Monday, July 30, 2012

Free Speech?

Credit for the basic thinking behind this post belongs to AR who writes the Intramuralist blog.

Consider two quotes, the first by Chic-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, the second from then presidential candidate Barrack Obama:

“We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit.  We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.  We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.  Now, for me as a Christian – for me – for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union.  God’s in the mix.”

While both statements contain phrases that are associated with "anti-gay marriage" attitudes, and intolerance, I'm not terribly surprised only one seemed to spark outrage and controversy.  Certainly, we can theorize there has been a major change in attitudes and acceptance of gays since Obama's statement was made.  Or perhaps people read Obama's statement as insincere, and simply what he had to say to get elected.  For whatever reason, Cathy's statement seemed to ignite a firestorm, while Obama's did not.

What's great about living in the United States is that you can express your opinion without fear of governmental reprisal, and under the full protection of the law, regardless of its popularity or unpopularity.

Or can you?

I read some pretty amazing comments on Twitter following the Cathy statement -- people outraged over the intolerance and "hate" implicit in Cathy's words, people calling for a boycott of Chic-Fil-A as a result of the expression of Cathy's personal opinion, people wanting to see his head on a pole.  And with the exception of real calls to violence, those people are exercising their right of free speech, which I support 100%.  Just as I do Cathy's right to make his initial statement.  That's the way our system is supposed to work -- state your opinion free of reprisals (from the government, at least), and let the cards fall where they may.

Want to personally boycott Chic-Fil-A because you disagree with Cathy -- do it.  Want to try to organize a million of your friends to do so -- more power to you.  Want to carry a sign of protest in front of Chic-Fil-A's headquarters (or Cathy's house) -- feel free, as long as you are within the bounds of the law.

But the mayors of Boston and Chicago crossed the line when they used the power of their elected political office to attempt to injure Chic-Fil-A by denying them the right to expand in their cities.  It is not the job of the government at any level to determine the "rightness" or "wrongness" of any opinion.  Yet these mayors are using their elected offices to squash the free speech rights of Cathy.  This is a clear violation of our Constitution and what our country stands for.  And I would make the exact same statement if Cathy expressed a pro-gay marriage opinion, and the mayors of Birmingham and Salt Lake City tried to squash his right to expand in their cities.  My concern here isn't about the issue itself (a topic of lively debate), it's about the larger disregard for the Constitution.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Maybe I'm just being overly optimistic, but I can't believe it might take months for this knee to recover.

I'm one week post surgery, and am already in less pain than I was before the work was done.  Swelling is long gone, incisions itch like crazy -- which usually means they're healing (wish I didn't have to wait another week to get them removed).  I can walk normally, go up stairs normally, can't quite descend them normally, however, but I'm close.

Yet the surgeon told me it would be months before I would be fully healed.  More months before I could attempt running.

I'm anxious to meet with the doc, just to hear what he has to say after the surgery.  Something strange, or am I just seeing (and feeling) what I want to see?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

Tonight I'm sitting in front of the television, post arthroscopic knee surgery, and relaxing.

Something about this seems...odd.  Yes, I have a big bandage on my knee.  Yes, it's wrapped in an ice pack and elevated.  Yes, the crutches are laying on the floor next to me.

But where's the pain?

I can feel a tiny little sting above the knee -- fairly minor, really.  There is a little stiffness, which could be swelling-induced (impossible to tell, under the bandage) or it could just be the layers of wrap around my leg.  But honestly, I expected some serious pain.

Haven't had a pain pill since I came home twelve hours ago -- not even a Tylenol.

Maybe I'll pay tomorrow, but so far I feel like dancing a jig!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Stupid Knee!

I've complained a time or two over the last couple of years about my left knee.  When I was still working at Lindsay, I hurt it one morning during a run on a concrete "trail."  I ended up with swelling and moderate pain for a few days, and eventually purchased a couple different knee braces, confident I had some kind of tendinitis, or garden variety "runner's knee."

Since then, the pain has gotten progressively worse, and my running mileage has dropped down to zero.  When I reached mid-winter this year, I decided to lay off the road/treadmill for an extended period, and just work out on the elliptical trainer.  The logic was simple -- give the bum knee a longer period of time to heal.

That didn't work.

By the time summer rolled around, I was starting to experience pain even on the elliptical, or climbing stairs.  It even hurt sometimes when I was sleeping.  I delayed doing anything until after our vacation, and then went to visit the trusty orthopedist last week.  He sent me for an MRI on Tuesday, and we discussed the results today.

So, I'm having arthroscopic surgery next Wednesday to repair (cut out, actually) a tear in my meniscus, and also remove a cyst from the knee.  Sigh.

I'm grateful I live in a time when such things can be "fixed," but I'm kicking myself for not having the problem looked at earlier -- could have saved a lot of time and discomfort.  Full recovery (if it occurs) is several months away, and for a few days I'll be on crutches, followed by a period of hobbling around while I start flexing and strengthening the joint.

Oh, and I need to lose a few pounds to make life for my knees easier.... That may be the most difficult part of this -- especially when I'll be very limited in my exercise options.