All we hear about these days is, "It's my right" to whatever; say what I want, go where I want, do what I want. Yeah. You'd be correct. Speaking from the point of view of an American, as a citizen of the United States, I do have certain freedoms. Speech, bearing arms, religion and all that. But those freedoms come with the responsibility of living with the consequences of my decisions and actions. Sure. I can say that I agree or disagree with gay marriage, but then I have to live with the backlash of whichever group disagrees with my opinion. I can decide to breastfeed in public, but then I have to live with the consequences of offending people that think baring my breasts in public should be considered indecent exposure. I can beat the crap out of my kids with a belt and defend my actions by saying, "It may not be the exact right thing to do, but at least my kids aren't shooting up their school." But then I have to live with my kids' hate and fear of me and the judgement of the public that believes that is abuse.
This week, two headlines have been going through my head. The first one is about the couple that changed their baby's diaper in the middle of a Starbucks. It's my opinion that the parents in question were incredibly rude and that it's just disgusting to wave around human excrement in a place where food is being served and consumed by the public. Also, the headlines for this story are so misleading. The Huffington Post, for example says, "Starbucks Diaper Change Prompts Call To Police". It wasn't the diaper change that caused the Starbucks' employees to call the police, it was the actions of the father, Alex Burgos, that prompted the call. According to the article, he became belligerent and purposely dumped coffee on the floor. Really raises my opinion of these people that they behave so childishly right after claiming they were doing nothing wrong in the first place. How would you feel if I changed my kids smelly, dirty, germ-laden diaper on your dining room table during dinner and then right after than, shoved the meat platter onto the floor for kicks? Those parents had other options than changing that diaper in the middle of the Starbucks. I've been the parent of two babies. I speak from experience.
Secondly, I just saw this article from our local news station this morning: "Group of Vets Refused Service at Oceanside Grill" According to the article, the Davino's Cabo Grill refused to serve a group of American Legion motorcyclists because of the vests they were wearing. The motorcyclists said that the vests were covered in pins and patches that were all military related. But, the grill has a policy not to allow patrons to "wear colors", no matter what those "colors" may or may not be associated with. I guess that this particular grill has had problems in the past with certain groups so they have a policy in place that doesn't allow people to wear clothing associating them with a group, any group.
As you know, my husband is a Marine. I also come from a very long line of veterans serving all branches of the military. I've even lived in a place where we didn't advertise being a military family because military service members were oftentimes the targets of violence and discrimination. Even so, a policy is a policy. This group wasn't being singled out. It's like a rep from the grill said, if they allow one group to get away with violating the policy, then they have to let everyone which, in the past, has led to fights and whatnot. It's my opinion that this business, or any business, should be allowed to protect their property and their patrons. The bikers had the option to remove the vests and then be served, but they refused. Free will exercised.
It's easy, at least to me, to see both sides to each of these two stories.
Sure. As a parent, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Been there, understand that. On the other hand, unless that baby had explosive diarrhea (in which case the baby should have been at home resting and not out on the town), I have a hard time believing that the parents had no other choice but to change that diaper in the sitting area of an establishment that serves food. I've been places where there wasn't a changing table in the restroom. I remember using the pad thingy that comes with diaper bags in the backseat of my car in those cases. If the situation was so immediate, why did the parents let the diaper get so full in the first place? Diapers hold a lot.
As for the Vets, I believe in the absolute respect of our nation's Veterans. But I don't believe that being a Veteran makes you exempt for rules and laws. They were expressing their freedom of speech but the restaurant was also expressing their freedom to refuse service.
All actions, opinions, and words have consequences. Be sure you're willing to deal with those consequences when people call you on your sh--, er, I mean crap. And now that I've used my freedom of speech to express my opinions, I have to be prepared to deal with people that disagree with me.
One last thing. Being a parent does not mean you get to behave like an inconsiderate, disrespectful, holier than thou, asshole. Being a parent does not put a golden bubble around you that allows you to violate other people's freedoms by being naked in public or exposing perfect strangers to fecal matter. Being a parent does not give you the right to behave like you are above the expected rules and norms of society. It certainly doesn't make you better than anyone else. Again. Just my opinion.
Ok. One more last thing. Maybe we, as Americans, should learn the difference between freedoms granted by the Constitution and free will. I'll explain what I mean. As a sentient human being, I have free will. This means that I am in control of myself and free will allows me to walk where I want, say what I want, behave how I want, etc. I could, right this minute, grab a gun and walk into a bank and and use my learned vocabulary to demand that they give me all their money. There is nothing physically stopping me from doing this. That's free will. Free will comes with consequences which means that my hypothetical actions would most likely result in my being jailed. The Constitution grants me the right to say what I want but it doesn't exempt me from negatively using my free will to say what I want when it threatens the safety of others. Those parents had the free will to change their baby's diaper in public. Free will didn't exempt them from being inconsiderate human beings. No man is an island. Unless you decide to cut yourself off from society 100%, you have to deal with the consequences of your actions. Get the difference???