Fireside Rants: My Red Line

My name is Terry Blastenbrei. I am a white male. I have a wife, a son and a cat. We live in a nice house in a nice suburb of Kansas City. We drive two nice newer cars. My wife has a nice job that pays well. I am in-between jobs, but get paid well when I am working. I have a Masters degree. While I’ve definitely faced challenges and struggles in my life, for the most part, my 41 years on this earth have been fairly uneventful.

My privilege has been showing. Quite frankly, it always will. I’m not trying to flaunt it, though I’ll certainly use it to help those that don’t have it. But…I have always encouraged the high road, fairness and constructive dialog. Those are good things, and I try to practice them all the time. But I have unfairly placed my standards on everyone else…and I am sorry.

We’ve seen people say and do some awful things during protests in recent years. Other things have been done that would be considered offensive to some, but not to others. Then of course, there is all the discourse that plays out on social media, in media in general and in our own homes. I am not encouraging bad behavior, at least in general. But there comes a time when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. You no longer care about doing the “right thing” because you’re tired of smiling after you get kicked over and over. That is the kind of life that many have been pushed into living…and it seems presumptuous of me to offer advice to those folks, well-intentioned it may be.

In all the years I’ve advocated as I have, I’ve noticed how little it has led to anyone saying, “HOLY SHIT! I TOTALLY SEE THAT!” Of course, I don’t expect such exclamations. And I’m not being cynical and saying, “Screw it all!” But what I am saying is that, good dialogue and debate are great…but they are not a regular occurrence, and I don’t think they ever were. I’ve always tried to stress that I don’t want to tell people how to think, but of course, I’ve hoped that I could change the way people think. Because who doesn’t want to be an inspiration or a hero to someone? And part of me has always been an attention whore.

But most importantly, I’ve been encouraging people to be like me, when they don’t have a clue of what that is. They’ve never known it, and may never know it. And that is where my privilege has been most glaring…and again, I’m sorry.

Of course, I’m going to keep sharing my thoughts and opinions. I’m still going to take the high road more often than not. And I’m going to keep fighting for those that need help. But I’m going to stop so much of my hand-wringing and lamentations involving civil discourse, feelings, etc. And I’m probably going to lose some friends, because I will probably not hold my tongue as much…but that’s okay. I love people, but I have to love myself most of all. And this is how I need to move forward in order to be the best I can be.

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