There is no issue more clearly delineating right and left (or perhaps I should say right and wrong) than political correctness.
Anyone with traditional values and, perhaps more to the point, traditional common sense can only shake his (or her) head at the lunacy that prevails in so much of our society today. It’s almost as if we live in the world of “1984,” where we are compelled at risk of torture to say that 2+2=5.
What exactly am I talking about? You only need to read a few recent news stories to get the gist of it, but what drove me over the edge was a story from last week that three Portland, Oregon, elementary schools were having their names changed because they “offended” some students and families.
The schools were named after Patrick Lynch, a man who generously had donated land to the local school district in the late 1800s and whose name had thus been memorialized in Lynch Wood Elementary School, Lynch Meadows Elementary School and Lynch View Elementary School.
So what was the problem? Patrick Lynch’s patronym happens to also be the word used for public executions by a mob, especially when done out of racial animus. This coincidence of names led the school district to remove the word Lynch from two of the schools and turn the third into Patrick Lynch Elementary School.
While it might be entirely justifiable to rename the schools for clarity or convenience (who really would want three schools with such similar names in one district?) it makes no sense to do so just because people were offended by the donor’s last name. Must we force everyone named Lynch to select a new monicker? Can we no longer have a Lynch Hall or a Lynchburg? Or a lynchpin? Was attorney general Loretta Lynch scary to black people even though she herself was black? It is an absurd premise on the face of it, yet people in the community used the specter of racial guilt to force the change in school names.
It does appear that political correctness has been developed as a weapon in our grievance culture largely to shame white people. Another example of that happened in March when a white male student at San Francisco State University was accosted on a viral video by a black female because he was wearing his hair in dreadlocks. She asked him if he had scissors, implying that she would cut the dreadlocks off, and when challenged by the young man why he could not have that hairstyle, she said: “Because it’s my culture.”
Such an attitude is not only divisive; it is foolish as well. Do culture warriors really intend to prevent the influence of their innovations from reaching other cultures? Are we all supposed to live in cultural ghettoes where we are forbidden from importing new ideas, new looks and new thoughts? If so, we may as well join the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea. And liberals who talk this way have no business complaining about Trump’s Wall, which is merely intended to prevent movement of people illegally, not the movement of ideas and influences.
Speaking of our southern border, one of the most egregious instances of political correctness in recent memory was the internet lynch mob (sorry, I couldn’t resist) that shut down a Mexican restaurant in (where else?) Portland, Oregon.
Was this the work of fanatic racist white people who would not tolerate ethnic diversity in their culinary institutions? No, it was the work of radical left-wing progressives who could not stand the idea of two middle-aged white women opening a Mexican restaurant.
Turns out the women had visited Mexico and became enamored of a local recipe for tortillas, so they decided to share them with a Portland audience after researching the recipe in Mexico by watching and talking to cooks in Puerto Nuevo.
This was interpreted by the social injustice industry in Portland as stealing the work of poor Mexican women so that “other white ppl don’t have to be inconvenienced of dealing with a pesky brown middle woman getting in their way” (lack of grammar and logic in the original post).
OK, let me get this straight — white people should only cook, what, lutefisk and lefse? hot dogs? corned beef and cabbage? You know we won’t even be able to go to Italian restaurants anymore because, as everyone knows, Marco Polo appropriated pasta from the Chinese.
These are just a handful of examples out of dozens in my files that demonstrate the suicidal tendencies of modern Western culture. Foolish ideas have always been around, but they have never had such fertile ground to sprout in before.
To paraphrase a famous quote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of foolishness is for intelligent people to keep their mouths shut and take it.”
Sorry, no can do. And I encourage the rest of you to speak up as well, or forever lose the right to do so.
Frank Miele is managing editor of the Daily InterLake in Kalispell, Montana. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.