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.

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

HOWEVER, in a sign of hope for you to be encouraged by (this is where I will give the caveat that I am a Marine officer (ret.) and Roman Catholic deacon)…

You mentioned the Air Force taking down their nativity scenes… a similar request was made of the Commander of Marine Air Station, Beaufort (SC)… he very politely told the group where to put their request, and it remains up (Beaufort, SC is also the home of MCRD Parris Island, and Beaufort Naval Hospital, where I was born). Marines are taught that they serve, in order: God, Country, Corps. You are encouraged to go to chapel in Basic and Officer Candidate School (you don’t have to go, but you had better have THE shiniest brass in your barracks!). General Jim Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, will occasionally mouth the PC platitudes that anyone in a political position has to, but he backs up his commanders in the field.

And as far as people being “offended” (yes, quotes… I feel that people are often not offended so much as they are annoyed that you don’t think as they do), I think Berke Breathed summed it up quite well…


Comment by Lon Mead

I have great faith in the United States Marine Corps. The Air Force has been getting all weird lately. They even abolished the “Men to Match My Mountains” verse outside the Academy as politically incorrect, if I remember correctly.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

if you are referring to Shaw Air force Base in SC, the scene was originally set up at an improper location and was relocated to a proper location per military regulations. This was not clarified by the media or those who ranted on social media. Having clarified that particular incident, it IS absolutely ridiculous to even have a phrase like “political correctness” govern the speech/actions of the American citizen. Within the laws of the US, we are free to disagree whatever our beliefs/lifestyles.


Comment by Cat

Thank you for understanding tolerance, friend.


Comment by Pamela Gilbert Rieth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: