Friday, April 22, 2005

The divide that cuts both ways...

There are many problems with our contemporary tendencies in this country, but one that lives on both sides of the cultural divide is the tendency to try and squelch the view of those we disagree with.

The conservative half, from libertarians on out to the christian nationalists, all love to complain about the political correctness movement. "Who is going to say I can't piss people off with my ornery conservative views?" they ask. And they are right to ask this and represent a valuable part of American culture.

On the left we are terrified that the neo-christian statists are going to someday work their way around to a Kristallnacht moment and come after the gays and liberals that apparently present such an offense to their way of living.

Clearly there are good guys and bad guys on both sides of the line here. Some conservatives strongly support the right of you and I to disagree with them (and these people are rightly very upset with the direction their party is taking).

Some liberals hate to see people punished for making offensive statements; we belive that we can sort it out with conversation and that these important conversations are spurred by offensive remarks (however unfortunate they may be).

Personally, I also disagree with the part of what conservatives call the "nanny state" that makes risky behavior no longer possible. I miss having merry-go-rounds at playgrounds, and dammit if it's not lawsuits that got 'em taken out. (Of course I do like welfare and a social servicee type stuff that is also included in the right-wing thought-bomb, but that's another story.)

Which brings me to the thing that got me started on this little rant. This high school student cannot wear a button proclaiming that she loves her vagina (she went to see The Vagina Monologues.) It's really a tempest in a teapot: Winona, MN; high school in general; hot button words like vagina in a small town... But the thing that got me was this: (and for some reason this was in the print version of the article but not the internet version!) the original complaint issued against the young women wearing these buttons came from a school secretary! What the Fuck?! People are going to be expelled from high school because they use a word that refers to anatomy in medical textbooks? These are adolescents that deserve to be comfortable and proud of their maturing selves.

So where are the libertarian conservatives? Sitting on their hands, probably, letting the extremists run the show.

I guess that there has been a concerted show of support for these young women. I don't know how to get in touch with them, but if anyone has time to find out, they should post it in the comments section.


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