In our oh-so-PC world these days, we now avoid so many terms that our speech of necessity has become sanitized beyond all reason. The other day I heard a news anchor say that some people are now offended by the term “American.”
SERIOUSLY!?!? This is becoming ridiculous. “American” means so much more than people who live and work here. That term stands for all those who have given everything so that we have the freedoms we enjoy today. It stands for all of us who were born here, and who emigrated here and made this country their new home and wanted a better life for their families. “American” stands for all of us; black, white, pink, purple or plaid.
This whole PC deal reminds me of a story I read long ago in grammar school. One day our teacher passed out leaflets for us to read; it was a short definition and demonstration of communism. (Remember now, this was in the ’50s when we all thought that Russia was the most evil nation on the face of the earth and communism was the vehicle for them all.)
The little story in our leaflets explained on a child’s level how easily it is to give up one’s beliefs, no matter how important they are. It went something like this:
“All the third graders walked into their classroom on Monday morning, and were surprised to see that their teacher, Mrs. Walker, was not sitting at her desk. Instead, there was a pretty young woman sitting there, hands folded on the desk and smiling at them all.
“When the children were seated, the pretty young woman got up and wrote on the board, “Miss Smith.” She smiled at the class and said, ‘Welcome children! As you can see on the board, my name is Miss Smith, and I will be your teacher from now on.’
“Susie Johnson put up her hand and said, ‘Where is Mrs. Walker?’
“Miss Smith smiled and said, ‘Mrs. Walker is no longer your teacher; I am your teacher from now on.’
“Billy Preston put his hand up and said, ‘Mrs. Walker wouldn’t leave without saying good-bye to us! Where did she go?’
“Miss Smith smiled again. She stood in front of her desk, and looked down at the children.
“‘Mrs. Walker asked me to tell you good-bye for her. There was an emergency in her family, so she had to leave. Things change, children, and we have to change with them. For example, look at that pretty flag behind my desk.’
“The children looked up at their flag.
“Miss Smith said, ‘See how pretty it is, with its white stars against that dark blue? And the red and white stripes? I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a beautiful flag!’
“The children smiled uncertainly. They hadn’t thought of the flag as beautiful or not; it was simply the flag that they all knew. Miss Smith went on.
“‘You know, it’s a shame that such a pretty flag should just hang there in the classroom. I think that this flag is so beautiful that each of you should have a piece of it for your very own! What do you think about that?’
“The children looked uncertainly at her. They had been taught to honor their flag; they knew not to ever let it touch the ground. But cutting it up in pieces? Whoever heard of such a thing? They all looked at Miss Smith, who was still smiling at them.
“Miss Smith went to the drawer in her desk and drew out a large pair of steel scissors. She asked Billy Preston to help her take the flag down. She spread the flag out on her desk, and began cutting it into pieces. She asked the children to line up and take a piece of the flag to take home.
“When everyone had a piece of the flag, Miss Smith looked thoughtful. She said, ‘You know, there are plenty of pieces left. What shall we do with them?’ The children looked bewildered. Then Miss Smith brightened.
“‘I know! Let’s gather them all up and throw them out of the window! It will be just like a ticker-tape parade like the ones they have in New York city!’ She handed out the remaining pieces of the flag and had all the children stand at the open windows.
“As the children watched all the pieces of red, white and blue flutter to the ground, they wondered if they would be punished for what they had done. But no–a teacher, Miss Smith–had told them to do it.
“Behind them, Miss Smith smiled and smiled.”
Creepy, isn’t it? But that was the kind of propaganda we all experienced at the time. When I told my parents about it, they told me that that was just a story and not to get upset about it. They assured me that no one was going to come into my classroom and cut up the American flag.
I really do hope that we don’t ever lose the term “American.” I understand that there are sensitivities everywhere, but this whole “politically correct” stuff is getting on my last nerve.
Just putting it out there…..