Point of Reference
by Fred Price
Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist, writing for the Associated Press and distributed to numerous news outlets across the country. And while I haven’t always agreed with everything she has written, she is usually balanced in her approach to the newsworthy topics she chooses to comment on. One topic she has addressed concerns the hyper-sensitivity of some in our society to political correctness and diversity that has over-extended itself, attempting to dictate who says what and how things must be done. In effect, destroying the diversity that is the supposed goal of their watchfulness.
Ms. Parker took umbrage over the way liberals and conservatives are often targeted because of their stance on a number of issues, in this case, immigration reform. A tactic of late is to question the veracity of not only white contrarians, but people of color who disagree with the liberal interpretation of issues and their program for fixing all that ails America. This has become a common means of discounting people with alternative views, essentially not only denigrating their wisdom and opinions, but dismissing them as legitimate members of their race, ethnic-group, religion, etc. (Even Presidential candidate Obama suffered through a not-black-enough episode during the early days of his first run for president several years ago. The man leading the assault on Obama’s “blackness” was none-other than Jesse Jackson, an early leader of the civil-rights movement who apparently has now become an “authority” on what it really means to be “black.”)
Publicly questioning whether a person is “enough” of any one thing or another is often used to make those being questioned adhere to the “accepted” way of thinking. Any disagreement or divergence from the party line, demographic or ethnic group you belong to – or have been assigned – disqualifying you from any part of the conversation.
Ms. Parker goes on to acknowledge, “Others have been hauled before the court of identity politics, especially pro-life women. The official women’s position is “pro-choice”, and any who have sincere moral objections to the destruction of life in the womb are considered outliers to the cause of liberation. Likewise those who lament the tragic consequences of the dissolution of the traditional family, meaning a mother and a father, are quickly marginalized as bigots with a gay problem.” This self-imposed limit on discourse “…produce(s) a quagmire of absolutism where truth is the ultimate victim.”
Conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz was – and is – a readily available target for liberals, some of his stands and the vitriol with which he expresses them bring him maximum attention and criticism; some of which is deserved. The key to his stance however, on immigration is that people entering this country – whether for work or citizenship – should do so legally; as a former law professor and solicitor general of Texas, he has “…deep qualms about pretending that laws don’t matter.”
In turning the tables on the thought police of political correctness, Ms. Parker asks, “Rather than insist that Cruz fall in line, shouldn’t we be celebrating a clear victory for true diversity? That is, diversity of thought… Wasn’t this the point of our grand American experiment?” Evidently a concept not embraced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which several years ago filed a formal objection against an honors class at Ball State University called Boundaries of Science. In it they claim the curriculum, described in the class syllabus as an effort to, “…explore physical reality and the boundaries of science for any hidden wisdom within this reality.”; is nothing more than religion disguised as science. In other words, if you limit the discussion of a topic to the “accepted” parameters, you can’t help but win the debate. Their fear being that even discussing alternative views may be seen as an acknowledgement that there really is something to talk about. (Besides which, as an honors class, no one is being forced to take it, it’s open to those who decide the discussion is one worth having.)
In conclusion, Ms. Parker notes, “Freedom means, foremost, freedom to speak without fear of impeachment or censure. And a (truly) diverse society succeeds only insofar as diverse ideas are welcomed.” (Not necessarily accepted, but welcome in the free exchange of ideas this country – and a college education – were founded on. )
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Fred Price - married (49 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.
Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker. He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today. Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.
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