Going Down Life’s Highway….

GoinFor better or worse I took an off ramp yesterday. It has been raining in Denver for four days straight and we Coloradans don’t do wet and cloudy very well. Someone sent me a bogus missive about political correctness. Funny but untrue. It got me thinking. Between political campaigns, commencements, the Queen’s comments on the Chinese and talk shows we have a fertile field to hoe. But where to start?

The phrase started almost a century ago as Karl Marx put forth Das Kapital. If you believed it, you were “politically correct” and if you didn’t it was off to the gulag. No room for maneuvering here. It lay fallow for several decades until the sixties and civil rights. For 50 years everyone stayed in line in society whether it related to gender, ethnicity,color or political thought. The civil rights movement gave a burst of hope to the downtrodden. All of a sudden it became okay to speak the unthinkable and unorthodox. People said “no more”, much to the dismay of the ruling class. Revolution is never easy.

The voices were strong and rebellious. Burning bras and burning hearts were a force of nature. The invaders were not to be repelled. With each bit of success they became more brazen and the establishment more vigilant to put these upstarts down. When people find power within themselves they are a potent force. Unfortunately the ensuing violence and vitriol creates deep gashes that are hard to heal.

I grew up in a strict but loving Irish Catholic family. My dad was a successful self made man who saw no sense in doing anything that could be construed as unconventional. My mom was the dutiful wife and mother. As number four in line I had to make my own way with a bunch of Type A’s in front of me. A lot of things didn’t sit right. Peg Kenny was a lot of the reason the Kennys were successful but I never felt she got her due. The parish where I went to school was ruled by a tyrant. I went to Nam and did my job out of sense of duty but never came to terms with our lunacy. All seeds of an irreverent soul that has finally sought to speak.

I am no angel. I have called friends Canucks,Guineas and worse. In return they have dubbed me a dumb Irish Mick. Blacks are black and I don’t know how to get over that. If I see a Muslim scarf, do I react? Yes I do. I played golf with a Hispanic on Saturday and we are good friends and we make jokes about his heritage. I have gays that have lived on our block and in our building and we socialize regularly.I just have hard time with the transsexual thing but I am trying to work at it. There are 700,000 in the US, so it is not just a fad. Does all this make me a bigot or politically incorrect? I hope not.

On this whole PC I think we have run amok. Graduation speakers are getting hard to find. Liberal professors are scared to death of their liberal students. Microagressions and trigger warnings are part of the syllabus. Euphemisms are now a major. Faculties and administrations are at odds as to who runs the place. Students are wrapped in a cocoon of false security. Universities are not forums but post natal ICU’s. The examples are too numerous and absurd to recite. Three hundred million people have different ideas on everything. You can’t go through life one without offending at least one, if not hundreds.

I am going to piss some of you off and make some of you cheer from the bleachers. I am the most sensitive son of bitch in the world and yet I can be so hurtful. We seem to be striving for perfection in everything. Our speech, our investments, our work, our play our eating,our drinking our relationships. Life is one big work in progress. No one has it right nor will they. If I spend my life listening to how you are saying something as opposed to what you are trying to get across then I won’t learn much. If you live in a closed room all you will get is your own voice echoing off the walls. If that feels good, then go for it.

Totalitarianism can reign on either side of the political spectrum. It’s their way or the highway. Liberals/progressives can be just as dogmatic and unyielding as the best John Birchers. Right now extremism on either side sets the tone and the beat of our dance. The Gloria Steinems and Malcolm X’s and MLK’s of the day had to scream to be heard. Now that we have listened to you can we just tone it down a notch? Ditto the right and whoever their spokesperson is? This isn’t a battle to the death but we are sure as hell are trying to make it that way. Just look at the wastelands we have bombed into oblivion. Really accomplished a lot didn’t we?

We are being robbed of spontaneity and creative juices if everything we do or say is put under the microscope.At some time in our lives we are all victims. But get over it and don’t make it your life’s mission to extract every last pound of flesh for your travails. I am trying and yes, I will fall. But help me up instead of stepping on me and I will do the same. Then maybe we can have coffee or beer at the next exit.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

Classic Euphemisms:
Significant Other…Girlfriend. Mistress,Cousin
Dishonest…Ethically disoriented.
Body Odor…Non discretionary fragrance
Dead…Living Impaired
Stoned..Chemically inconvenienced.
Ugly…Aesthetically challenged
Lazy…motivationally challenged

A fellow from Mt. Gay,WV was thrown off Microsoft for having the word “gay” in his personal profile. No mention of the word gay is allowed. It took him a year to get back on the site.

Some kids from a choir in Waynesville, NC were visiting and performing in NYC. When they got to Ground Zero they were so moved as a group they started to sing the Star Spangled Banner.The guards stopped them because there were no political demonstrations allowed at the 9/11 memorial. They needed a permit.

A Smith College handout from the Office of Student Affairs lists 10 different kinds of oppression that can be inflicted by making judgments about people. These include “ageism — oppression of the young and old by young adults and the middle-aged”; “heterosexism — oppression of those of sexual orientations other than heterosexual . . . this can take place by not acknowledging their existence,” and “lookism . . . construction of a standard for beauty/attractiveness.” It’s not sufficient to avoid discriminating against unattractive people; you must suppress the impulse to notice the difference. I kid you not.

There are 11-12 million people that identify themselves as lesbian,bisexual,gay or transgender. Major languages spoken are English, Spanish, Chines, French, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean German. These are spoken by at least 1 million of you fellow citizens. Lesser are Arabic, Indic, Hindi,Polish, Japanese, Urdu,Greek, Hebrew, Yiddish, Laotian.Thai, Armenian, Navajo, Tamil and Sign spoken by at least 100,000. Interestingly there is no official language of the United States by law.

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