Archive for the ‘Political Correctness’ Category

I think we all agree that Nazis are bad. Evil. Their ideology and their “Third Reich” caused untold suffering and destruction, costing millions of lives. It should not be celebrated. It should not be defended. It should not be encouraged or promoted. It should always be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

All that said, I also think that Pres. Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville was right on target, and I’ll tell you why.

Close to 20 years ago now, I lived in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Twenty minutes to the north is a sleepy little town called, “Hayden Lake.” Hayden Lake had the unfortunate distinction of having a white supremacist “compound” a few miles outside of town. Richard Butler and his skinhead Aryan Nations “Church” (tax dodge) came to be synonymous with North Idaho, and Hayden Lake became guilty by association (I suspect Charlottesville is currently suffering from something similar).

Now, every year Coeur d’Alene hosts a big 4th of July parade, right down Main Street. It’s quite the big deal. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people come out from all around to watch the floats, the marchers, the bands, enjoy the music and food in the park, stake out a claim for your picnic blanket, and stay all day to watch the fireworks at night. It’s an annual tradition, and we never missed a year.

Except. One year, Mr. Butler and his “family” decided that they wanted to have a “parade” as well. They applied for, and were granted, a permit for the march. The town council and the citizenry were in an uproar! They didn’t want the Aryan Nation wackos in their town! Up went the hue and cry, but to no avail. The town could not legally deny them a permit, and so the march would move forward.

And you know what the town did?

Nothing.

On the day of the parade, just before the appointed hour, businesses all along main-street closed up shop. Locked their doors. “Closed” signs in the window. No one came to line the streets. No bands were playing. There were only a scattering of vocal protestors, and they were kept in check by the police (unlike in Charlottesville). I was very nearly a ghost town.

The Aryan’s wanted to make a splash, cause a ruckus, to assert their “rights.” And they tried.

And we ignored them. We belittled them with our silence. We spurned them and their ideology with our collective absence. We didn’t give them the satisfaction of a response. We turned our backs on their hate.

So they came with their four vehicles, packed with shaven-headed youths in their white t-shirts and suspenders. They “marched” down Main Street to the park, where they had their “rally.” They blathered on for half an hour, attended solely by a scant handful of protestors cordoned off some distance away. And then they left.

And the stores opened back up, the people came back out, and we went on with the day. There were no fights. No smashed windows. And only a few raised voices.

That is how you deal with that kind of hate. Don’t give it an audience. Deny it a forum by denying it a crowd. If you must oppose it, sing. Pray. Dance. Oppose their hate with joy. Not with black face masks and baseball bats. If you really want to “oppose” people like that…LAUGH AT THEM.

Would there have been violence, or death, in Charlottesville if “antifa” and their associates had all stayed home?

I think I can say with some confidence that few in Charlottesville wanted the Nazis there. But did they really want a “counter-protest” group who showed up spoiling for a fight, either?

So, when Pres. Trump suggests that both sides had some measure of blame for the violence that occurred, I think he is spot on. Nazis and Aryans and their ilk are belligerent and violent by nature. They expect hostility, and are prepared to respond in kind.

But these “antifa” are the same folks who show up to riot at UC-Berkeley, all too ready to bring violence to bear to oppose the terrible dangers of having a conservative commentator speak on campus. So, when they showed in Charlottesville, in full regalia, it made confrontation nearly inevitable.

Couple that with the bizarre incompetence or gross malfeasance on the part of local law enforcement in their complete failure to do anything to de-escalate or defuse the situation, and it was a recipe for disaster.

Highlighting the role or burden of liability this other group played in what happened does not mean you defend or diminish the evil that is Nazism, or the abhorrent nature of their professed ideology. It doesn’t mean you have to be sympathetic to either side. It simply means you assign blame where blame is due.

The last few days it’s become clear that there is acceptable violence, and unacceptable violence. The “antifa” marchers who showed up to counter-protest the Nazis and other white nationalists are being portrayed as freedom fighters, some even going so far as to compare them to the soldiers who fought the Nazis in WWII. Except….Easy Company didn’t wear masks.

If we are going to stand against hate and violence, let’s stand against in all its forms, regardless of the source, Left or Right.

It is sad and unfortunate that a group of white supremacists decided to descend on Charlottesville and spew their hate. But, instead of gearing up and heading in for a fight, a much better response would have been to ignore them. Let them have their say, and then watch in stony silence as they drive away.

And then move on with the day.

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Well, it looks like the Royal Order of the Perpetually Aggrieved has gots itself all in a froth that Bill Maher, caustic TV blatherskite and cantankerous busybody, went and used the “N-Word” on his show recently. {{Cue gasping, frantic dismay and generalized vaporishness}}

He had the temerity to refer to himself as a “house nigga” in a self-deprecating manner. And heaven KNOWS that using such a term is deeply racist and offensive. Right?

Nigga, please.  (go ahead. click it. I dare you.)

Now, let me say right up front, I personally find the use of The N-Word and all its derivations deeply distasteful and offensive. Regardless of who says it.  It deeply saddens me that a term which should be met with universal loathing and avoided by anyone with half a clue, has instead been allowed to infuse our culture to the point where it is used openly by a cross-section of society. Well, a certain cross-section. Okay for me, but not for thee, and all that.

And Bill Maher should rightfully be chastised for it.

Using such racially charged words is clearly reprehensible and TOTALLY outrageous. Well, except when, you know, it isn’t. The outrage here does seem fairly selective.

If I recall, it wasn’t all that long ago that Ben Carson was called a “house negro” (see also, above) and an “Uncle Tom”, and before that it was Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice; and this was BY OTHER BLACK PEOPLE and many of their self-appointed surrogates on the Left. For which many on the Right were justifiably outraged. So, it would appear to me that what Mr. Maher is most guilty of is not racism, per se, but instead, that most fashionable of Social Justice jihads: “cultural appropriation.”

Or, as it’s also known: “It’s Only Wrong When White People Do It.” Maybe he should have said, “house cracka” instead?

To me, The N-Word is offensive, radioactive, and should rightly be shunned and purged from our collective national vocabulary; but the current outrage seems to be not that “someone” said The N-Word, but rather, that the wrong color someone said The N-Word.

Which is pretty sad.

I have to be honest, I’m having a real hard time sympathizing with any hurt feelings about this one. There is a definite double-standard at play here. Our country seems to have developed a strange schizophrenia when it comes to racial equality. The Un-Civil Rights movement has come full circle, and “separate but equal” is now all the rage again. Only this time it’s minority students who are clamoring FOR it, not fighting AGAINST it, demanding things like “Blacks Only” dorms on campus.  Yes, really.

For months and months and months now, I’ve watched as terms like “white supremacy” and “white privilege” and “patriarchy” have become household words. I’ve listened as these nefarious white folk are blamed for all manner of societal ills and moral failings.  We’ve been treated to such forward-thinking ideas as, “A Day Without Whites.” I’ve watched in dismay as crowds of pre-dominantly black minority students descend on classrooms and verbally berate and intimidate white students and professors for everything from rape culture to global warming. And MTV helpfully published a public service announcement entitled, “Dear White Guys: 2017  New Years Resolutions” to helpfully highlight some of the areas where white dudes really need to get it together. But that’s not racism. How dare you suggest it. It’s…uh…uhm, a…justified outpouring of collective social outrage over the continuing climate of oppression towards minorities and a seeking of redress for the legacy of slavery and, uh, other stuff.

Which is apparently supposed to justify all manner of thuggish, belligerent and violent actions which, if carried out by gangs of white students, would promptly be branded a hate crime and declared a national crisis.

So which is it? It seems to me like the average white guy must be hyper-vigilant about everything he says, constantly on guard against any accidental microaggressions or cultural appropriation, while the aggrieved minority activist has nearly carte blanche to say anything and everything and still get a pass.

So when a talk-show host lets slip an ill-considered and yet culturally ubiquitous term as a humorous quip, and suddenly everyone is aflame at the GALL of such a thing,!!!!!1!!!!11!11! {{choke, gasp, gurgle, swoon}}…

…while I find it obviously distasteful, I fear that I am also less than compelled to outrage.  Sorry, but I’ve watched too many black comedians on YouTube use that same word like punctuation.  Bill Maher is a profane, irreverent Lefty shock-jock who, to his limited credit, seems willing to take pot-shots across both sides of the aisle. But if he is to be censured and vilified for using “that word,” then there are a whole lot of other people out there who need to be in the unemployment line as well.

I am to believe that there are certain words what are only offensive if white people say them? Are there now multiple cultural vocabularies that only certain ethnicities are “allowed” to use? Is there a guidebook somewhere?

And why, oh WHY on EARTH did it EVER become okay for one black person to call another that word? I simply don’t understand.

There shouldn’t be “white” wrong vs. “black” wrong, or “liberal” wrong vs. “conservative” wrong. If something is wrong, it’s wrong for everybody. And if you’re going to get upset about it, get upset EVERY TIME. Regardless of who says it.

Equality should mean that everyone is treated with the same level of respect, compassion, courtesy, and opportunity.  But this growing schism between “white” culture and “black culture” is leading to an increasingly fractured society in which, I fear, true equality may not be achievable. This nation was once proudly proclaimed as a “melting pot” where people from a wide variety of cultures and background come come together, find common ground and be bound together by a common set of ideals which transcended race or color or creed. Any more, however, it seems we are breaking apart into increasingly divided camps, the us vs. them mindset is becoming uppermost, and it is getting harder and harder to see a bright future for this country if we can’t drop the barricades.

And maybe one way to start moving in the right direction is by getting rid of “that” word altogether.

So, imagine if you will, the CEO of a top Fortune 500 company.  A long-standing leader in the industry, with satellite branches in other countries and significant influence across the globe. Thousands of employees, hundreds of divisions, involved in everything from pharmaceuticals to oil refineries to high-tech research and development.

Now, imagine that this company is plagued by scandals.  An overseas plant is caught using child labor.  Another facility is shown to have falsified safety reports.  Low-grade medicines being pawned off as premium quality with high prices.  The more the problems that come to light, the more people start digging, and things just keep getting worse.

Now, imagine that time and again the CEO’s response to each new revelation of wrong-doing, oversight, or unethical business practice is, “You can’t blame me, I only found out about this when I read about it in the Wall Street Journal!”  And even as his corporation begins to crumble around him, he continues to go on golf outings with his rich buddies, takes his extended family on numerous overseas vacations on the company dime, and continues to try and divert attention from his problems by pointing fingers at everyone else but himself.

Now imagine millions of customers and consumers of this corporation’s products — who might otherwise hate big business — turning a blind eye to evey misstep and instance of malfeasance on the part of the CEO…because he’s black.  And then attacking his critics as racist for daring to impugn the character of this fine, upstanding member of the community!

In the real world, just how long do you suppose that this CEO would remain the CEO?  How many more instances of incompetence, disconnectedness, and destructive business practices would the clientelle endure before the stockholders got fed up and had him fired?

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

WHAT!?!  HOW CAN YOU SAY SUCH A THING!???!  RACIST!!  HATER!!!1!1!

Wait.  It get’s better.  DON’T ELECT A WHITE MAN EITHER!  Don’t elect a woman.  Don’t elect a hispanic, or a lesbian, or Jew.  Don’t elect a Mormon or a Christian or a Buddhist.

Next time…Elect. A. PRESIDENT.

The criteria used to select the qualifications of those who serve in the highest offices of our lands, of those who will help frame and craft our laws, who we elect to guide the country forward and make the difficult decisions required of leaders in this day and age should have NOTHING to do with their skin color, their gender, their religion or their “cultural heritage.”

ObamaHalo2I propose that we are in the mess we are in right now because we elected a black man. Not because Barack Obama is black, but because we as a voting populace became so enamored of the idea of electing an African-American as President, became soooo fixated on the sense of accomplishment we could collectively feel at breaking through this cultural barrier into a new, undiscovered “enlightenment” that we allowed ourselves to be swayed.  We turned a blind eye to what should have been some very real concerns about this individual’s (lack of) qualifications, experiences, questionable associations and storied background, and allowed ourselves to be swept along on a carefully manipulated wave of euphoric idealism.

And so we elected a black man.  Because it made us feel good to do it.  Not because he was in any way the most qualified, not because he had any demonstrated talent or ability for the position, not because he would best be able to represent the interests of the United States on the global stage…but because he was an icon we wanted.  More than anything, I think voting for Barack Obama became a sort of social statement about our ability to somehow atone for a shameful past. {Cue Music: “We are marching to Pre-torrrria….}

There aren’t enough of any one particular minority demographic in the United States to elect a President.  Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Amerian Indians, Asians, young, old, rich, poor…we aaaalll had to play a part.  It became part of a collective social consciousness.  For some it was a chance to speak out, to elect someone they hoped would “represent their interests” better than an establishment white guy might.  For some it was, I think, a chance to show how enlightened, how tolerant, how progressive they were in bucking the existing paradigm.  Many perhaps voted for Barack Obama out of some vague sense of racial or social guilt which they felt might be assuaged or expunged if they participated in this great social awakening.  Of course, many just bought into the class warfare schtick he was selling and wanted the free stuff he was offering.

NONE of which is a very solid foundation for picking a candidate for the office of the President of the United States.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve got absolutely no problem with either the idea or the practical reality of someone who is black becoming president.  You put a Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas or an Alan West or maybe even a a Condolleza Rice in there and hey, they’ve got my vote.  Why?  Because I like their politics.  Their personal philosophy resonates with me. I can look at a record of accomplishments which suggest to me a level of overall professional competence which grants me a sense of confidence in their ability to handle the demands of the position.

Not because of, or in spite of their skin color.  Or their gender.  Or their religious beliefs.  Because I think they are the most qualified, and so that other stuff SHOULDN’T MATTER. Right?  Isn’t that what true equality is really all about?  Shouldn’t THAT be considered the truly “enlightened” approach?

So, I hope we’ve learned our lesson.  As we sit mired in double digit unemployment, as our national debt continues to skyrocket, after six years with no signed federal budget and a sequestration which imposes daily pain on the infrastructure of this nation while the President golfs and vacations, I hope our euphoria has faded.  I hope our guilt-motivated idealism has moderated a bit.  I hope that when the times comes again, whether on the local or national stage, we don’t elect a black man, or a white man, or a woman, or a {fill in the blank}.

I hope we wise up and elect the people MOST QUALIFIED to lead this country, regardless of how their chormosomes are configured.