One man’s…

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Perspective, or point of view, makes a big difference in how you or others view something. When it really comes down to it, no one perspective is correct because everyone sees things just a little bit differently. Two people can experience the exact same thing, yet have different views about what happened, how it happened, who it happened to, and what happened afterwards.

One man’s patriot is another man’s terrorist.

When I was teaching my history classes and specifically a class on modern terrorism I used to challenge my students’ thought by giving them the phrase above. It is based on the statement, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” I have researched who may have first uttered these words, but I can’t find anything that definitively gives attribution, so I can’t give you that info. But, that isn’t really the point.

Who defines a patriot and a terrorist really comes down to perspective or interpretation. There is no one definition that can truly encompass what the words actually mean. As such, it almost always comes down to who has the power to define the people, the actions, and the result. As Michael Bhatia of Brown University puts it, “…it’s about power, authority, and legitimacy.”

Now, he is talking specifically about international terrorism in general, but I think we can apply the situation and phrase to many different historical events because there are always two sides to take a look at.

  • The leaders in Britain saw the colonists as insurrectionists, terrorists, etc. as the colonists fought to create the United States. But the colonists saw their own people as freedom fighters, patriots, etc. because they were standing up to the tyranny of England.
  • The American military saw Iraqis in Iraq as terrorists when they blew up convoys, attacked bases and outposts, and killed Americans whether they were in the military or not. But the Iraqis saw the American military as an invading occupier and those who fought against the occupier were freedom fighters and patriots.
  • The leadership in South Africa saw the South Africans fighting for their rights and freedoms as insurrectionists and terrorists, but Nelson Mandela and his followers saw themselves as a freedom fighters and patriots.
  • Fidel Castro and his followers viewed themselves as patriots and freedom fighters who liberated their island from the right wing government and imperialist international interests while the government and international community viewed him as an insurrectionist and terrorist.

These are but a few examples. The point is, those in power have the ability to define anything and anyone as they see fit. We can’t let them define situations and people so easily without a little common sense and critical thinking.

What happened at the capitol last week can be viewed in much the same way. Are we going to let the media and those in power dictate who is a patriot and who is a terrorist? The use of either word has strong connotations behind them and if not used carefully, as in just throwing them around to fit a political agenda, it could harm people and ideas, and most importantly freedoms. It could keep people from standing up and fighting for their rights when there is legitimate cause to do so.

We must be careful when defining who is a patriot and who is a terrorist, because if we aren’t then the terms can too easily be manipulated for political purposes, which in turn allows us to be manipulated for political gain.

Serial “like”r

close up photo of man wearing black suit jacket doing thumbs up gesture

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Are you a serial LIKEr?

You’re probably asking, “What does that even mean?”

Urban Dictionary

It’s not a perfect definition though. I think it should be adjusted to mean “people on social media platforms who ‘like’ posts or blogs to generate interest in their own accounts, never actually reading or interacting with the ‘liked’ post or account.”

Does that make more sense?

You have probably noticed it too. People who “like” your blog often but have never left a comment of any sort in the past, nor do they intend to in the future. I am not saying I haven’t been known to leave a like or two without comment, but I try to interact with every blog at some point. It might not be on a regular basis, but leaving a comment now and then (one that actually demonstrates that you read the blog) goes a long way for building loyal readers and followers.

If you just “like” with the hopes that someone visits your blog, well, your “like” is disingenuous and you didn’t really “like” it at all.

Leave a comment. Spark a conversation between you and the blogger, or other readers of the blog. Create some interaction. Then those “likes” at other times might be appropriate and actually considered genuine.

Otherwise you’re just a fake “like”r. Don’t be a fake.

Love is just a word

love text sign

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I am not sure if I have become jaded/cynical/pessimistic or just old. It’s likely that it is a combination of all of these things.

Anyone else feel like the word “love” is just another word these days? Like, people don’t actually know what it means and abuse the use of it all the time. Sure, they may technically be using the word correctly based on the definition, according to Webster, but just because the dictionary has put a definition to it doesn’t necessarily mean that people actually love. Splitting hairs here? Maybe. But I get really tired of hearing when it most likely isn’t really meant.

You hear it all the time but you probably don’t really pay attention to how it is used…because it is used all the time.

“I love this pie.” Do you really?

“I love the characters of this show/book/movie, etc.” No, no you don’t. Not really.

“I love that you work so hard at making a difference in the neighborhood.” Doubt it.

You get my point (or maybe you don’t). The abuse of the word is rampant. It’s irritating. Well, at least to me. It’s irritating to me.

Does anyone else find this even mildly irritating or am I alone in this?

I don’t love the use of the word love in common vernacular. It’s value is diminished when it is abused.