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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

More Important Than The Colour Of A Coffee Cup

November 11, 2015

When I was in elementary school, one of the things that we learned in English class was how to do a "hamburger paragraph".  It's a simple paragraph that has you stating a fact at the beginning, then using a few sentences in the middle to explain your point in detail, and then finishing off the paragraph with a restating of your first point.  It was a great way to get started on basic writing, and I often use the "hamburger paragraph" structure in my own writing style.

So, in today's post, I thought I'd try doing it the "hamburger" way, with using a paragraph to open my post for today, using examples that are sort of related to another hot topic in the middle, and somehow finding a way to steer the post back to its original intent. 

So, here goes.

Today is Remembrance Day - or Armistice Day if you're in the UK - or Veterans Day if you're American.  It is a day that has been in observance for nearly one hundred years.  Every year since the first World War ended on this date at the eleven o'clock hour, we give pause and thanks to those brave men and women who fought to keep our nations free, even if it meant sacrificing themselves in the process.

I know that I will be wearing my poppy pin with pride today, and I am ever so grateful to those who risked it all just so our children and grandchildren could have a tomorrow to experience.

I want to give pause to all of our veterans, both living and deceased with this brief video clip.

You know, one of the great things about living in a free nation is the ability to express ourselves in a variety of ways.  I choose to express myself through writing.  Some choose to use art.  Some use the power of music.  And sometimes just talking is enough.

But sometimes when it comes to free speech, you may hear some things that you may not like, or you may see something that you'd rather not see, or take offense at behaviour that you would not partake in.  I'll admit that I've been in situations where I haven't liked how people act.  And I know that on the flipside, I've probably turned a few people off myself.  But whether I like a person's opinion or view or not, I do admit that everyone has a right to their own view, and they do have a right to express themselves, just as I have the right to either reject their stance, or call them out on it.

That's what you get with freedom.  It can be a double-edged sword at times, but aren't you glad that you live in a nation where you DO have the right to disagree with someone without getting punished for it?  Not everyone in the world is that fortunate.

In some places, looking at someone the wrong way could get you executed.  Not pledging allegiance to a specific leader could get you sent to prison or worse.  I consider myself lucky that I'm not in a place like that. 

I guess that's why I shake my head at the recent Starbucks coffee cup controversy that is currently going on right now, because to me there is just so much more in the world that we should be worried about than the colour of a cup that will end up in a garbage dump anyway.

So Starbucks has decided to go with a solid crimson red cup for the holiday season this year.  I'll admit that the design might seem a little plain compared to previous years, but sometimes simplicity is the better way.  I mean, there's nothing wrong with the cup itself.  I kind of like it.

But you know who doesn't like it?  A lot of people who seem to believe that the cup design is a blatant attack on people who celebrate Christmas and that Starbucks is anti-Christian because of it.

I disagree.  I strongly disagree.  In fact, I don't think I could disagree more.

I don't understand why people seem to feel that the cup is anti-Christian because the cup doesn't have a snowflake, Santa Claus, a sleigh, or reindeer on it.  As Ellen DeGeneres pointed out on her November 10, 2015 episode, none of those things appear in the Bible.  And I don't know if people would enjoy their peppermint candy cane cappuccinos if they were staring at Jesus being nailed to a cross on their coffee cup.

(Or maybe they would...I don't know.  I don't even like coffee, so it's a moot point.)

I mean, there are so many things that one should be outraged about.  Be outraged over the fact that many families are going to be hungry this holiday season because there isn't enough money in the household.  Be outraged that some children won't be opening up any presents underneath their Christmas trees...if they are even lucky enough to have those.  Be outraged that a coffee chain can justify charging six bucks for a cup of coffee!  But being outraged over the colour of a cup? 

Please don't tell me that our veterans laid down their lives in combat so that we could have the freedom to squabble over petty things like coffee cups.  I don't think that was the whole intent of fighting for freedom.

Yes, we have the right to express ourselves.  Some people think the cups are anti-Christmas, and they are entitled to their opinion even though I completely disagree.  I think the cups are fine, even though some may not be on my side.  But that's fine.  I consider myself agnostic anyway.  I don't see why the religion card even has to be played in this case anyway.

Because the way I see it, the solid crimson cup can symbolize a number of different things.  Crimson red is a colour that most people associate with Christmas, and I think that the cup really symbolizes what Christmas or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa should be all about.  Nice, warm, cozy, and simplistic.  That's how all of our holidays should be.

If Starbucks has enough cups left over after the holiday season is over, they could feasibly use them for Valentine's Day.  After all, the cups are red.  You certainly can't argue with the fact that it would be cost-efficient - especially during a time in which most businesses are trying to find ways to save money.

And the crimson red cup also symbolizes a day that sadly is often overlooked due to the commercialism of the holiday season.  A day that many of us are observing today.

I guess to conclude this blog post, I say this.  Don't be offended by the colour of a coffee cup.  Be grateful that you have the freedom to purchase coffee in the first place. 

Remember.  People laid their lives on the line so that we can continue to enjoy the freedom that so many of us take for granted.

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