I don't know about anyone else, but I get a tad bit pissed when someone tells me what my country is supposedly like and that if I don't like it or at least accept it and conform to it, I can get out.
This has come up in my presence a few times at work this season though I was never the recipient of this ridiculous phrase, it bothers me to hear it at all.
Instance 1This is not your country to pick and choose what you want it to be and have always been, regardless of what your personal logic or specific interpretation of history tells you. America is supposed to be for everyone. Majority is not supposed to rule here, we are a democratic republic, not a democracy.
National health care came up as a topic and then a debate which led to me, my boss, and two other co-workers in the office talking about this and that. We started to talk about civil rights. I said that I felt that civil rights were paramount and that anyone should be allowed to do anything they please as long as their actions don't hurt anyone else directly. My boss agreed and started talking about gun laws. Yes, just so everyone is clear - Seattle might be the hipster capital of the nation but we regular Washingtonians love our liberal social stances and we love our guns. Personally, I was raised to both respect and detest guns so I'm not big into them, but I also don't oppose other people owning guns outright.
Back to the story, my boss then continues to say that our manager doesn't believe in public gun ownership but does support gay marriage. Essentially, my manager wants his rights and will cry persecution and civil liberties and everything else in order to get his equal rights, yet he feels he can tell someone else that they can't own a gun - a topic which is specifically mentioned in our nation's constitution. I thought that was a good point, though the comparison of marriage rights to ownership of a deadly weapon seemed fuzzy to me and I started mulling it over when my boss made that terribly American mis-step:
"The constitution protects our gun rights. If he [our boss] doesn't like it, he can get out of my country."
My sweetie and I were outside talking to another co-worker and the topic of drug legislature and punishments assigned to drug related crimes came up. My co-worker was arguing that marijuana is a 'gateway drug' and should be treated as harshly as heroine or cocaine. My sweetie brought up how much more destructive alcohol is and how the only destructive aspects of marijuana currently are the issues which are directly caused by the substance being illegal to posses in most states. His argument was that the punishment created the only existing issues which are often sited by police and government sources when asked why marijuana should be kept illegal. If negatives affects on the user can be sited as reason to keep a substance illegal, how can alcohol possibly be kept legal while weed is against the law?
My co-worker looked at him and said; "Well, that's how this country works. If you don't like it, you can just get out. Get out of my country."
Benjamin Franklin once said: Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
We are a nation whose focus is liberty, not majority rule. No law is too absolute to question and no group is so large that it is allowed elevated importance over even the tiniest minority. At least that's how it's supposed to be. Liberty and justice for all.