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Rights, Privileges and Peaceful Expression

I have recently been thinking a lot about all the chaos going on regarding COVID, restrictions and the protesting going on in our country and all over the world. It seems to be a never-ending cycle of mistrust and misinformation. I am forever grateful to have been born in a country that I am free to express my opinions, live my life as I see fit and have free healthcare accessible. All these things are a “right” and I hope to never take this for granted.

Here’s a bit of the problems I have notice lately though… People seem to be confusing rights and privileges a great deal.

A right is essentially something that cannot be denied, such as the rights to free speech, press, religion, and raising a family.

A privilege is something that can be given or taken away and is considered to be a special advantage or opportunity that is available only to certain people.

In my opinion, too many people are confusing these two ideas. I can say with certainty that I am privileged. I don’t fear walking on my street or stating my truth. I can go to a restaurant and eat my A&W teen burger whenever I like, but only if I adhere to their requirements of wearing a mask and being vaccinated. Eating at a restaurant is a privilege, not a right. No one is telling you that you can’t go to the grocery store, get yourself some beef, lettuce, buns and make your own burger at home. Access to food, healthcare, free speech, and expression are rights.

For me, I do not care if you are anti-vaccines or for vaccines. Truly, you are free to do as you please and I will not stop you. I, myself feel it is important to do what is being asked by our leaders and health authorities based on the principle of good faith, educating myself, and acting on my knowledge and feelings. Now, this is not to say that history has not shown extreme examples of misuse of this trust, and I can understand some hesitancy. It is very important to think, question and analyze all the information being thrown at us and determine for ourselves what truth is.

This is what I know to be true:

1. I am vaccinated. I have been vaccinated for many reasons. Some selfish, some not.

2. If I want to eat at a restaurant because I cannot be bothered to make my own meal, I do so per their requirements. It’s a privilege.

3. My friends and family who work in healthcare are working their asses off right now and do not deserve to be blocked from entering their places of work, nor put up with ANY disrespect. They are the heroes of this story.

4. Choosing what to put into your body is a right. Choosing not to have a vaccine is as choice. Your choice.

5. Please for the love of God, stop comparing this situation to Nazi Germany and the horrors that happened there. It’s not even comparable.

6. When I look back at this time in my life, I will not feel shame for peacefully making the best choices for me and my body. Will you be able to say the same thing? I hope so.

7. I love each one of you. Period.

Just as I have said in the past, you matter. Your thoughts, ideas, and actions matter. If you feel strongly about something, feel free to shout it out. I won’t stop you. We all deserve respect, but remember that respect is given, but can be lost just as easily. Let’s just try to respect what we consider “other” and show the world that we understand what empathy looks and feels like. Man, that would be an awesome world to live in!

Much Love

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