George H.W. Bush said it 28 years ago: “We need a kinder, gentler nation.”
If there was a year that has demonstrated the need for what Bush was talking about, it’s been 2016. The lack of civility in our society is demonstrated every day. At Little League games. In road rage incidents. In our political discourse.
There’s also talk about “political correctness,” which to me has just come to mean I get to say anything I want, I get to be downright mean, and if you’re offended by it, then you’re politically correct. And don’t be politically correct if that statement just offended you because that’s part of the problem.
Like what Oliver Wendell Holmes said about pornography, I don’t know what political correctness is, but I know it when I see it. When someone says the song “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer” demeans the elderly, that’s political correctness. When someone says something downright mean that offends someone and says they’re not into political correctness, that’s not political correctness, that’s just being downright mean.
Jesus said in the Beatitudes blessed are the meek. The Biblical meaning of meek is strength under control. That was Bush’s point. Strength that’s kind and gentle.
If you ask me would I rather have a society that’s politically correct and civil or a society that lacks political correctness and civility, I’d rather have the former. I’m sure there are those right now reading this saying why can’t we be a civil society that’s not politically correct?
Based on what Bush said 28 years ago and where we’ve come since then, I don’t know if that’s possible any more.
— Charles Whisnand