Me? A Nazi sympathizer?

Yeah, it’s the first time I think I have ever been called that on social media, and it was because I had the gall to say that the nazis have the right to speak and march.

I stand by my statement. I believe in defending all political speech, and especially speech we hate. Speech we all agree with doesn’t need protecting.

“But all nazis are bad guys” is the general response, although usually cloaked in better words than that. But who but who gets to decide that? The government? This government? The one whose current leader thinks there are nazis who are “good people”?

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Once you open that door, it will be next to impossible to close it again. You give the government the power to declare that all nazis are bad guys and therefore their 1st Amendment rights are null and void, and you know that the next step will be Muslims, and then gays, and then atheists, and then liberals…

Now, don’t get confused: Actual, real, immediate threats can always be stopped whether they come from the right or the left. Inciting a riot is a crime no matter what you may be saying. That is not the same thing as prior restraint on the speech. If nazis are causing violence, you arrest their sorry asses and punish them according to the law just like you should do with anyone like that, because you’re punishing their actions and not their speech.

But the 1st Amendment is meaningless if we only apply it to speech we all agree with.

Taking the country back from the bullies

“When they go low, we go high,” Michelle Obama said.

Well, that didn’t work.

Liberals and progressives are now mad and are refusing to “take the high road” and look the other way. We’re fighting back.  And it’s about time.

Bullies will continue to bully you unless you fight back. You have to be willing to be just as aggressive as they are.

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We’re not used to thinking like that. We liberals tend to want to work with others, and try to understand others. It’s due to the empathy we have that most conservatives are missing.

And that’s how conservatives have won over the years — by pushing their way in, by bullying, by demeaning anyone they disagree with, and by cheating (through gerrymandering, blocking legislation and appointments, and — let’s face it — by breaking the law). I am not advocating that we do these things at all. I am saying we have to stop allowing them to get away with it.

And we’re moving in that direction. We’re fighting back. We’re punching nazis. We’re staging counter protests. Recently, the alt-right’s rally in Washington DC turned out to have only about two dozen participants, facing off against hundreds of counter-protesters. The organizers of the march said some of their members did not attend because they didn’t want the confrontation, because, like all bullies, they can dish it out but they can’t take it.

Being nice only allows those who are not nice to take advantage of us. It’s how con men operate and it’s how the bad guys win. Wars are not won by “going high when they go low.”

Get angry. Fight back.

Win.

 

Discriminating against assholes

There is a massive nazi/right-wing march this weekend in Washington for some reason. Like these people have something to complain about with the Trump administration?  Who knows with these idiots?

Anyway, many restaurants, taxi services, and businesses are refusing to serve these people.

“But wait,” the stupids reply. “You left-wingers object when we want to refuse service to gay people because we don’t approve of their choices, yet here you are refusing service to us for the exact same reason!”

Their inability to understand the difference is the root of the problem.a2668b92-7c26-4736-b568-feb08d471e03-ax098_4a00_9

You should not be discriminated against for two major things: (1) Things you have no control over (such as your sex, race, country of origin, and sexual orientation); and (2) Your religion or lack thereof (because that is specifically in the Constitution).

But choices you make?  That’s not protected, especially when those choices could have an affect on the business itself.

Just like a business can say “No shoes, no shirt, no service” it can refuse to accept someone who will hurt their business or cause a scene. Remember that Trump supporter that went into a gay bar just after the election mostly to rub the election results in the face of everyone else there? Kicking him out may have prevented a fight and certainly he wasn’t there just to enjoy the food.

People who run these businesses in Washington DC have many minority employees. They have people who seriously could be threatened by these yahoos who, last time they had a rally, killed innocent people.

While I support the right of nazis to march, because I don’t want the government deciding who gets free speech and who doesn’t, I also support the right of citizens to make these nazis’ lives as difficult as possible.

 

 

Birthday lesson: Don’t have regrets

Today’s my 60th trip around the sun. I look in the mirror and see a guy with bags under his eyes, gray in his beard, and wispy hair barely covering a balding head. That’s a scary thought, especially when I consider where I thought I’d be at this point in my life.

There are paths I chose in my life that, in retrospect, I wish I had not. But when I reflect on what I have accomplished, I’m fairly proud. This is the kind of retrospection everyone should do, and if you’re not pleased with what you find, to remember that it is never too late to make a change. grouchoYou only have one life, after all. This isn’t a computer game where you can start over and create a new character.

So let’s start with this: Try not to have big regrets.

Act on your dreams. No one was ever on their death bed saying, “I’m so glad I never tried to accomplish that dream of mine!”

I’ve done a lot of different things in my life. I’ve been successful at some, and not so much at others. (You’ll forgive me if I reminisce a bit here.)

When I was a kid, I decided I wanted to be an actor. So my mom took me to community theater, and I passed auditions and was in a number of plays. (I continued on through High School.)

Then I wanted to be a cartoonist. I ended up drawing comics for my school newspapers all the way through law school.

I thought it would be great to be in a band, so I taught myself guitar, bass and piano. I played in many bands and still do from time to time.

In High School, I decided to start an “underground” newspaper. It became quite popular, although it was more like Mad Magazine than a real newspaper. (I continued to write for the college and law school papers and later did a column for the Allston-Brighton Item, a real newspaper in Boston.)

Then I said, “I should write a musical comedy.” I did, and the High School drama coach liked it. The school put it on. It was held over an extra week and got good reviews from the local paper.

In college, I decided to run for the student government and received the highest number of votes of any candidate, and was later awarded the college’s Student Service Award in my senior year. I also became the college radio station’s Program Director.

Then I decided to go to law school, mostly because I was interested in politics. I became involved with the Massachusetts chapter of Americans for Democratic Action and ended up as their President for a year. I also worked as a lobbyist, and was campaign manager for a state representative for a summer.

After law school, I said, “There should be a magazine for animated films,” and started Animato!, which later grew into a real magazine carried in book stores everywhere.

Then I joined up with some friends and began one of the first live-action fantasy medieval role-playing games in America. I later broke away and started the Alliance LARP, which now has been running for more than 25 years. I have chapters all over the United States and Canada, and the Discovery channel even did a documentary about us. (Yes, you watch it on Netflix and yes, that’s me and my wife Heidi being interviewed.) We even had a booth at the New York Renaissance Faire for many years, which we sold when Heidi’s medical condition prevented her from working.

About ten years ago, I decided I wanted to write fiction, and I have so far published three novels and a bunch of short stories (no, they’re not self-published) as well as edited a few anthologies, featuring NY Times bestselling authors. A few were even made into audio books with professional actors reading the stories. I even have an agent now, and I started the Pocono Liars Club, a group of local writers who sponsor workshops and seminars.

Now, were all of these things successful? Absolutely not. I tried to make a living at the LARP but instead ended up living in poverty for a few years. My books are not best-sellers. My bands may have played all the big clubs but we never got a record deal. I gave up on the cartooning and never pursued the acting.

I’ve had regrets about life, just like everyone. But they are rarely of the “I wish I had tried that” variety.

And that’s today’s lesson: Take control and make things happen in your life. There is no “Life Fairy” who will come along, point a magic wand, and make all your dreams come true. Sitting around and watching TV won’t get you anywhere. Get off your butt and do something. Make something of your life.

Make sure that when you’re on your death bed, you have no big regrets.