Worse Than Ebola

Ebola is not the worst disease threatening America. A more deadly virus has already spread throughout the land, and is even now attacking the first amendment to our Constitution. The symptoms were innocuous at first, and sometimes even a little humorous, but the political correctness virus crept silently into our country on a wave of good intentions, and now we find our political leaders and the courts indulging even the most obnoxious and loony minority demands.

Based on recent court decisions by carefully selected judges – apparently overwhelmed by their own power and wisdom – one would think that the newly invented ‘rights’ of fairness, diversity, and tolerance, now supersede our first amendment rights to free speech and religion. Every grievance group in America uses these new rights to advance their personal agendas, even to the point where whining ‘victims’ have now become the tyrannical majority, and only white, male, Christians are left as the victimizers.

A billion tweets an hour, and instantaneous nationwide communication, have caused the disease to go viral. While the disease is noticeable in practically every corner of our lives, the most obvious symptom is a phobia known as the fear of expressing political opinion.

College presidents lose their jobs for saying men and women are different. Corporate executives are fired for supporting traditional marriage, and anyone who dares criticize our black President is guilty of racism. Say the wrong word around the wrong person and you are guilty of a hate crime, and heaven forbid you mention God in a public setting.

The chilling effect this political correctness has had on our national discourse is devastating and visible everywhere. Most working people – especially those who don’t lay some claim to victimhood – are non-confrontational and just want to be left alone. Liberals on the other hand, always have some personal view they are trying to force on everyone else, and will use any means to accomplish their goal, including the courts and personal attacks. Like schoolyard bullies, they focus in on those who are not willing to fight back, and inevitably have their way.

My hometown of Key West, was once known for its tolerance and diversity. Ernest Hemingway lived here like a common citizen, and President Harry Truman walked the streets without bodyguards or autograph seekers. Open homosexuals like Tennessee Williams were accepted here long before the rest of the nation, and political discourse was lively, combative, and spanned from ultra conservative to radical liberal.

Today, Key West stands as a proud liberal bastion of intolerance, closed thought, and extreme political correctness. Politicians puff about our ‘one human family’ island. Gays preen and threaten about an apparently indisputable ‘right’ to marry, without allowing any discussion of whether 1.6% of the population should have the right to force their view on the rest of the nation, or why they think children don’t really need both a mother and a father.

Businessmen (sorry – business people) discuss public nudity, intoxication, and obscene behavior as if they are just an image problem, and not a legitimate reason for any citizen to take offense. Self-righteous environmentalists lecture us incessantly about the ‘fragile’ marine eco-system we are destroying and man made global warming, and then give each other ‘environmental hero’ awards for being so sensitive and caring.

Each of these subjects is a big no-no for real political discussion in Key West, along with other social issues like abortion, welfare, drug legalization, and homelessness. Unless one likes being personally attacked, or ending up a social outcast, the only acceptable area for discussion is the liberal, politically correct side. Conservative Christians are strongly warned to keep their own ‘hateful’ opinions to themselves.

While I have been observing for some years that no one wants to publicly discuss the pros and cons of hot-button social issues, it only recently occurred to me that people will no longer even debate the issues privately. I first noticed that some of my friends avoid the issues at all costs, and others quickly change the subject if it heads in that direction. Scarier yet, was the realization that even family members are immediately shouting out, “Oh, come on! Let’s not get into politics”, for fear someone will have their tender sensibilities offended

After becoming increasingly aware of the limit on debate, I recently had the most unsettling experience of all. With a group of my closest friends that had been making boat trips together for over 30 years, I tried to test my observation by engaging them in political discussions.

This is a group of men for which no subject had ever been taboo. Every true opinion we had came out, and every prejudice was accepted and then forgotten the next day. Though we are the closest of friends, the discussions often got hot and heavy, but never had a differing opinion affected our friendships. Long before Las Vegas appropriated the slogan, we had an inviolable rule that ‘what is said on the boat stays on the boat’, and no one has ever betrayed that trust.

Despite our free speaking history, I was unable to get anyone into a discussion of the many social issues that affect Key West. I was able to get a short discussion going on immigration, but it ended quickly when I said I didn’t believe in cheap labor, and illegals should be sent back to their home country so all Americans could have well paying jobs.

Political correctness is a national tragedy, but it has carried the debate and won the day. Politicians are endlessly creative at putting off the day of reckoning for any given problem, so it will be years before the full disastrous effects of today’s politics are felt by the entire nation. In the meantime, we enjoy living in the best nation on earth while it is still great, and do what we can to mitigate the problems our children will be left to deal with.

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