I was raised a Democrat. Or, I should say I am currently being raised, as I am often reminded: 21 is not that damn grown-up, so quit acting like you know everything! And as Democrats, we believe in the potential of people, that everyone’s space and personal feelings should be protected, and that everyone is entitled to do things his or her own way because that’s what the founding fathers wanted, thank you very much. While I very much agree with the founding fathers’ desire for freedom of speech, religion and their desire for equality (although their hairstyles needed a little bit of work) I think, at the risk of sounding not so Democratic, that in our great haste to protect everyone’s everything, we are going overboard. After thinking about this for a few days, and coming up with some concrete examples to boot, I had to wonder: is America becoming too politically correct?
The other day, I was driving downtown on my way to Cherry Creek mall. I know, I work in a mall, but for an admitted shopoholic, all I need is a change of scenery and the fires of shopping blaze anew and my sudden need for a new quasi-business casual shirt with matching capri pants is fiery and all-consuming.
There is an old person home on the corner of 1st and Alameda, or perhaps I should call it “A Campus Community for Seniors” – they do. When asked how old he is, my grandpa always says that he’s not old, he’s just chronologically gifted. In truth, the man is 78, and we all know it, but he’s cute, so it doesn’t matter. Before we go further, I’d like to say that I think we have lost a great deal of respect for the elderly people in our society, and their wisdom and experience have been replaced by MTV and bare-midriffs, which makes me sound like an old person, but I’m cute, so it doesn’t matter. If older people prefer to be called seniors, it’s okay by me. I’m a campus senior, maybe they’ll let me move in! I kill at bridge.
What cracks me up is not the senior community, but the special section of the senior community, “dedicated to the memory impaired.” This, I say, it pushing it. In truth, we all know they are advertising for Alheimer’s patients, and diminishing the dignity of the patient in doing it this way. I feel that being so PC smacks of condescention. In trying to be respectful, they are just being ridiculous. I say, let’s call it what it is. No matter how old someone gets, they deserve the truth about their situation. Besides, if you hurt the feelings of someone who is “memory impaired”, in five minutes they won’t remember anyway.
This is just one example of many in the past few months: I’ve driven by restaurants that advertise really great Hispanic food (I guess with immigration debates raging, Mexico has become a dirty word?) and I’ve seen shampoo for “women of color,” (you can tell because the bottle is brown. Clearly, this is necessary.) and, my personal favorite, the lighting of the “holiday tree” in front of Rockefellar Center in New York City. If you know of any holidays other than Christmas that involve decorating a giant tree, please let me know so that the confusion can stop!
I realize this sounds insensitive, but I think if we cut the crap and everyone is free to express themselves instead of tip-toeing around people who are different, we can finally understand each other and begin the process of learning from all cultures and all ages in America, because like it or not, we all came from immigrants, and they are an important part of our culture too.
I don’t know about you, but I love Mexican food, my grandpa (who is not memory impaired), my black friends don’t need different colored shampoo bottles in order to decide which one to buy, and I think the tradition of the Christmas tree is just as important as the traditions behind the menorah or the seven principles of Kwanzaa or any other relgious celebration, thank you very much. And I’m pretty sure this is how the founding fathers would have wanted it.
But thank God for color-coded shampoo. The founding fathers’ coifs really would have been screwed then.