Why are the forces of political correctness in this world so often strident and humourless bores who act like they never get laid?
I would argue many politically correct folks are witty and quite willing to acknowledge other points of view. But the ones who lecture the rest of us on what we should be doing, how we should be speaking, and - most importantly - what we shouldn't be doing and saying, tend to be strident, humourless bores.
When the Barenaked Ladies make a point about world peace or environmentalism, we don't boo them off the stage. They do it with humour, self awareness and respect for your right to disagree.
John Wagner, one of my favourite bloggers, likes to act as a bit of a contrarian. He calls out the political correctness bullies who use outrage and spin to try to force their views on the rest of society.
This week, he's asking whether the grumbling about the origins of American Thanksgiving justify a reshaping of the holiday to reflect the exploitation of aboriginal people. His point is that the symbolism of the pilgrims depending on the generosity of the local Indian tribe for survival has long since given way to a holiday that's all about getting together with family.
Of the politicization of Thanksgiving, he asks:
"So aside from political gain or media visibility, what's the point of turning something like Thanksgiving into a finger-pointing exercise?
"Is the third-grade teacher in the AP story above -- who walks into his classroom and steals things from his students to educate them about the European settlers -- really doing any good? Or is he simply creating another cariacture?"
I left a long, boring comment on his blog. The short version is that I think it's quite possible to have a discussion about aboriginal rights, European colonialism and past injustices without giving up our right to celebrate the good things in life.
Europeans did some pretty horrific things on this soil in the name of God, progress and civilization. I don't think it's too much for us to look back on the atrocities of the past and acknowledge them. Even today, being born in a First Nations reserve in Canada automatically knocks years off your life expectancy. I'm happy to talk about that with my kids on a day like Thanksgiving or Canada Day. It doesn't make me any less thankful, or any less proud to be Canadian.
Image courtesy of RedKid.net