November 5, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Here we go, another stupid brouhaha over a basically harmless, if politically incorrect, comment by a public figure. Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean opened his mouth and inserted his foot when he claimed that he wanted to be the candidate for "guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks" during a presidential debate yesterday. His fellow candidates wasted no time in jumping all over him for the supposed inappropriateness of his comment. How many people really think such an inane comment is hurtful, racist or inappropriate?

Like Trent Lott, who was crucified for a similarly innocuous comment last year, Dean fell victim to the tyranny of political correctness that has infected this country over the past twenty-odd years. These days, if a public figure utters an opinion that has the slightest hint of color or varies even slightly from the razor-thin margin of "approved" stances, he or she will face a terrible wrath from rabid liberals. Only the most bland, progressive and inclusive opinions are tolerated. God forbid you have a strong opinion about anything.

I understand the strategic rationale for politicians to keep their comments as empty as nonfat milk. If they alienate anyone, they risk losing votes. I happen to think such strategy makes for the worst politicians imaginable; we all know what it's like to have a president who bases his principles on the latest poll results. But it's the vehement reaction from (mostly) the left, and especially from the literati and the media, that I can't fathom.

Why is it so unconscionable to offend someone, if it wasn't your intent to offend? Often, a person is persecuted for the political incorrectness of his comments, when in fact the supposed "victim" of his comments took no offense in the first place. I've heard countless stories of civil liberties groups fighting to force schools to abandon their Native American-themed mascot, when the Native American group in question was not offended to begin with. Talk about political correctness run amok.

My idealism got quashed long ago by the overwhelming weight of cynicism piled on by the last twenty years of my experience in this decaying society. The ACLU and other organizations file countless lawsuits every year to ostensibly protect freedom of speech, but their ilk crippled that fundamental right long ago.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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November Columns:

11/28: Family Willow
11/27: Thankful
11/24: Nuclear North Korea
11/21: All Jacko, All the Time
11/20: Mantrimony
11/19: Tutankhamen: Page One
11/18: The Dying Light
11/16: Back to the Grind
11/13: Overpriced
11/12: Land's End
11/11: Veterans' Day
11/10: Cabo Bound
11/9: Supercharged
11/8: Internet Buzz
11/7: Recharged?
11/5: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
11/4: No Wiggle Room
11/1: A Week Lost in Time
Previous months in The Archive

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