Many years ago, when I first heard the term Political Correctness, I viewed it as a harmless joke. I wanted to laugh. Nobody wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings. Everyone would make nice and feel good. I thought it trite. So I chuckled along with everyone else.
In retrospect, I was wrong. There is nothing funny about the term. It would appear to be an innocuous term that denies the average American his or her Constitutional Right of Freedom of Speech. It has become the symbol of the elimination of our First Amendment rights that our forefathers guaranteed all in the Bill of Rights.
It has, in the name of Political Correctness, become the demand that you keep your mouth shut!
When I was young boy I attended the Clara Barton Elementary School in Philadelphia. Every Thursday afternoon we had, after lunch, the debating hour. Two students were given a topic to debate and after the verbal battle was complete the class would select the winner.
Olney High School in the city also had a debating club. This after-school activity, or club, gave all future lawyers, politicians and Romeos a chance to hone their skills and practice their talents. Many with “the gift of gab” continued this practice in college and afterwards in their careers and daily life.
Today … debate is history. Dare to disagree with the people who are members of a “politically correct group” … please note that I didn’t say in the majority … is suicidal. To disagree in any manner is to invite retribution. It can cost you your job, your livelihood, your peace of mind and maybe … your very life.
In all the years we have published The Uptight Suburbanite, as publisher, I have never advocated overthrowing the government, support for the KKK, a vote for Ross Perot or advocated for the death of any political leader. While I have questioned The Affordable Healthcare Act, I have always advocated healing all who are ill.
As publisher, I have supported taking care of the needy but not of making so many become needy. Admittedly, I have questioned why the Justice Department investigates nooses hanging from trees but not swastikas painted on fraternity houses and Jewish Houses of Worship. That I don’t like Al Sharpton nor Nancy Pelosi is no secret. But I have never sent John Boehner a Valentine.
And yet these rather simple positions have often caused friends and family to warn me that many intolerant people (a frightening large and growing group I might add) are not willing to hear two sides of any issue. They might harm any who disagree with their side either financially or physically.
Just look at the movie theaters that canceled a movie that upset North Korea or the number of Hollywood stars who wouldn’t join George Clooney in urging theaters to become more “courageous” and show a thought provoking humorous movie. Nor would CNN or the New York Times and others show a cartoon that could offend some. Now I know what Yellow Journalism really means.
Last week, several days before Super Bowl Linda and I were having a late dinner at the Italian Bistro in Victorian Village (One of our favorites!) when a table of six at an adjacent table realized who we were. Four of the party came over, introduced themselves and then told Linda and I how much they enjoyed our publication. Next, we were warned that they were concerned about what I write. They urged me “to tone it down.” It was, they feared, very dangerous.
One woman went so far as to say that she taught in a city school, she wouldn’t say where because she feared for her life if she said how much she disliked the President. One of the men mentioned that he was forced to remove an anti-abortion sticker from his bumper when some drivers reacted unfavorably.
The Saturday night before Super Bowl we spent time with friends who were celebrating their fortieth anniversary. Before the evening ended my friend’s wife, Susan, told me how happy she was that I had stopped writing “dangerous articles.” She feared for our safety. She questioned whether it was worth it.
Then I spotted a friend from my “old neighborhood” at the party. We started talking about just about everything that had happened as we were growing up in Feltonville. We both agreed that it was a good time to be a kid in America… back then.
The same evening I came home and was stunned by my email. Some fruitcake that teaches at a nearby Ivy was so furious with what I wrote that she questioned the legality, not sanity, of my thoughts. She claimed that she and her “posse” would take all necessary steps to destroy our publication and put us in the poor house.
Then came Super Bowl. Someone at the party we were attending stated how thrilled he was that Obama was President. When someone attempted to say otherwise, he roared that the person besmirching President Obama was evil and should shut up!
Despite promising my wife that I would be a “good boy” … AKA SILENT … I couldn’t help but ask the President-defender to discover why the other person disagreed with him instead of assaulting him. Fair, but neutral, idea I thought. The enraged young man shot back that as long as this other person disagreed with him there was no need to continue the conversation and that the other guy should shut up. He continued saying it was wealthy people like him who sent our troops all over the Middle East to kill Muslims and protect the price of oil. He also claimed they hated the poor and were out to return all immigrants to the countries they had fled. I was surprised he omitted Vietnam, measles and Campus Rape.
Boom, the Genie was out of the bottle. The President- defender now ranted about evil people who should be put in jail for not accepting Global Warming. He was also ready to kill anyone who was so terrible as to oppose abortion or Gay Marriage.
This guy was like so many people I know who want all who disagree to be silent.
Believe it or not … I kept my promise. I changed the subject. I wanted to defuse the situation. I suggested that football should be illegal because many people who participate in the sport get injured. Then “I hit it out of the park” by suggesting that jump robe leads to many “scraped knee injuries” and should not be allowed, along with Nerf dodge ball during recess in federally funded playgrounds. I also took the time to condemn darts and wall ball. I wanted to talk about kite flying in thunderstorms but both combatants shouted me down.
Sorry Linda. I tried to be good.
Finally, on Monday after the Super Bowl debacle, I visited one of our better accounts. He happens to be a Republican who loved George Bush. As we were redoing his ad a customer entered, and after spotting a Bush picture in the owner’s office, mentioned how he loved Obama and hoped that an Obama’s Bust would be chiseled into Mount Rushmore… next to the other four great Presidents.
The explosion that followed was four times the size of the bomb that was detonated over Hiroshima. The Richter scale went nuts. My advertiser turned red, his eyes constricted and he suddenly began to shake like Chubby Checker. He was out of control. He chased… honest to goodness… the customer out of his store.
I am scared. I really fear for our nation. It’s more than opinion that’s being stifled. They… the politically correct tyrants… with the help of the fourth estate…
on both sides of the great divide… will destroy our very democracy and our way of life if we don’t stop them.
Different ideas that are not hateful should not be silenced. They should be heard and thought about. Many should be rejected, but some are worth time and thought. This freedom has made this nation what it is. If this pattern of silence continues it may make our great nation what it WAS.
Your opinions are always welcomed.