When discussing a new study about liberals’ and conservatives’ favorite television shows recently, pundit Bill O’Reilly and his guests mentioned that liberals like works about “flawed people.” If this is so, they will certainly appreciate Barack Obama’s just published children’s book, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.
In just the way some voters believed that Obama’s 2008 ascendancy heralded a new era of hope-and-change leftist hegemony, it’s easy to view the November 2 elections as the beginning of an unstoppable tidal wave of Tea Party triumph. But while I can get caught up in moments just like anyone else — I awoke bug-eyed after staying up freakishly late watching election returns — I always bear in mind that politics is but a series of moments and that, in reality, it’s only in places such as England that tea time is a permanent fixture.
People like me are often accused of wanting to return to the 19th century. But, if the New York Times is right about a new trend, some on the Left want to go back to the Middle Ages. What is that trend? Avoiding soap, deodorant, and even bathing regularly.
Can a waning phenomenon have a waxing effect? If a survey conducted on the relationship between religious messages and homosexual suicide is to be believed, the answer is yes. The survey, conducted jointly by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Religion News Service, found, writes Kirsten Moulton in The Salt Lake Tribune, “Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that messages from U.S. religious pulpits are connected to the rising rates of suicide among gay youths….”
If anyone should feel loved right now, it’s social commentator Juan Williams. His firing by National Public Radio (NPR) for comments he made on Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor has drawn harsh criticism from all quarters, left, right and center. And I join this defensive phalanx. Sacking a man for saying that he gets “worried” and “nervous” aboard a plane when he see people “identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims” with their traditional garb is an example of political correctness run amuck. Heck, Williams was merely giving voice to a disquiet felt by a majority of Americans.
This past Saturday, Barbara Billingsley passed away at the age of 94. For those of you scratching your heads but acquainted with 1950s television, Billingsley played the ever-gracious and loving, hearth-and-home mother June Cleaver in the classic sitcom "Leave It to Beaver."
Last year I wrote about a Tucson Unified School District social engineering plan that had the effect of meting out punishment based on racial quota. The school board had insisted, reported Arizona Republic’s Doug MacEachern, “that its schools reduce its suspensions and/or expulsions of minority students to the point that the data reflect ‘no ethnic/racial disparities.’” (It wasn’t reported whether the students cooperated and started committing infractions based on racial quota.)
In this time of Tea Parties and tanking Democrat poll numbers, people are, depending on their point of view, hailing or howling about an apparent conservative groundswell. More traditional folks anxiously anticipate a GOP landslide in November, while many liberals warn of the perils of our current rightward shift.
Boys will be boys … or, at least, that’s how it used to be. Now a few boys will be — or would be — girls, and there are plenty of adults willing to play along. And some of these adults occupy the Maine Human Rights Commission, which just ruled that a Pine Tree State middle school engaged in discrimination when it refused to allow a boy who wants to live as a female to use the girls’ bathroom.
Reporting on the story, Heather Steeves of the Bangor Daily News writes:
[The Commission found that] Orono Middle School unlawfully discriminated against a sixth-grader during the 2008-2009 school year by not letting the male-to-female "transgender" student use the girls' bathroom.
This is the same student whose parents filed a similar discrimination complaint against Asa Adams Elementary School in Orono when their child was a fifth grader there during the 2007-2008 school year. That case resulted in the same ruling against the school district in June 2009.
Note that the school had already bent over backwards for the student. As Steeves points out, “the district accommodated the child by training the staff, educating the students, giving the transgender student [his] own bathroom, giving [him his] own locker room and meeting with [his] parents almost daily.” How much it cost the taxpayers to jump through these hoops for this one student was not disclosed.
Yet this wasn’t enough. Despite the fact that the child no longer attends Orono M.S., his family has filed suit against the district in Penobscot County Superior Court in an effort to force a policy change. And that change would be that a boy would be allowed to share a bathroom and, presumably, a locker room with your daughter as long as he proclaimed himself “transgender.”
Unfortunately, we’ve become such a sexually confused society that cases such as the above aren’t uncommon. For example, last year in Britain two boys, 9 and 12, showed up at school as “girls,” with feminine names, girls’ clothing, ponytails and all. And the schools’ only response was to tell the other pupils that they’ll be punished if they don’t handle the “sex change” “sensitively.” Then there was the case of German Tim Petras, whose parents allowed him to start undergoing hormone treatments at the age of 12.
Next we have one Oakleigh Reed, a senior at Mona Shores High School in Michigan. “Oak,” as allies call her, wants to live as a boy and aspired to be her school’s homecoming king. Yet she was prohibited from doing so, as the school’s rules state that only a male can run for the title. This didn’t sit well with the student body (I wonder, is there a student mind?), especially after a Facebook campaign that made her quest a cause célèbre allowed her to capture more votes than the other contenders.
Something else that comes to mind is the curious case of Caster Semenya. Although her (I’ll use feminine pronouns here, but advisedly) story is one of confused physicality rather than confused feelings, it is relevant to this discussion. Semenya was the South African runner whose sex became a topic of discussion due to her masculine physique and mannerisms and the fact that she was leaving her female competition in the dust. Before medical tests revealed — as I knew they would — that she had internal testes, the attitude toward her case was very interesting, indeed. Despite the fact that she looked and acted like an 18-year-old boy, many people were outraged that she was subject to scrutiny. They simply felt it was insensitive to question her “gender identity” and subject her to the indignity of medical tests. Ah, such sensitive folks. Or are they?
The reality is that such individuals aren’t sensitive to people, only agendas. After all, think about the case of the boy in Maine. While his defenders would nobly talk about his feelings, why did they never consider the feelings of all the girls whose bathroom he would have invaded? I guess that in the relativist world, the feelings of the many don’t outweigh the feelings of the few.
The sensitivity set also was on the side of Semenya and Oakleigh Reed, outraged that these individuals were denied their day in the sun. Yet, if they had been allowed to contend, there would be women runners who would have been denied first place and a boy who wouldn’t be homecoming king right now. What about their sunshine? Of course, all of them — Semenya, Reed and their competitors — are people. They all want to win. They all have feelings. But there is one big difference.
Their competitors qualify under the rules.
Semenya and Reed don’t.
And one reason we have rules is that you can’t run the world based on feelings. There are eight million feelings in the naked city; they come in all shapes and sizes and often conflict with one another. Thus, to please one person is to crush others. So it’s simply not possible to be sensitive to all feelings; you can only pick and choose. In a word, you would have to discriminate. And this is precisely what the left does: Its victim groups get sensitivity.
All others get sensitivity training where they’re told their feelings are as wrong as Hell.
And on what basis does the left discriminate? Based on what feelings feel right to them; it is a subjective standard, wholly without credibility. The only way to ensure fairness and justice would be to apply an objective standard, something that increasingly is alien to many people.
Case in point: Consider the following blogosphere comments about the Semenya case (which I excerpted from this article):
. . . “JimBob” posting under this Daily Mail piece . . . said,
“Why is everyone talking about genetics? What about Caster's own mind — if she believes within herself that she's female, then she is.”
Echoing this sentiment here, “Green Is Good” wrote,
“SHE identifies HERself as a female. Done.”
Then, back to the Mail, “Livio” opined,
“This is a clear case of gender identity discrimination. What if she is a man who identifies himself as a woman?”
Plainly, these are people to whom reality means nothing. And they have a lot of company. In her article about the Orono M.S. boy, Heather Steeves referred to him with only feminine pronouns, and the teachers at Mona Shores H.S. refer to “Oak” with masculine ones.
How can we explain this dislocation from reality? Well, I often discuss the rejection of moral reality known as moral relativism (the denial of Truth). Now, when you don’t have Truth as a yardstick for making decisions, what is left to use? Only emotion, ultimately, and then what happens is that your wants become your mandates and your dislikes your prohibitions. This places emotion in the role of God — as, in reality, He is the arbiter of right and wrong. And this has lead to the exaltation of feelings, and now the problem is so bad that many citizens deny physical reality as well, believing an agenda before their own eyes.
So while even little children know the difference between boys and girls, some adults today do not. And if they can’t make such simple distinctions, what about the more complex? Can they distinguish between the constitutional and unconstitutional, a religion of peace and one of war, or a statesman and a demagogue? I shudder when I consider that a nation cannot erase reality, but it can be erased when ignoring it.
Photo: A new sign designates a third floor unisex restroom at a Kent State University student center in Kent, Ohio, May 17, 2007. The University is accommodating transgender students with a newly relabeled unisex restroom that has four images on the door: a man, a woman, a person in a wheelchair and a man and a woman separated by a slash: AP Images