American Elephants


Accept the World As It Is, Warts and All. by The Elephant's Child

I have refrained from mentioning the Duck Dynasty flap, now over, because I am unfamiliar with the show, but the controversy goes back to a familiar theme — the more things change, the more they stay the same, which is an English translation of the French plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. This Christmas has been remarkable for its political correctness.  Lo, it is the Winter Holiday, and you must refrain from offending anyone.

The Air Force rushed around banishing their nativity scenes, in case someone might find them offensive. School principals and Veterans Administration busybodies banned Christmas Carols, or changed the words to remove any reference to the reason we were having the holiday in the first place.  The VA wouldn’t allow Christmas cards made by children if they mentioned any religious words, references to Christmas, Christ, or Angels which might offend the veterans in VA hospitals. The Obamas sent Kwanzaa greetings to whoever celebrates that holiday, but mention of Christians is out of line unless it’s the media writing of all the Christians being slaughtered in the Middle East. Chaplains were told to knock off the Jesus talk, and not to mention God either.

I have never understood why anyone should be protected from being “offended.” Part of life is learning how to cope with being insulted, having your feelings hurt, being treated unfairly, or bullied. Life is unfair. You will have your feelings hurt, and protection doesn’t come from some social-engineering regulation passed by leftist loonies, but from your own internal armor and stoical resignation that recognizes the imperfect humanity of the world.  Not everybody is nice, even nice people are sometimes mean, and there is real evil in the world. Get used to it. You can always try to be nice yourself, that might help.

The United States has recognized that there are many religions in the world, though we remain a Judeo-Christian nation. Our very first settlers were seeking religious freedom to practice their own religion free from the dictates of the state. And they were escaping a long, long siege of religious wars. Catholicism, Church of England and Scottish Presbyterianism fought bloody, chopping off heads wars, and Puritans, Pilgrims, Shakers, Mennonites, Quakers, Episcopalians, Jews, Dutch Reformed, German Reformed, Irish Catholic, Scots-Irish Presbyterians, and all sorts of odd sects came to America and some new ones arose here, and for the most part they learned to get along, with a few notable exceptions here and there. But comparatively speaking, we Americans are pretty outstanding in the getting along department.

It seems to me that we have become more sensitive to offending by the mention of religion only in the wake of 9/11. Can we ask young Muslim women to uncover their faces for drivers’ license photographs? Must swimming pools set up separate hours for female swimming? TSA bans one inch long key chain knives, but finds no problem with 15″ metal knitting needles. Elderly people in wheelchairs will be subjected to invasive searches while young Middle Eastern men with one-way tickets will be passed through for fear of being accused of “ethnic profiling.”

It is a mindset that does not accept the fallible, imperfect nature of humanity. That does not truly recognize that there is evil in the world, and is prepared to deal with it. You cannot regulate niceness, kindness or peace.

Does tolerance mean constant tippytoeing to avoid giving offense? Good Grief. I was writing about this same thing two years ago. The more things change the more they stay the same. Troublesome words, troublesome ideas.




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