Everyone has likely seen this image.
It is a pretty famous image of a single person standing in a crowd of people, being the only person refusing to salute someone in the distance. You’ll often see this person being held up as a true hero by everyone in political thought. ‘The left’, ‘the right’, and everyone in between use it to show the virtues of standing up against something you find immoral, even if you’re the only one doing it.
It is important that we recognize that standing up against something isn’t inherently moral or immoral; it all depends on what we’re rebelling against. We can all agree that if we’re standing up against senseless genocide, it is noble. And one of the beautiful things about this country is that we have the liberty to stand up against something that we deem unfit for compliance, and not be thrown in jail.
One of the most important aspects about our freedom of speech/association is that we have the right do refuse to comply with an authoritarian government, but this right is being eroded away.
According to many on the political right (which includes many conservatives and republicans), you simply do not have the right to stand up against the authoritarianism if this means you are doing something they may not like. Many conservatives and republicans have proposed jail time for those who have exercised their first amendment right to burn the flag or to remain seated during the national anthem. And these same conservatives/republicans will berate democrats/progressives for using the exact same tactics for their own pet issues.
According to those on the political left (which includes democrats/liberals and progressives), you simply do not have the right to stand up against authoritarianism if this means you are doing something they do not like. Something you say can easily be classified as “hate speech” if it offends someone. Many progressives want to pass laws that would legalize using your tax dollars to fund abortion procedures. And these same democrats/progressives will berate conservatives/republicans for using the exact same tactics for their own pet issues.
These examples are not exhaustive, obviously.
Both the right and the left are treading dangerously close to being selectively totalitarian, while expressing disdain for those on the “other team”.
The key lesson is this.
If you do not agree with someone’s actions, they still have the right to burn the flag, say what they want, stay seated during the anthem, or refuse to pay for abortions. We have that right, guaranteed to us by the constitution.
I may not agree with your behavior, but respect for our natural and constitutional rights forces me to protect your right to do these things.
Please do not be selectively authoritarian.