Ricky Martin Owes Me an Apology

Written By: Timothy Fish Published: 2/16/2007

In a recent concert Ricky Martin held up his middle finger as he said President George Bushís name. The crowd applauded as he did so. I am a firm believer that Ricky Martin has the right to hold any opinion that he so chooses on the war in Iraq. If he believes our commitment to upholding the resolutions we make is not as important as the lives of our soldiers, that is his business. If he believes that our obligation to create a stable government in Iraq does not justify more fighting, that is his business. If his audience holds the same beliefs as he does, that is their business. The Constitution gives people the right to express opposition to the actions of our leaders. Martinís action is protected by the first amendment, but while it is protected it is also totally in appropriate and I believe he and those in his audience who cheered owe an apology to the people of the United States of America.

There is a big difference between what a person is permitted to do under the law and what should be done. The law allows use to say what we want, but personal responsibility requires us to do so in a way that is appropriate. Martinís action was disrespectful to George W. Bush, but it was also disrespectful to the President of the United States. While it would be better if he would temper his actions with all people, there is a vast difference between being disrespectful to George W. Bush as a person and being disrespectful to him as a leader of the United States. Using such crude behavior as a form of disrespect for the President is to show disrespect for the Constitution that established the office and for the people who elected him. As one of the people who voted in the last election, I believe Ricky Martin owes me an apology, but I do not think I will get it.

There are many things that are permitted by the law that should not be done. For example, a person has the right to practice any religion that he chooses or no religion at all. He has the right to tell other people that they are wrong in their beliefs. A person can legally be a Muslim, a Hindu or an atheist, but while a person is legally permitted to be these things, a person should be none of these things. The same is true with Ricky Martin. He is permitted to make the gesture that he did, but he shouldnít have made it.

Many types of communication are protected by the Constitution, but we have the responsibility to use these appropriately. Ricky Martin had the option of calmly and rationally expressing the reasons why he thinks George Bush is wrong in what he is doing. If he expressed himself well and presented good arguments then maybe George Bush and others would listen to what he had to say. Maybe they would change their minds or maybe they would calmly and rationally explain how Martinís understanding of the situation is flawed. That is what free speech is all about. Martinís action did not do that.

The gesture that was used is one that seems to be used most by people who inarticulate and who do not have a logical reason for their beliefs. It is seen, for example, on the freeway. It seems that people who are driving too fast that encounter traffic that doesnít get out of their way as quickly as they would like. There was once that I changed lanes and a guy who wanted to change lanes at the same time made the gesture several times over the distance of a mile. He made it as he passed me on the left. He got in front of me and made it. He slowed down so he could make it on my right. The only thin he managed to communicate was his lack of intelligence and communication skills. It is not possible to do so while driving down the road, so it is best just to forget it, but if the driver had spoken to me calmly and explained how I had done something wrong (which I do not believe I did) I would have been glad to offer him an apology or at least calm explain to him that since he was driving a good 15 MPH faster than the rest of the traffic and he was in my blind spot two lanes over when I changed lanes I could not see if he had his signal light on or not.

If Ricky Martin wants to change how people see things then he should open his mouth and talk rather than using more crude communication. If he does use crude communication he should do so in a way that is not disrespectful to the people and leaders of the United States of America.