I have a confession to make. But before I do, perhaps some background information is in order. I am a woman, 5 foot 4 inches tall, and I weigh 127 pounds soaking wet. I usually shy away from arguments or confrontation of any kind.
My family has a strong military background. My grandfather, my father, my husband and two sons served honorably in the U.S. military.
I tell you this because each of my men fought to give you and me the freedoms we have today, particularly the right to free speech.
Freedom of speech is defined as the right of a person to express any opinions without censorship or restraint, even if some people feel offended.
However, I believe free speech does not grant the right to be intentionally offensive with words designed or intended to provoke another into a verbal or physical altercation.
I try not to wear my opinions on my sleeve, particularly political ones. I enjoy a good spirited political conversation. I have voted for candidates on both sides of the issues.
But I also believe there is an appropriate time and place for expressing political views.
A nice Saturday afternoon on the Ajijic Malecon with people enjoying the Zombie Thriller Dance is NOT the place or time.
As my friends and I were enjoying the beginning of the show, a female directly behind us began to make some rather loud political comments that were certainly not appropriate for the venue. I felt her comments were intended to inflame people around her. I stated that the remarks being made might just as well apply to any former administration.
I told my friend that the comments seemed out of place and I was saddened that people felt the need to make this event political.
I guess my voice was louder than I intended but, nonetheless, the woman’s friend was expressing the same sentiment as me!
In “Maxine Waters” fashion she began to explode in a tirade, dropping F-bombs, screaming that we were not wanted here that we should leave – that we were awful people. Never mind that she didn’t even know us or our political views.
As the woman continued her tirade, seeming to try to provoke a response, I tried to explain that people were out trying to have a good time and that she was inappropriate.
Another female expressed the desire to “get physical” with the woman. Of course, the war of words began, with each woman getting her two cents in.
In a split second the confrontation stopped! But as we returned our attention to the festivities, the female behind us began her tirade again. It was becoming evident that she was trying to create an incident as she continued her offensive tantrum.
At this point I felt I had two choices: continue to escalate the scene by engaging her in a verbal argument, which would serve no purpose other than to rile up the crowd and destroy everybody’s afternoon, or think of a way to stop her.
I relay the story to you for two reasons:
1. Please remember there is a time and a place to express political views. A public outing with children close enough to hear vulgar language is not an appropriate place.
2. When you meet somebody that may have a different viewpoint, perhaps it would be better to invite them for a cup of coffee and have a logical, civil discussion. You might find that you have more in common than you thought.
And now for my confession.
I am “the lady in the orange dress” that decided in a split second to stop being verbally abused by someone because of their political views of me, whether real or perceived.
I slapped that woman across her face!
It definitely had the desired effect. She shut up – immediately.
I then took a step forward, looked her in the eyes and asked her, “Now what?”
During her verbal diatribe, the woman’s friend repeatedly told her that she needed to leave, be quiet, that she was out of line. She even asked the woman, “Why do you always do this?”
I stood my ground, and thankfully she decided to move to the back of the crowd with no further incident.
I’m not proud of the decision I made. I realize my actions could’ve had the opposite effect. But it definitely seemed to serve the purpose at the moment by derailing what could’ve been a much uglier incident.
At the end of the day, follow the golden rules: Treat others as you wish to be treated, with consideration, kindness and respect. If you knowingly choose to do otherwise, be prepared for the consequences you may be provoking.
“Throwing a temper tantrum in public is a sure way to get a spanking.” That little pearl of wisdom was bestowed upon me by my parents.
In case you’re wondering, I consider myself PC.
A Proud Conserva-tarian (fiscal conservative/social libertarian).
Ella Frew, Ajijic