I drive my daughter and three other high school students to school during the school year. Two boys...two girls...all roughly 15 years old. Fifteen.
One of the boys is, to put it mildly, not my favorite 15 year old. He is smart mouthed, racist, foul mouthed, and very opinionated. He is a bully. He bad-mouths his girlfriend, the other girl in the car, and has even said to her that she "needs to go on Weight Watchers" in my presence. I have threatened to throw him out of the car and not give him a ride before, but previously only in jest because I think he is a tool.
On Tuesday, he started in on politics as I sat in the front seat trying to keep my cool. He comes from a three generation household, 24 hour a day Fox news watching family, and his father just retired from the military after a long career. You can probably guess what "his" political affiliation is, but that is not relevant to the story. Neither is mine. Who cares if I am voting to elect or re-elect? This boy-child begins bashing a certain candidate. When he stops to take a breath he says, "You know Mrs. Careless (to me) it's called freedom of speech. I have the right to speak freely"
Before I knew it I retorted, "You know, it's called freedom of choice kid. And I have the right to throw your ass out of my car."
Let's just say the car went silent. I continued, "And, last time I checked I am a registered voter in this state, and you don't have the right to vote for some 3 more years?"
The other boy in the back seat meekly inquired, "Did you want us to just get out here then?"
This is all about respect. This punk kid has the audacity to disrespect me in my own vehicle while I am doing a favor to his parents? I don't know what would have happened to me had I disrespected an adult as a teenager. I honestly doubt I would be here today.
Upon reflection I am reminded of one of my top 10 movies, The American President. What I should have said? I should have spouted a retort like President Andrew Shepherd...
"You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free?..."