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INAPPROPRIATE-There is a phrase that I am getting just a little bit weary of hearing. I just sort of ignored it the first few times I heard it, then it only mildly irritated me, as it seemed to persist and invade common usage but now I have heard it enough that it is beginning to really tick me off. That phrase is “ I am getting really tired of all this political correctness!” That's right, you read that correctly, I did not say I am getting tired of political correctness, I said I am getting tired of hearing people complain about it and I will explain exactly why. You see what we have termed “political correctness” is really just shorthand for a social effort and movement aimed at just not acting like a jerk to people different from us. It is just an organic campaign or venture in still respecting those with different backgrounds, cultures, customs, beliefs or ideas. Offering them dignity instead of, distrust, fear or ridicule. If we say we are “tired of political correctness” what we are really saying is that we want permission to act like a jerk or we remember a time when it was much more socially acceptable to act like a jerk toward those different from us and we long for those times back.

You see, part of the problem might have to do with the use of the word- political. Despite its name it is not really a political movement, it is a social one. Now, technically the root of the word politic actually means- how we order our society, so social issues and political ones are not really polar opposites as many believe . How we want our society to function, on the whole, is essentially a political concern, at its core. How a lot of us have come to view politics though is as an artful and deceitful manipulation of people, in order to advance certain ideologies. When you have that view of politics it is no wonder you distrust just about anything with the words political or politics attached to it at all and you certainly don't want any part of the rest of your life mixed up in the political process but if we view politics correctly, as a way of ennobling, enhancing and inspiring all of us, then politics intermingling as part of the whole fabric of your life does not seem so bad.

All of us have been in situations where talking about certain political ideas or bringing up certain topics at that particular time was just an inappropriate thing to do though. In fact there are numerous situations where things are just not appropriate for that time or place or with certain people. We can use inappropriate language in front of people which might be perfectly fine in more private situations but not in a crowd or we can dress inappropriately for an occasion where more decorum is expected by most people in a civilized society. We can have inappropriate actions toward others where more diplomacy or respect would have been the route to go for those with a bit of refinement. We can have inappropriate responses to the actions of others, either showing anger where none was needed or apathy when most would deem there is cause for concern. It seems pretty easy to be inappropriate or “politically incorrect” but it really isn't by following just a few simple guidelines and we will get to them in just a bit.

 A while back now, part of our family had the chance to enjoy a program where the veterans of our community were honored. I am a peace loving guy but I believe our veterans have made the peace I enjoy possible to a large extent and I believe we should actively honor our veterans. My wife and I were there in a large part because our son was performing in some of the musical tribute but the whole program was thoroughly enjoyable and honored our veterans well, that is right up until the very end, when I believe an unscheduled and uninvited guest felt it necessary to show how patriotic he was by bashing a group of athletes who saw things differently than him and in his eyes were being disrespectful to something he valued deeply. Now it was not just that he used language that was inappropriate for the crowd there but the whole sentiment did a disservice to the occasion, because it took respect and dignity for those that see things differently out of the equation, thus rendering it one of the most unpatriotic things you could do, as well as being completely inappropriate.

I also recall a time where, like a lot of you reading this, I had the chance to participate in a delicious and bountiful meal. At this event I overheard a remark that was not really intended for me but it made my chest puff up just a bit when I heard it. My wife was saying something to our son about not liking his attitude. I don't know exactly what action had provoked such a remark but you know, teenage boys are not really known for their benevolent and altruistic natures. Anyway, I overheard our son say, “Well mom who do you think I get my attitude from, it's not Dad, he is the nicest guy I know!” Now in reality, I am not the nicest guy around, I have my fair share of faults and foibles but it was nice to hear my son say that among his circle of influences I ranked pretty high in his opinion. What he had probably meant to say instead of “nice” was, that I am pretty easygoing and soft-spoken in general. I tend not to get upset too easily, especially since events have transpired which focused me in on just how precious our time in this life really is. I do get upset though, I get upset at injustice, I get upset at bigotry, apathy, prejudice and callousness. I can get downright mean, if I feel you have mistreated one of my children. There are some guidelines I do actively try to follow though, which my son categorized as “nice”.

Here is my general outlook which helps me decide what actions I take, what words I speak and how I respond to situations. I don't always succeed but I try, here is what I deem to be appropriate or “politically correct.” If it adds dignity to the world, if it adds compassion, respect or honor; if it sparks inspiration or genuine curiosity; if it deepens wisdom; If it is ennobling, if it unites, if it helps bring about peace, then it is always the appropriate thing to say or do.

On the other hand, it is inappropriate or “politically incorrect,” if it adds hatred, dishonor, shame, worthlessness, humiliation, crudeness or inferiority. If it broadens division, if it uplifts ignorance; if it promotes callousness, mercilessness or intolerance, then that is always the inappropriate path to take. I don't think it is too much to ask for us to possibly act a little more appropriately as we go about life.




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