Thursday, July 21, 2016

History and Political Correctness

A knowledge of history (the study of past events) is vital to our future.  Any attempt to re-write it for any cause (Right or Left) can be catastrophic and to ignore history is the death knell to our society’s future.  Even more dangerous than re-writing or ignoring history is not to “know” or “pay attention” to the events of the past—even our recent past.  

This morning I’m thinking about how things were “back in the day” as we say.  Some folk want to go back to some other time as in “Make America Great Again,” but they don’t say what “other time” they want to return to.  Do we want to go back to the 1800’s, 1900’s or some early part of the twentieth century?  I don’t want to go back to any of those times.  I’d much prefer to go forward.  But many voices cry out to go back—to wherever or whatever.

I hear some saying they want to go back to a time when the words “politically correct” were nonexistent.  That’s okay with me as long it doesn’t mean going back to being nasty toward one another.  I really don’t have any problems with getting rid of the term.  I never liked it! From my perspective, the term is shallow and doesn’t go far enough to satisfy what I think is the “moral law of the universe.”  This moral law is written in the pages of ancient history—from the Code of Hammurabi, the works of Plato, the Talmud, the Bible, the Koran, and also written in the human heart (when we allow ourselves to be human).  I could choose a passage from any of many sources describing or expressing this moral law, but since I am a Christian, I’ll just refer you to the passages found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5 and 6.  And as an American, I’ll refer you to the Declaration of Independence, a document in which this “moral law” is deeply embedded.  So let’s do away with “political correctness” and begin living with one another at the deeper level of this moral law of the universe:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people [men] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  

I surely don’t want to go back to a time when some saw free public schooling as something which “invaded the field of individual initiative” and was a “gratuitous education” for those “who were better suited to their station without it,” and as “creeping socialism.”   I do not want to go back to segregated schools and restrooms and drinking fountains.   Nor do I want to go back to 1849 when a prominent educator heard Susan B. Anthony make a speech.  It wasn’t what she said that shocked him—it was the fact that a woman should make a public speech at all.  “Miss Anthony,” he said to her afterward, “that was a magnificent address.  But I must tell you that I would rather see my wife or my daughter in her coffin than hear her speaking, as you did, before a public assembly.”
"...this moment it will break from the bud.  Can you
not perceive it?" (Isa. 43:18, NEB).

There is a moral law in this universe that bids us to love one another, do good to one another, treat others as we would want to be treated, etc.  It goes further than, and deeper than, any form of political correctness.  We can do away with that term—because it is small and narrow—and doesn’t do justice to the moral code of the universe.

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