Imaginary games of Cops and Robbers or Cowboys and Indians. Cap guns. Western movies with John Wayne and TV shows like Bonanza and Gunsmoke. These are all things that my generation grew up with. I’d like to think that my generation came away unscathed by the violence of guns that were a seemingly normal part of our childhoods.
Now, these many years later, just mention bringing your Nerf gun to your elementary school and the authorities are immediately contacted. We automatically assume that a child who talks about a harmless toy that references ‘shooting’ to be a danger. How did we get that far?
Who remembers Silly String? Gosh, I really LOVED that stuff! But I got to thinking about it again and began to wonder why no extremist has gotten on a soapbox about how dangerous it is. After all, we used it for play as a way to ‘tie up’ people in it, and the act of bondage is violent. Okay, it wasn’t any more potentially threatening with a Nerf gun, but why not look at every toy made and see what its underlying threat might possibly be?
For Christmas, 2019, a bunch of people got on a bandwagon about the song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. Some persons or people decided that the lyrics were coercive to make a woman stay when she keeps suggesting she should leave.
All of those things, and more, led me to the title of this blog post: Have we swung too far? I applaud the virtue behind the idea of being ‘politically correct’, but am I the only one who thinks we have taken it to the opposite extreme?
There’s noise about what we call the winter holidays, and people want to be offended at the words “Merry Christmas”. No one complains about Hanukkah or Kwanzaa; if it doesn’t fit within their belief pattern, they still tolerate it without a stink. Why does “freedom of religion” not apply to Christians then? The US of A was founded on Christian beliefs and principals. The paper money and coins we spend all say, “In God We Trust”. Non-Christians don’t have a single complaint earning and spending this American money even though it goes against their core beliefs…. Wouldn’t that be considered a double standard of sorts?
This is my example of a bad day: You spill hot coffee from your freshly made cup all over the floor and your bare feet. You settle down to do some things on your computer only to find that your Internet is down. Oh, and so much for watching the morning news or anything else for that matter on the TV, because the whole system is down. You decide to do some household chores with your suddenly ‘free’ time. The washer overflows while doing a load of laundry. You can’t fix if yourself so call for a repair. The shop says they can get to you by 10 AM – the next day – so you use every towel you own to sop up the water and end up having to throw all the dirty towels in the dryer and dry them dirty. You open the freezer, thinking you’ll pull out that roast to put in the crockpot for dinner that night, only to remember, after looking for it, that you made it a week ago. At this point, you are liable to be more than just a little frustrated, right? So you throw your hands up into the air and shout, “Lord, take me away from all of this!”
Do you realize that, if one of these ‘extremists’ were to hear that, it might be in their perception that your cry sounded manic and possibly suicidal? So a call is made, and the men in white coats come and take you away for an involuntary admission into the mental health ward of the closest hospital.
An extreme example? Yes! But this is a perfect example of how our society has become one that sees every thing and every body as a threat of some kind. Unlike our judicial system, which avers that we are “innocent until prove guilty”, we assume guilt quickly, without knowing the intent or meaning of a person’s words or actions.
Listen, I’m a firm believer in stopping violence in schools and protecting our children. I believe that the qualities of being politically correct are more important than the flaws in being so. I believe that all persons – male or female – should be held accountable for their actions. But I also believe in a system that doesn’t assume guilt before it is proven.
In my opinion, we’ve swung too far to the other side – from being innocuous to certain behaviors and actions to automatically assuming the worst at times when those behaviors and actions are displayed. The world has its psychopaths and sociopaths and other trolls in its population, but if we start assuming that everyone IS one, we lose sight of the fact that there is much goodness in most of the people with whom we cohabitate on this earth. I, for one, refuse to let go of that belief.