Since I've never had the opportunity to travel outside of the U.S., I haven't experienced the world outside of the U.S. bubble, so to speak. But, I do know that for the past two decades here in the U.S., there has been a war waged. It's a cultural war, of sorts. It's a war of words. And ... it's exhausting!
It's called "political correctness," PC for short. There are an awful lot of people who want to see it go away. A recent poll (PDF, 160 pages), called "Hidden Tribes: A Study of America's Polarized Landscape," shows that 80% of Americans are tired of political correctness, and wish that it would go away. Young, old, liberal, conservative, rich, poor ... there seems to be agreement on at least this.
It didn't take me very long to discover that this "phenomenon" has tentacles that reach far and wide, across international borders. I found one article from the Daily Mail in the U.K. (it didn't require too much searching) that talks about the PC madness. Ironically, most of the examples cited seemed to be from the U.S., where the PC madness has turned into PC insanity.
Around my part of the world, it will wear you down. And quick. I started noticing it not long after it reared its ugly head. I was working night shift at the hospital then, and we had victims of a motor vehicle accident coming in by ambulance to the emergency room. I made the "mistake" of calling it a motor vehicle accident. I was quickly corrected by one of the PC police. "It's a motor vehicle collision, not a motor vehicle accident," the PC minded person stated. "By calling it an accident, it sounds like you're trying to place blame."
That was my reaction then, and it remains my reaction now. An accident is an accident. It is what it is. It doesn't help that I've never really been good at "sugar coating" things. I tend more to just state things the way they are. Facts are facts. You can sugar coat any kind of excrement you want all you want, but it will still taste like excrement when or if you take a bite.
The PC movement has gone to extremes. It's insane and impossible. There's hardly anything you can say that doesn't offend someone, somewhere, no matter how careful you are. It's like walking on eggshells through a minefield littered with unexploded ordnance.
I appreciate when someone is direct and honest about things with me. But then again, that's how things were when I grew up. You were expected to deal with the truth, however raw it may be or regardless of how bad it made you feel. But in today's PC world, we're more concerned about someone's feelings than with being truthful. Back then, learning to deal with one's shortcomings and human frailties built character. It taught you perseverance, and allowed for personal introspection on how you might be able to improve on those shortcomings to become a better person.
But today, people don't seem to be interested in becoming a better person. Each little camp wants all the other camps to bend to their will and way of thinking. Tolerance is nonexistent. For each, it's either their way or the highway. It's little to no wonder why we can't come together on even the simplest, most basic challenges facing us. Division has become the new norm, and that division is firmly rooted in the PC culture.
This month's cover image is by Randi Hausken of Bærum, Norway, and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. The image was found on Wikimedia Commons.
Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity and prosperity. And please ... be kind to one another. Or at least agree to disagree ... and move along to more productive endeavors.