I was recently involved in a discussion with a veteran from Canada, an American man and an American gal from a state that allows her to ride without a helmet.

The conversation went like this: Canadian vet makes depreciating comment about female rider being helmet less in picture and not a good message to send to one's kids or insurance company.

Female rider responds that she lives in a state that allows her the freedom to do so and that her child wears a helmet. She also states that she has been in a crash with her bike and understands fully the risk she takes.

The American man jumps in and says he wished his stated allowed for choice and also makes a depreciating comment about the Canadian Vet and imagined support by Canadian Veteran of the noise bylaws.

The Canadian Vet jumps back in and say I am pro choice in 99% of all isn't one of them. 25 years in the military drilled that into me. - then he tells American Man that he resents his comment and that he fought for the freedom of American male thank you very much. (And named the conflicts he served in.)

American man says - no Canadian Vet didn't fight for his rights because American Man wasn't involved in any of that. He criticizes Canadian Vet for being holier than thou.

And then I read what was going on and jumped in - Here's what I had to say:

Hold on here boys - let's play nice now. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. American Man, if the man is a vet then he has fought for your right to your views - as long as you live in a "free" country. Canadian Vet - American Female IS entitled to her choice - the State she lives in allows for that. Remember Canadian Veteran - the hardest job a vet has is to remember WHY he fought - and then living with the consequences of that, like it or not.

You may not agree with each other - because emotionally, mentally you come from different experiences and realities - it does not mean that any position is right or wrong - remember what our country's stand for - DEMOCRACY - let the majority decide...and freedom of belief and expression, association etc. 
The only right and wrong in this whole equation is what values YOU hold, so while the choice to go helmet less is not one YOU would make Canadian Veteran - it IS her choice to choose to be helmet less. If it is not right for you that is OK, but there is truly no reason to hold someone else to your standards and values or do I mis understand the basics of the constitutions of our country's and the reason people like you Canadian Veteran are Veteran's? End Quote
So my question for the day is this...Am I off base in my way of thinking?
I think that just because you are a veteran - your OPINION doesn't hold any more sway or value than someone who hasn't served. Your fought for the rights and freedoms of citizens - ALL CITIZENS.
Just because military experience taught you to value what you view as safety, doesn't mean you have the right to force your opinion/view of what safety is on anyone, nor does it give you the right to be rather abrasive in your expression of your opinion.

I think that to assume that because a veteran is from Canada he hasn't fought for your rights because you are American, Italian, French, Spanish, German etc, is thinking that needs to be corrected.  Many of our Canadian vets fight with and alongside coalition forces - they are all there with one goal - freedom from oppression.
I really do not think that too many citizens of either country understand that we do, theoretically live in democratic states. Democracy means - let the majority have it's way. As such, we have a certain amount of say and power with regards to the laws etc. If more people exercised their rights  to vote, get involved - protected their rights here at home by joining forces to vote on things - maybe so many of our freedoms wouldn't be being eroded.
Maybe when we have lost ALL of our freedoms and rights -  our freedoms and rights would finally mean more to us than they appear to mean to many currently. Voter turn out has been abysmal in many "free" countries.
We have the right to attempt to sway people to our way of thinking - but they will only sway if you give them solid information, deliver it in a thoughtful and respectful way and if their core values are similar to yours.
I believe that Debate - real honest dialogue is about willingness - a willingness to speak thoughtfully and respectfully but to also be willing to listen and validate the other person's ideologies or values through the art of listening.  You do not have to agree with someone to validate their experiences.

I struggle at times with the art of an honest discussion - like many, my values and feelings on some topics run really deep, on others that I am not well informed on, not so much.
I am willing to learn and absorb other people's information and ideas, digest them for myself and form my own opinions based on my values and my experiences. I am willing, most of the time to understand the concerns or ideas of both sides in an equation.

How about you, how do you feel about the topic of the day? I do REALLY want to know.

The motorcycle news feeds are fairly quiet this morning, there are some good stories like the one on the fellow in Japan who dug his Harley Sportster out of the rubble - his story is at the very bottom of the article - I thought it was touching and that many would identify with this man. (All of the article is moving and filled with incredible bits of extraordinary stories - but to a biker, well - I hope you know what I mean)

I hope you will visit where we sift through the news so you don't have to. Take a check on our Three Calendar Contests and their entries!

Have a great Monday everyone - now that my email has been unblocked by Telus and Shaw I can get the rest of my invoicing done and finish packing to head to the Toronto National Motorcycle Show.I may or may not blog tomorrow - depends on if I have the paper finished in time...I drive to Edmonton tomorrow to catch my flight on Wednesday.

Post a Comment

  1. I think you are right on the mark. I wear a helmet because I have to..when I ride places that offer me the choice I choose not to. I resect and appreciate everyone who fights/fought for my right to choose..but that doesn't mean I will blindly abide by their opinions. I work in a very safety oriented job, and I adhere to those rules. Many a supervisor has been shocked and appalled at my choice to ride without a helmet every chance I's their right to be's my right to smile that smile that the freedom gives me.

  2. You are absolutely right on. The only mistakes that I see made by those 3 were their inabilities to debate their points with logic, information and respect for each others opinion. BTW I agree with the Vet - wear your helmet regardless of what the law allows. Had my skull fractured as a kid on my bicycle and then as an adult had my skull saved by a helmet when on my bicycle and cut off by a taxi driver. I would hate to think what would happen to my skull the protector of my brain in an accident on my Shovelhead if it wasn't protected by a helmet.

  3. Well Betty what you have written seems very good indeed and I agree with you all the way.

  4. "So my question for the day is this...Am I off base in my way of thinking?"

    Nope. And I think you know that. And that's just my opinion, of course. lol

    The ability to debate without passion is something *most* cannot do. People stand for something because it has affected them in some way. When confronted, they speak from emotion, rather than reason.

    The art of debate is just that, an art. I'm a fiery, Irish, Taurean woman... I don't back down, but in my many years of watching those who can speak their mind with respect and FACTS, I have learned and am still learning, to offer up the truth as I know it, with a WILLINGNESS to learn something in the process.

    I dare say that most aren't willing to hear the other side when they offer up their opinion. That's when we must use our discretion and walk away from the argument. Big diff between a debate and an argument. One involves two or more adults open to learning. The other involves out of whack egos. "I'm right!" "No, I'M right!" .... *sigh*

    If we are walking into a discussion with the frame of mind that we're gonna make the other person see our point of view, we've taken away that person's right to choose. The counterpoint is to walk in with our eyes wide open to SEE their point of view from their perspective... and if we don't agree in the end, at least we have had the opportunity to view another side of the coin.

    We should be RICHER for the experience, not beaten down. And if we have offered our ears and our hearts, maybe in respecting someone's opinion, the other person will too.


  5. How does the saying go? "You got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything." There is another one that, to paraphrase says it is the mark of a mature mind to be able to entertain an idea with out subscribing to it. My daddy said every right came with a responsibility & it would seem the right to express & hold dear your own views would leave you with responsibility to allow others the same.
    I've discovered those who refuse others the same, usually lack facts, evidence, etc to back their opinions-however they rarely lack noise.

  6. Yeah ....OK we're all adults here...wear ur helmet if you want to...don't if you don't want to... and if can afford not to...just be prepared to face teh truth or's really that simple