Last week my article “Skinny People have Feelings” created more debate than the comments suggested. Some people thanked me via email instead of posting their own painful experiences – even though they could’ve done it anonymously. One person questioned my use of “you dumb-nut”. My explanation: If someone is ignorant enough to make “jokes” at the expense of someone else’s weight, “dumb nut” is the nicest word I could use to define them!
This got me thinking that while our laws protect our freedom of speech, most of us are afraid to speak up; we tip-toe around everything and everyone. Yes, this political correctness rubbish has gone berserk! We are afraid to call a spade a spade for fear we may offend the spade or better yet, the rake! (Pun intended) I believe this beating about the bush syndrome has skewed our thinking and created a culture of relativism. Everything falls in the grey area; there are no absolutes, no black and white, no right and wrong. I was taught that a liar is someone who lies, a robber is one who steals – your actions define you. Remember the saying “Handsome is as handsome does”? Try calling someone a liar even if they’re clearly lying. (BTW, what the heck is a “white lie”?!!) Instead of condemning the lying, the media will run story after story about how you committed the crime of accusing someone. These days, when you’re drinking like there’s no tomorrow and behaving in a reprehensible way, you’re not acting like a drunken fool; you’re just “partying” and having a “good time”. Let me assure you, I can “party” and have a “good time” without drinking like a fish and endangering myself and those around me! If we are afraid to even identify a wrong, what chance do we have to right it?
See, this is where our poor kids are confused and can we really blame them? We do not communicate effectively what is acceptable and what isn’t. We refrain from telling them that they lack a certain talent because we contend we are finely attuned to their feelings. I believe it is a greater tragedy when the child tries unsuccessfully to master something he has no talent for – instead of achieving success by redirecting his efforts elsewhere. Simon Cowell of “Idol” fame is regularly attacked for his opinion and delivery on this topic but I believe he is right on target.
On my daughter’s 3rd birthday, a friend who knew I was squeamish gave her a couple of tiny frogs in a bowl, as a joke. While I cringed at the sight of those green creatures on my kitchen counter, I helped her feed them. A few weeks later, one of the frogs went belly up. I explained that the frog had died and we needed to get him out of the bowl to avoid “germs”. Later, I overheard her telling her father that the frog had died. He was taken aback at her use of the word “died” and said “oh, the frog went to heaven”. Being my daughter, she replied “No, it didn’t go anywhere – it died and Mummy flushed it down the toilet!” That day, my daughter had her first lesson on death – she understood that when something or someone dies, they aren’t coming back. From my perspective, telling a three year old that the frog went somewhere, only confuses her because she can see it lying there – still (yup, pun intended). These days however, I could be labeled “insensitive” (or worse) for taking this stance. What’s so wrong with using the word “dead” anyway?
With the political debate in full swing, it’s interesting that Socialism by definition is redistribution of wealth; yet ask a politician whether someone who believes in redistribution of wealth is a Socialist and they will say they do not want to “label” anyone. While I do not propose rudeness or the use of foul language to get a point across, I realize that people are treading carefully for fear of tripping the media land mine. This media can ruin a person, their livelihood and their reputation despite their “protected” rights – if they disagree with a perspective or choice of words.
Wondering if Jesus was politically correct, I looked to the New Testament and concluded – not really. For example: When only one out of ten lepers healed, returned to thank Jesus, He didn’t just bite His tongue! How about the verbal punches he levied against the Pharisees? – “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” And – when he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” I believe he was saying it would be better for the culprit to be put to death. He overtly decried an atrocity.
“Political Correctness” has created chaos. It has corroded our culture, morals and values causing death and decay and destruction. “Speaking the Truth” certainly had its advantages – it kept us honest, accountable and with integrity.