At a time when it seems like everyone seems to be in a grand hurry to be offended, to play the victim, to act as if what’s happening to them right this moment is the worst thing that’s ever happened to anyone in the history of recorded time, (And probably way before that,) I actually look forward to being offended.

This is neither an exercise in political masochism, nor am I a contrarian by nature. (I’m basically a weenie when it comes to discomfort or pain, and I have a tendency to be every bit the sheep as everyone else.)

So why do I deliberately seek things that offend me? It’s how I know I’m free.

I’ve written this many times before, but it bears repeating. You know what you call a place where no one is ever offended and everyone gets along?

North Korea.

Yes sir, the one and only way you know for sure you’re free is when at least once a day, you’re so offended, you might just bite through your lower lip.

Hence, I actually like it when someone expresses a racist, sexist, ageist, cruel thought. Oh, sure, I’ll get all ticked, but you’ll never hear the namby-pamby phrase, “I’ve never been so offended in all my life!” pass my lips.That’s because one of my greatest hopes is someone offends me more tomorrow than I was offended today.

Freedom’s kinda funny that way. You’re free to express yourself any way you wish, but so is everyone else, so you’re going to have to deal with some numbskullery from time to time. (As a matter of fact, I’m quite certain there are people reading this piece who feel as if they’re dealing with numbskullery right now. Ain’t freedom grand?)

So no, I’m not one of those “snowflake” liberals who gets all tied in knots at the sight of a Confederate flag or one of the president’s insipid tweets. And just as an aside, I’d like to point out that liberals aren’t the only “snowflakes.” Doubt me? Make a point of saying, “Happy Holidays,” to everyone you meet next Christmas, and note the reaction you get.

My point is, yes, I can get as offended as the next guy, because let’s face it, there are lots of offensive things going on out there. I just don’t think being offended is such a big deal. Someone insulted your race? So what? You now know who to avoid like the plague, (and whose business or workplace to avoid as well.) Moreover, I think we should let people say whatever they want whenever they want. (Within limits, of course; yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, and all that.) Again, if you’re hateful, racist, willfully ignorant, etc., I want to know who and where you are, so I can avoid you and your endeavors. Again, ain’t freedom grand?

So if my little freedom epistle here angers you, go ahead, be as offended as you wish, and while you’re ranting and raving and pitching a danged ol’ fit, realize that ponderous knot you have in your underpants is your assurance that freedom is alive and well.

(And while you’re at it, realize the previous paragraph is just about the most uncomfortable metaphor you’ll ever encounter. And you know what? I hope it offends you to all to pieces. You gotta be free if Carter’s drivel is allowed, right?)

And finally, I cannot write a column on this subject without mentioning there’s a big difference between jokes, misstatements and actual, cruel, and offensive speech and behavior.

Our nation’s greatest modern flaws are we’ve forgotten how to take a joke, we don’t allow for basic humanity, (people misstate and make mistakes), and we’re just way to easily offended. Remember, being offended is good. You know you’re free.

Craig Carter is an Ontario resident and can be reached in care of The Argus Observer, 1160 S.W. Fourth St., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of the Argus Observer.

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