Is it just me, or are the people wailing the loudest about Political Correctness also the ones who are quickest to cry about how offended or oppressed they are?
Tonight it was something a Facebook friend posted - a real God-and-Country painting of school children holding an American flag and pledging allegiance. Underneath was a typical rant about how this picture "isn't allowed" in our schools any more because "someone might be OFFENDED" and a dare: "I wonder how many Real Americans will share this." I usually ignore and move on, but in this case I called out the lie of the pledge not being "allowed." It didn't lead to a productive discussion (mainly because the poster mostly ignored me - good for him).
But it bothers me every time something like this floats by in the stream. There is this persistent lie that "American values" are under attack by some shadowy Other out there who is using "being offended" to control the rest of us. It seems particularly silly when you dig down into specifics. The reality is that the Constitution is being violated constantly by people who insist on having the government maintain the worship of their god as the official religion. Aren't we still in a War in a country where that was happening. (Psst - it was Afghanistan!) We have people sacrificing their lives over there to combat a practice that we can't stamp out here at home! That's the real absurdity that we "aren't allowed" to mention.
Which, of course, means that I have to address the number of veteran friends I have who are involved in spreading the lie. Every time someone cries about how they fought to protect the flag and freedom (usually in that order), and then turns around and tells someone else to shut up - looking at you, Allen West - the rest of us who served should be allowed to line up and kick them square in the junk. Serving in the military not only does not give any of us the right to shove our personal opinions down someone else's throat, it should make us more aware that claiming that right is a disgrace to everyone who has ever worn a uniform. I usually don't say that to people out of respect for their feelings - should I start saying it more often?
Because all of this is really about applying the law of the land to everyone equally. When you have the recent example from Cranston, Rhode Island staring you in the face of just how hard it is to uphold that law, you have to recognize that it's more than a matter of hurt feelings. It takes courage from the minority to stand up and demand it in the face of a cranky, surly majority. It doesn't matter if most the majority "is not like that",* no minority is safe if the law is not respected. When you consider how many people claim to be in the majority the problem becomes one of protecting everyone else from them - not the other way around.
But it's easier to sneer over the word "offended" than to stick to principles. I find that sneering to be a bit telling, as well; how trivial it sounds to say that the only reason you aren't "allowed" to speak your mind is that someone might be offended. It makes you and your "freedom of speech" sound like the real victim. By all means, if offense is the only result of your speech, let it fly. There is a great difference between causing mere offense and, say, making a lie of your claim that you fought to uphold freedom and the Constitution. If you really feel strongly about something, you shouldn't hold back. We might learn something from you!
I have noticed, though, that of those who chafe under the burden of Political Correctness, most of them are simply upset that they aren't allowed to state their deeply seated beliefs and convictions. Shouldn't they make those convictions clear, so that we can all address them? Don't you want to know who believes that women are inferior to men, that darker colored skin means someone is lazy or violent, or that speaking with an accent and/or not yet having the linguistic versatility of a native English speaker means someone is a terrorist/drug dealer/migrant worker. I, for one, have noticed how often one of those delightful old chestnuts is the American value the poor, muzzled victim is being forced to keep bottled up for fear of causing offense.
But point that out to one of them and see how quickly they will complain about your nasty stereotyping. How dare you hurt their feelings!?!
*The majority IS like that. Every majority is.