August 15, 2015, Prescott- The Chaplain giving a benediction, at today’s “Spirit of 45” remembrance of World War II veterans, referenced political correctness as a threat to freedom, while noting how the GI Generation accomplished their goals without a systematic enforcement of unwritten social code.
That got me thinking about “P.C.” I was raised to look at people, strictly as individuals. Pejoratives were not allowed in our house, pure and simple. My parents were people of their time, and it took Mom years to accept the idea of “mixed marriages”. Yet, every person with whom we came in contact was to be respected.
Being unusual, in my own right, made it actually easier to accept and embrace differences. I have since had the bounty of having a wide variety of friends, from all backgrounds. Political correctness has had little or nothing to do with this.
I see how P.C.has had some great benefits, as it brought people out of their “business as usual” comfort zones. The Civil Rights movements, which have brought codified assurance of equality under the law, to women, people of colour and to the LGBT community, were a vital necessity in a society that was too immersed in a comfort level that thrived on separation.
I need to say this, though: The only thing that really will result in a truly inclusive society, which will not discriminate against ANY of its members, is a change of the human heart. We are reaching a saturation point, in terms of the amount of criticism being directed at those whose opinions or lifestyles might not mesh with those of the critics. The over-dependence on political correctness, as a guide to personal and community choices, will likely result in a confused generation, alienated from its legacy- as no historical figure could possibly clear the bar that overuse of political correctness is foisting upon our education system. Yes, it is good, and necessary, to know that several of the Founding Fathers owned slaves, hated Native Americans and were condescending towards women. It is good, and necessary, to know the truth about Abraham Lincoln’s view of people of colour, or Franklin D. Roosevelt’s anti-Semitism. That should not blind us to the good that those men did. It should only remind us that no one is perfect, save the Founders of the Great Faiths. It should show us where we were, as a people, at various points in time, and that we are making progress, steadily. WITHOUT EXCUSING the wrongheadedness of our forebears, let us remind ourselves that the march of history is forward, upward, towards enlightenment.
Consigning all historical figures to the dust bin is a mistake, for then we will, at some point, revert to the same practices we claim to abhor, albeit in a different form. Banning those of different, sometimes archaic, OPINIONS from speaking, will only lead to clandestine and terror-oriented groups, such as IS, the Rakhine Buddhists, the Ku Klux Klan and Opus Dei, to openly hostile congregations like Westboro Baptist Church, or, worst of all, to criminal cartels, which profit from the dregs of human suffering.
Only attention to one’s heart and soul can bring about the peace and inclusiveness that we all seek. How this is done, should be solely up to the individual, so long as it does not bring harm to another. Violence, intimidation, or codified pressure from without cannot work to our advantage, in the long run.
The only correctness that can bring lasting peace, is personal correctness. It is a huge responsibility, and it is given to each and every one of us. No government, or social medium, can tend to it in our stead.