There are so many ways that we are being trained to lie to ourselves. Make no mistake, political correctness is the AIDS to our Constitution. In a world where the person who is offended by something is the one with power, you know something is wrong. Here’s the deal: if you are offended by something someone says, you need therapy. You don’t take away the speaker’s freedom of speech. Or, you get the backbone to confront this person. You don’t weasel around behind the scenes to hurt this individual. But with the advent of a new “Fairness Doctrine”, the vigilance of the thinking public needs to be jolted. Social discourse is about to be intercoursed by the worst Congress in American History. And this can’t be allowed to happen.
So I’ve compiled some of the more ridiculous things we say to lie to ourselves and others about what we really mean. Some of these things are just irritating, not necessarily politically correct, but the point is that everyone seems to want to pretend they’re living in an episode of The West Wing. I, unfortunately, have a lot of contact with local political officials and elected representatives, and it is absolutely pathetic to talk to these people. Two dimensional people should be food, not in positions of influence.
Let me begin with something that is best called a disclaimer. This is where someone begins a sentence with one thing, and then proceeds to make the first thing they said a lie. The perfect example is when someone starts by saying “With all due respect”. You know right away that what follows is going to be completely disrespectful. So why bother saying “with all due respect”? Does this somehow absolve the person for what they’re about to say? Could I cave in someone’s windshield with a baseball bat, and then say “Just kidding” and that would make it ok? Of course not. It is spineless, politically correct, softened language that takes the power of conviction out of what we say.
Often times someone will say “I don’t mean to be negative, but…”. You know, automatically, when there’s a “but” that it has just erased your disclaimer of not wanting to be negative. It’s like someone saying: “I don’t mean to be negative, but I hate your guts and I want to kill you and your whole family.” Why bother with the pretense? Because we want to take the passion out of our words, fearing we might offend some neurotic who shouldn’t be out in public in the first place. Crybabies rule this country. And people like us, who actually have convictions about real issues, are made to take a back seat to the spineless.
Sometimes, though, there are things that people say that are just useless. Catch phrases that become popular on TV or from your local yuppie lunatic are what I am talking about. I mean things like “Let’s think outside the box.” I had a boss who used to say that all the time. I used to think that it was just his crystal meth addiction that made him dim, but apparently it was really just him. I have nothing more to say about this phrase except this: Anyone who says “outside the box” needs to be put in one, preferably made of pine.
Similarly, the phrase “The reality is…” is a suspect way to begin saying anything. I find that most of the time someone who begins a sentence by saying “The reality is…” is about to demonstrate a total disconnect from it. Not only that, but when someone says that, they are implying that they know what the reality of something is, and you don’t. No one knows what “the reality is.” Not even the cult of science knows. So please keep your mouth shut if you have no idea what you are saying. Just say it. And then take the consequences.
I think one of the most heinous phrases I have ever heard, though, has to be “It’s all good”. What a lame, cop-out thing to say. No, it’s not all good. All is never good. Some things are just plain bad or evil, and when some “laid back” idiot says “it’s all good” it means that they are too stupid, high or tired to recognize that some people are into, doing, perpetuating, receiving or believing in bad, stupid or dangerous things. And when I say “bad things” I don’t mean “inappropriate things”. That’s another word I truly hate. Things are not “inappropriate”. What a vanilla, gutless thing to say. Things are bad, wrong or maybe even tasteless. “Inappropriate” means nothing. And the word is usually used by nothings who are trying to sound sophisticated.
As someone who has worked on the “front lines” and created various outreach programs for 20 years, let me make something clear. Absolutely no program – non-profit, government, or otherwise – will influence real change with political correctness. If you are too afraid of getting sued by some uneducated, spineless weakling you might offend, then stay out of the business. Look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example. They gave in to political correctness in the 80’s in the AIDS epidemic, so for the last 10 years the HIV/AIDS rate has continued at approximately 40,000 a year. No decrease. Just 40,000 “acceptable losses.” Good work, folks. But, hey, I’m glad you didn’t offend anybody.
Let me be blunt: we are a nutless country that has given in to lawyers trying outrageous lawsuits for idiots and where complete garbage can be offended by some meaningless utterance and get someone fired. In a famous recent incident, Don Imus, a person I can’t stand, was fired for the same thing. This has got to stop. The First Amendment is unequivocal. It doesn’t say “kinda, oughta, sorta”. Once this amendment is gone, the Republic falls. Orwell’s “1984” is NOW, though somewhat late.
Much of this is involved in a much larger thing, which I call the Eugenics War. You may want to look that word “eugenics” up. We’re in it now, and all of our recent headlines are aimed at it. This, I am not joking about, actually. This is happening, and many of us have seen it coming for decades. What used to be talent now is replaced by photogenic image. And taking into the account the unavoidable reality that advertising places these things in premium, and that advertising is entirely invested in the mission to tell us “You are not good enough, you are not attractive enough and you are not ‘hot’ enough” unless you buy what they are selling", our inner and outer selves are being literally mutated to the whims of stupid, shallow people. Envy is the engine that powers this society, make no mistake about it. Otherwise, no advertising would work. We are being engineered to allow only those with certain features to succeed. Take, for a moment, the vast numbers of young people who are getting cosmetic surgery. Look at the fact that the legislature of Mississippi was once trying to pass a law to make it illegal for restaurants to serve obese people. Do you think for one moment that this was promulgated for health purposes? No. It is because people aren’t supposed to be overweight because it’s not attractive. Nobody cares about their health. It’s just not pretty. This disgusting hypocrisy is only the surface symptom of this manipulation of the natural selection process that drives the self-esteem of the weaker person into the ground. And it’s all geared toward killing the “right” people: those people not wearing the jackboots of the GQ generation.
And now, on top of this assault from the vacuous, we have the added insult of having our language policed by the barely educated and easily offended. Not only are we engineering people so that only those with certain physical features will succeed, but now we are only allowing those with certain beliefs to succeed. Does any of that sound vaguely familiar to you? The writing is not merely on the wall, it has been carved into the stone.
Personally, I am tired of caving to the spineless. Where did the meaning go? And why are we so ready to give it up?
Andrew T.Durham is a graduate of State University at Albany, with a degree in Psychology/Philosophy. In the late 80's to mid 90's he was instrumental in creating ground-breaking outreach/prevention programs, as well as being a highly successful public speaker. A former acupuncturist and clinician (primarily to inner city adolescents), he has also been a consultant to the Massachusetts State Department of Public Health and several non-profit organizations. He is an accomplished musician - proficient in 7 instruments - ,actor and author of 10 plays, 5 of which have been produced. He is currently a consultant for small non-profit agencies and lives in Rochester, NY