Spectrum Connection: September 2021
From the desk of Dave Smalley
A good friend of mine, Lars, and I were talking about freedom, and what freedom mean. He shared with me the perspective that being free means different things to different people, and that freedom is viewed differently around the world.
So, I have been thinking about it. In the United States it is our right to be free. We are free to choose, be free, free to express ourselves. We have been granted individual rights. Historically, people have fought for those rights, overseas and perhaps, as importantly, right here at home.
At home, certain rights and certain groups have been oppressed by others. Do some people get more important rights than others? A rhetorical question of course, but it seems that way sometimes. When I exercise my right, and it negatively affects another, that seems like a problem. There is a line there that needs to be respected between human beings. There has to be order, and not a hierarchy.
An example Lars and I talked about is a fire in a movie theater. If everyone in the theater fully exercised their personal right, with no regard for others, there would be a mass mashup at the exit, and no one would get out. But, if everyone exercised their right to escape the fire as a group, everyone would get out.
We hear and encounter all sorts of sensitive issues: individual rights, abortion, religion, statues, race, guns, education, vaccines. As a young person growing up, these were all topics I was told not to talk about at the dinner table when we had company over. I am older now, but I don’t remember when we, as individuals, were ever so polarized to a position that we were not able to hear and respect another’s position, or right.
For those choosing to not take the COVID vaccine, I believe whole heartedly that one has the right to choose that course. But does that unvaccinated person, by choice, have the right to come into contact with someone who has elected to take on the protection the vaccine provides? And if not, who gets to decide that?
I suppose I have the right to wear, or not wear, a seatbelt. It is there for my protection. If I choose to not wear it, I am open to getting a ticket, a fine, or potentially injuries from an accident. Same with speeding, although speeding certainly puts not only me at risk, but others as well. I wonder how many individuals were hurt or killed by speeding before someone decided that we did not have the individual right to drive as fast as we wanted, because it infringed on others rights to live?
These might be difficult questions, but they have obtainable answers if everyone will consider the greater good of all, rather than going round and round espousing two different sides with a line drawn in the sand. Let’s stop this circle of collusion and investigate how we can find answers where everyone gives a little. This is as important in our home lives as it is with big issues. Let’s modify our positions from set in stone to moldable clay. I wish you and yours only the very best.
From the desk of Melanie Smalley
I challenge you to be an ambassador of genuine fellowship. You are the physical representative of our Spectrum Pillars: Heart, Service, Leadership, Integrity and Innovation. More importantly, you are also the physical representative of your own purpose, your own identity; bring the best you every day so that others can soak up all the goodness you have to share!