September 9, 2011

Cornucopia / Cynthia Dewes

An expression of appreciation for political incorrectness

Cynthia DewesSometimes, in fact most of the time, I tire of political correctness.

At such moments, I feel like digging into a 16-ounce hunk of red meat that’s been fried in real butter. I get an urge to throw candy wrappers out the car window or toss aluminum cans and plastic water bottles into the trash. I have to force myself to put potato peelings in the compost bucket instead of heaving them out the back door into the woods.

I don’t know what comes over me. Well, actually I do.

It’s a feeling of resentment about being bullied into responsibility. Responsibility, as in caring about the welfare of others as well as me, and for being a responsible steward of the Earth as God requested long ago. I already thought I was responsible.

I mean, being “green” is not new. Recently, someone sent me a funny e-mail about how those of us in the older set were “green” long before Kermit found it wasn’t easy to be green, and before “green” was a word meaning something other than a color.

We remember using every bit of food, down to the scraps that wound up in stew or soup. We patched clothing, re-used bottles and cans for other purposes once they were empty, and even saved string. (Although, unless it’s for a “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” item, why would anyone do that?)

Anyway, the point is that the Great Depression and World War II, among other things, made us natural re-cyclers, re-users and savers in general. Talk about green!

There are other irritating forms of political correctness afoot. Recently, I read about an effort to block a sculpture of a black freedman, formerly a slave, from being placed near the City-County Building in Indianapolis. It showed him throwing off his chains, and was supposed to represent the heroic victory of black people over systematic injustice.

But the protestors decided it was demeaning to black people to publicly display anything connected to slavery. They thought it shameful rather than uplifting. Never mind that slavery is a terrible fact of American history whose implications should never be forgotten, especially since the fight to shake it still continues. Some facts are just not politically correct because they are so uncomfortable.

Then we have the forbidden pleasures that, according to the currently correct notion, lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and maybe even hair loss. These include things like potato chips, butter in or on anything, doughnuts and candy. They are especially bad when combined with sitting in front of the TV for hours or driving the car from the garage to the curbside in order to put out the garbage.

Horror of horrors, these evil practices can also contribute to aging, which is the absolute nemesis of the fit and healthy specimens who support exercise centers and bottled water. Woe to the slacker who chooses to read a book rather than jog a mile or the ingrate who thinks Richard Simmons is probably delusional.

But hey, I think we should give people a break. After all, aren’t we made in the image of God? Haven’t we been given free will? Haven’t some of us even been given common sense or good genes? We all know that what we do to or for our bodies will result in good or bad results.

Furthermore, aging is not necessarily a bad result, and death will eventually come to us all.

Now, there’s a couple of uncomfortable politically incorrect ideas for you.

(Cynthia Dewes, a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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