Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Malicious mascots and the wonders of political correctness
On Your Right
Joe Salazar wants to make sure you don’t say anything hurtful. The good representative, together with several of his Democrat colleagues, has proposed curbing that annoying free speech business in the interest of amity with our Native American community.
In question is HB 1165, which proposes creation of a “Subcommittee for the Consideration of Use of American Indian Mascots by Public Schools.” The committee would be a fixture of the state regulatory apparatus, its membership limited to Native Americans. Public schools with a “Native American” mascot would have to come hat in hand to aforesaid committee and make a case for retention. Tugging the forelock, optional. The committee would then deliver its blessing or prohibition. Any school using such a mascot without approval would incur a penalty of $25,000 a month. By comparison, penalties for low academic performance by a Colorado school system are neither immediate nor pecuniary.
The professed intent is, of course, pure: to prevent anguish caused by use of “grotesque stereotypes” as school mascots. For background, keep in mind that “Indians” is among the top 15 names for school team mascots in the U.S., according to the CBS Sports “Maxprep” database, so there’s plenty of offense to be found.
I understand. The Celtic part of me was once annoyed by Notre Dame’s pugilistic Leprechaun, but eventually I grew up and developed an adult understanding that in our constitutional republic I have every right to be annoyed by what others say or write, but not to use the power of the state to make them stop. I also moved on to real-world problems.
Unfortunately, recent reports from the presidential campaign front indicate that the aversion to being offended may have crossed over to our universe from La-La land. Witness a recent interdict from a group called “HRC Super Volunteers,” on the lookout for “coded sexism” in coverage of Hillary. They have declared the following words, among others, forbidden: “polarizing, calculating, disingenuous, insincere, ambitious, inevitable, entitled.” When used to describe Hillary, of course. Used to tag her opponents, well … that’s just reality, right?
This would be chuckle-inducing were it not for the tendency it reveals. Describing Hillary Rodham Clinton as “insincere” and “entitled” seems like describing the ocean as “damp,” but since those who cleave to her do not wish to deal with these defects, they attempt to short-circuit discussion by claiming “sexism.” To anyone reminded of the argument that criticism of Barack Obama is “racist,” full marks. This is an old tactic of the Left when dealing with “inconvenient truths”: demonize critics so one won’t have to deal with criticism.
Attempts to control the dialogue are exacerbated by the bootlicking tendency of modern media where liberals are involved. On Monday last, Hillary Clinton addressed a crowd of journalists at a ceremony for the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting. She joked about her “email server problem,” claimed a “new beginning,” and called for “no more secrecy.” Then she refused to take any questions from reporters present. She received a standing ovation. Expect no violation of the “calculating equals sexism” rule from this crowd,.
A political party expecting to control the dialogue in a presidential contest by simple say-so, with the help of its fawning acolytes in the media is a danger indeed. It indicates our polity has become so distracted it no longer sees the threat posed by attempts to control speech in a nation which not only guarantees free expression but relies on it as a bulwark against tyranny; and so detached it no longer cares. It also indicates that the policies of personal grievance and division pursued by the Left for decades are coming to fruition. Native American mascots, presidential candidates, “hate speech” codes on college campuses abound. The hermetic language of misogyny discernable only to the practiced eye of the liberal is excoriated, and there are cries for punishment of those who use it.
This is an old habit. Doubters may consult New England pastor Cotton Mather’s “Wonders of the Invisible World,” a 17th-century work dealing with witches, their discovery and destruction in the name of the common good. Like the Clintonites and those offended by Native American school mascots, Mather believed that powerful, malicious forces threaten mayhem daily. Like them, he advocated public action against the “uncooperative.” Like them, he was part of a failing culture whose time had come and gone, fading into a far larger and different America.
And like Cotton Mather’s obsessions with the “tricks of the Devil,” the Left’s preoccupation with racism, sexism, homophobia and so forth should be consigned to the dustbin of malicious historical myths, where they clearly belong.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.
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