Health Care -- Moving Forward


By Jonathan B. Wight

Humans communicate lots of ways. Some ways are less designed to convey information, and more like to convey and to evoke raw emotions. 

Okay signI learned this as a kid growing up in Brazil, where the “Okay” sign is a dirty insult. (Think of where females have a lower orifice of interest to males and you’ll get the idea of what it means—“screw you”.)

This weekend the Atlee Virginia Girl’s Junior League Softball team was disqualified from the World Series game in Kirkland, Washington, because six teammates had posed for a photo extending their middle fingers to Kirkland’s team, in response to the Kirkland’s team stealing signals in the previous game.

The photo was posted on Snapchat, and quickly removed when the Atlee coach found out about it. The coach made the team apologize in person.  Nevertheless, league officials booted the Atlee team for “unsportsmanlike conduct.”

That response seems overblown. Elimination from a World Series tournament for a moment of indiscretion—especially when the other team had started it by illegal conduct—is disproportionate punishment.  On the other hand, two wrongs don’t make a right.

In another gesture controversy, two Chinese tourists probably thought it would be funny to give the Heil Hitler salute standing in front of the German Parliament. Instead of laughs, they wound up in jail for using the symbol of an illegal organization. 

Yikes!  Freedom of speech isn’t so free when a gesture of parody provokes such over-response. In America, we have growing problems with those who wish to display the Confederate flag, also a symbol of an illegal organization. Thankfully—and as much as I wish the flag to remain in museums—it is still legal to wave this symbol of disloyalty to the United States of America.

(Incidentally, my great grandfather served in Jeb Stuart’s cavalry and his portrait hangs over my fireplace. I celebrate his courage and loyalty, but cringe at the wrongheadedness of defending the cause of slavery. Waving the Confederate flag today is a gesture that opens wounds and divides the nation. As for those who think the Civil War was all about states’ rights—sorry, that pig won’t fly.)



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