Wooly Bully

A lot of noise is being made lately about the so called “culture wars.” We seem to have developed a great love of competing for the title of “most discriminated against.” But more than that, we like to debate about who is most deserving of being offended by whom.
Really when it comes down to it, there’s nothing new about this at all. We can just communicate our grievances much faster now with the technology we’ve invented. What we have is the same old attitude that we’ve always had. We like seeing what’s different about us more than seeing what we have in common. We like labels and little boxes for people.
But here’s reality: we’re all human beings, we all have crosses in life, and every last one of us has some trait, belief, idea, feeling or opinion that will make us either the offender and the offended at any given time.
For instance, take me. I work sporadically writing. I’m a stay at home mom. In our world, that translates to anti-feminist, wasted talent, un-hip, un-sophisticated, etc. Most would be surprised to know I have a Master’s degree, worked more than 15 years in the fast-paced world of public relations, was a TV spokesperson and have traveled through Europe and Asia.
I offend people daily with these ideas: pro-gas drilling, Catholic, pro-life, non-drinker, compromiser, nap taker, Devils Advocate, etc. Oh, and I love Diet Coke or Sprite, and sweets. And like everyone else, I’m offended daily by many people and their actions and words.
It’s ok to be, but not one of us has the right to be. The great irony in all of our complaining about who has hurt our feelings today is that we ALL feel this offensiveness quite regularly.
Currently, the LGBT community is at the top of the hurt feelings list, blaming everyone from politicians to cake bakers for offending them. Have they been slighted by society? You bet. Do we need to ensure they are treated equally (whatever that is) under the law? Absolutely. Do we need a gay or lesbian character on every television show? Probably not. Does anyone with even the slightest notoriety have to tell us their sexual orientation? Does the President have to congratulate these people for just being who they are? I don’t think so. Some “discriminations” (being denied access to community programs or health care for instance) are worth sounding the alarm about. Others (maybe a neighbor calling you a racist) are not.
No one owns the field on discrimination, or on being bullied. Heck, my blonde-haired, blue-eyed, 7- year-old gets bullied everyday at school for something that’s going on in another kid’s life. Women are discriminated against for being pro-life or pro-choice, stay-at-home or working mom or not a mom, men get it for having facial hair, driving specific kinds of cars, or for what they do for a living. Republicans can get it for not being Republican enough. People get slighted for being ugly or beautiful; smart or dumb; healthy or sick; young or old. And so on.
No one is safe from being offended. Yet we continue to scream for law and policy that favors some group over another. Honestly, how many transgendered kids can their be in one California school district that we need official policy on bathrooms? Do we really need to force people by law into doing things they don’t believe because someone feels hurt by their values? Come on. People are upset all the time over bad business policies or terrible “customer service.” We’ve all be treated different in our jeans than in our Sunday best. It’s part of life.
Or.
Maybe we should all start wearing labels that identify us from one another so we don’t inadvertently offend anyone anymore? Maybe signs on business that say who we serve and who we don’t. Maybe a cookie-cutter school curriculum that tells our kids what to think? Or a campaign to do away with inconvenient religions and creeds? Or a program to monitor mass communication? Hmmmmmm.
Freedom from being offended is not a right. In some ways to someone, every one of us is offensive.

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