Aren’t you glad those residing in the corridors of power have solved all of society’s woes and now are able to focus on other issues, like debating which leaders most deserve to have their pictures on U.S. currency and fashioning public restroom policies for transgender adults — an estimated 0.3 percent of the population, or roughly 700,000 people in a country of more than 323 million.
Apparently all the other issues plaguing the country are fixed — health care, education, unemployment, crime, foreign policy, immigration, terrorism, Social Security, homelessness, failing infrastructure, North Korean nukes, global warming, dolphin-free tuna, chemtrails, genetically modified organisms, the cure for the common cold, the University of Alabama football team’s starting quarterback — the list goes on and on. All these things that affect more people on a daily basis must have been solved so that our leaders can focus on transgender bathroom rights and honoring Harriet Tubman on the $20.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Yet we’re inundated with hot takes and questions on the presidential campaign trail about just those topics.
Somehow in the recorded 5,000 years of human history, mankind survived without policies allowing men who would rather be women to use the ladies room. Amazing, right?
When the $20 bills featuring Tubman are put into circulation in 2020, can we expect the racial strife that has plagued this country since its founding to finally be put to rest? Also, given the amount of transactions that are done electronically, will we even need that many $20 bills in 2020?
That’s the problem with our politics right now. With the gridlock in Washington, D.C., likely to continue, our federal government has been relegated to making these meaningless, symbolic gestures to create the perception that it is doing something. Your tax dollars at work, they say.
Consider it an advanced form of procrastination. We’ve been waiting decades to move beyond and solve the perceived racial strife in this country. While there seems to be a serious conversation about race relations every few months or so, problems persist. Instead of solving those “serious” issues, let’s just put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. That will not get the problem solved but it will feel good and look like progress.
Most people see right through this and call it out for what it is — an attempt to assuage their guilt over their perceived “privilege” by succumbing to political correctness. And that’s what makes it possible for a person like Donald Trump to become a legitimate contender for the highest office in the land. He is seen to protest against this whole effort.
Over the last few years, there have been meddling busybodies forcing these trivialities as if they are pertinent to society. The push to change the name of the Washington Redskins — how does that move the needle?
The entire idea of whitewashing a dark time in American history by removing anything associated with the Confederacy, be it the Confederate flag or names of Confederate Civil War figures from highways — what does that accomplish?
How about the effort to strike the words “Merry Christmas” for something more inclusive so that non-Christians don’t feel left out? Saying “happy holidays” instead isn’t going to solve the Israel-Palestine dispute.
It’s not just the left that engages in this, but the right has its form of political correctness. How many efforts in deeply Republican states have considered legislation or ballot initiatives outlawing Sharia? Is there anywhere in America that is on the brink of installing mullahs and governing in accordance with the Koran? Just for the record, Alabama voters overwhelmingly voted to outlaw Sharia in 2004. We can now sleep at night knowing the state capitol won’t be transformed into some sort of holy mosque.
All these things are done with the idea of achieving a level of political correctness, but it’s not really obtainable. We’ll never be able to create the perfect society where everything is fair. These efforts are even worse because they’re not really doing anything to work toward that utopia, but instead making work and wasting precious time that could be used for more substantive efforts.
The late comedian George Carlin warned all this tripe of political correctness is more harmful than it is helpful. Instead of taking on injustice, you’re creating more injustice.
“Political correctness is America’s newest form of intolerance, and it is especially pernicious because it comes disguised as tolerance,” Carlin wrote in his 2004 book “When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops.” “It presents itself as fairness, yet attempts to restrict and control people’s language with strict codes and rigid rules. I’m not sure that’s the way to fight discrimination. I’m not sure silencing people or forcing them to alter their speech is the best method for solving problems that go much deeper than speech.”
While we grapple with transgender restrooms and currency, it’s important to take a step back and really consider how much of this matters. Maybe it matters a lot to one individual, but as a whole, does it?
Yet, society has dedicated a lot of effort tilting at these symbolic windmills. Has it accomplished anything other than running out the clock? Likely no. So why do we do it?
Boredom, I suppose.