Conservative to the core — political correctness
At the British surrender at Yorktown toward the end of the American Revolution, British bands played The World Turned Upside Down, a popular, satirical tune of the day. It was about things that made no sense becoming the norm.
And now, in 2014, it seems to me that the world has once again turned upside down. Things that we held dear when I was a youth are now not only unpopular, but also politically incorrect. What was once bad behavior is now considered good and even promoted by the popular culture. The world has turned upside down.
My first awareness of the onset of political correctness came when the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife changed its rules regarding transportation of deer. For so long, hunters were required to display their deer while taking it to or from the tagging station. This was usually done by fastening the animal to the roof or hood of the car or putting it in the bed of a pickup truck and leaving the tailgate down. Then the law changed so that it was necessary for only a part of the animal to be available to public display, a leg, for example.
And finally, the law changed so that the animal need not be on display at all — and, in fact, it was recommended that hunters keep their legally taken game out of sight of the public. This was so as not to offend anti-hunters, animal rights groups and so on. Hunting had become politically incorrect.
Forgive me, but I recall being proud of shooting a deer. It was an accomplishment. I also remember when people would hang their buck from a tree limb on their front lawn. It was a popular pastime to go out on a Sunday afternoon and visit everyone who had a deer hanging, to congratulate them and to hear the details of their successful hunt. No longer does any of that fly, though. The hunter who dares proudly display his game is now a pariah, a victim of political correctness.
For me, the ghost of Christmas past brings with it scenes of Christmas lights, shouts of “Merry Christmas” and nativity scenes on the public square. Who could or would have ever imagined, 50, even 40 years ago, that the trappings of the Christmas holiday would be deemed offensive by anyone? I certainly never would have thought so. But lo, this too has come to pass. Oddly, I don’t notice any other religious holidays suffering under a similar burden of persecution. I say if you don’t like Christmas, that’s your business. But don’t work to take the joy out of it for everyone else. I’ll quote Dennis McNeish, who once said, “Some people don’t like to see other people having fun.”
The change in attitude regarding hunting and Christmas, because of political correctness, has caused me to turn inward. I am not politically-correct and, if asked, will admit that I don’t buy in to the politically correct agenda. But it’s hard and it comes with costs. As an example, I’m aware that I have offended a number of people who thought well of me until I began writing this conservative-oriented newspaper column. But the offer was there and I wasn’t about to turn it down.
I see people wearing legends and logos on their caps and T-shirts that offend me, but never, ever, have I gone out of my way to treat those people rudely. But that’s because I’m conservative. We generally hold a live-and-let-live policy toward those with whom we disagree. Do what you wish, don’t try to force it on me, and we’ll get along just fine. But that train of thought doesn’t run both ways, unfortunately.
It pains me to admit this, but I find myself thinking twice before doing or acting in any way that might offend the politically correct. It’s just easier. This seems like a cop-out, but it’s how life goes. No longer would I dare to display my deer. No longer will I wear my NRA cap to places where I know people will be offended.
This in no way implies that my way of thinking or my values have changed, because they haven’t. In fact, adversity has made me more aware of my core values and helps me to nurture them.
It goes further. During the last presidential election, I proudly slapped a Romney sticker on the rear bumper of my car. That act inaugurated a new-found awareness of just how much the modern world has turned upside down. That simple, little bumper sticker elicited a plethora of nasty comments.
One person, a friend, told me that it was too bad that my candidate was going to lose. This was done in a snarky, condescending way.
The thing is, never, ever, have I commented upon other people’s bumper stickers. I see “My other car is a broom,” “LePage is An Oaf — Maine Deserves Better,” and a host of other slogans and logos that offend me. But my opinions stay with me. My power and my recourse are at the ballot box.
And now, after having to trade vehicles because my six-year-old Ford Focus rusted out prematurely, I am faced with a decision. Do I put another political sticker on the bumper of the new car? Probably not. It’s just easier to go bumper-sticker free and avoid confrontation.
What’s in my mind, though, no one can dispute because it is not evident. My demeanor doesn’t betray my thoughts and so everyone stays happy. It just doesn’t pay to stir the pot.
Even the U.S. military has succumbed to political correctness. Recently, Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a renowned soloist in the Army Band Chorus, took retirement early, not because he wished to, but because he was compelled to.
Sommers states that he was forced out of the military because he had placed anti-Obama bumper stickers on his private auto, for serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches that he bought with his own money at a party, and also for reading books by conservative authors.
Can this be true? Has political correctness destroyed the career of a decorated military man? It would appear that it has. Sommers maintains that his religious and political beliefs are responsible for his forced retirement.
Master Sgt. Sommers has hired an attorney and is bringing suit against the government for his alleged wrongful treatment. By the way, Sommers said that he has not heard of anyone with pro-Obama bumper stickers getting sacked. Again, the train only runs one way.
As a youngster, I thought all Christian churches held the same beliefs. That, too, was an idealist notion that political correctness has set me straight on. Then about 25 years ago I joined the mission board of a local, mainstream denomination church. I foolishly thought that “mission” meant spreading the word of God to those who hadn’t heard it. Wrong again.
At the first mission board meeting, the chairwoman addressed the group by saying, “I’m sure that no one here believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God.” Everyone snickered. I raised my hand and said, “You forgot about me. I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God.” You could have heard a pin drop.
I agreed with the group that providing physical help to poor people throughout the Second World was commendable, but it should be coupled with soul-saving. That was not on their agenda. I resigned immediately and left the church.
The lady who said that she was sure that no one there believed that Jesus Christ was the son of God is now on the board of the statewide conference for that denomination. That’s how political correctness has insinuated its way into organized religion.
In the end, I still feel that it does no good for conservatives to go out of their way in trying to counter political correctness. It only stirs up the politically correct crowd more.
However, we conservatives must continue to adhere to our values and, if push comes to shove, we must be willing to accept whatever penalty the world wishes to inflict upon us for holding fast to those values. Stand strong, don’t give in, but don’t purposely try to aggravate the politically correct. And, above all, vote.