Christmas. If Christmas isn’t your thing, I hope you had a good holiday while Christians were celebrating the birth of Jesus. I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings by wishing you a Merry Christmas. Getting one’s feelings hurt all the time apparently is the American way today. We get upset by all types of perceived slights.

“Did you see that? He didn’t wave back at me!” Maybe he didn’t see you. Maybe he was preoccupied. Maybe he can’t stand the sight of you. All three things are possible.

If he didn’t see you, it really could be that simple. Or it could be that you think you are the center of attention and everyone is supposed to be looking at you. I tend to go with he didn’t see me. But I forget “slights” pretty easily, so it doesn’t really matter to me.safe zone

If he was preoccupied, maybe it is that simple. He has a lot on his mind. The national debt? His debt? A sick child? His fantasy team is mired in a losing streak? We have a lot to worry about these days. My friend, Kanu Dodia, explains that many people of Indian heritage are late to appointments because they have figured that we only have one life to live, “What is the rush?” There is some truth to that, but being on time seems like good manners to me. However, I have been late more than once. We are stressed out despite the fact that modern technology is supposed to make our lives easier. Still waiting on that.

Finally, maybe he can’t stand you. After all, you slighted him last time, although you didn’t know it. Or he really dislikes you. Or he doesn’t like your politics, your red car or your handsome spouse. Who knows why? He just doesn’t like you.

Liberty is a beautiful thing. We don’t all have to like everything about each other, our beliefs or our country. But I submit, we do need to listen to each other. We get all worked up about how pig-headed the other side can be, so we cut them off. We don’t want to listen. Our viewpoint is the only viewpoint that matters.

The “safe zones” that some college kids want to have, where only their beliefs are what they hear, is unsafe at any level. Hey, you want a safe zone? Go home. Live in your parents basement. If mom and dad leave you alone, you’ve got a safe zone. Chances are that dad isn’t going to give you much of a safe zone though. He’s probably going to tell you to take out the trash. Pay some bills. Contribute to the home.

But on a public college campus, get ready to hear things that you might not want to hear. Me? I heard and saw that I wasn’t nearly as smart as I thought I was. Georgia Tech can be humbling, especially when you aren’t a rocket scientist. I didn’t have time for political indoctrination, I was too busy figuring out calculus. If you need a safe zone to feel comfortable, I submit that a college campus isn’t the place for you. Public streets aren’t either. Buy your “safe zone” and live there, but in the American experiment that we call liberty, you must be tolerant of opposing views, or walk away, or engage in a debate, but outlawing the other side is definitively Un-American.

Again, Merry Christmas.

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