Wednesday, February 15, 2012

24. I am neither politically correct or incorrect. I just am.

Well, after a post about church, I might as well get politics out of the way and hit two of the bigger taboos.

I have belonged to communities where political correctness is very important.  I have lived in communities where it's not.  I have known people for whom it seems being politically incorrect is a lifestyle choice. 

"Politically correct" has become quite a loaded term.  First it has such an arrogance to it that some throng can define what is "correct" and what is not "correct".  Second, what IS politically correct (surprisingly!) is often in flux.  And this is not only over time, but by block or neighborhood.  Or who you are. 

I, for example, can use the word "dyke" because I self-identify myself as one.  (See #15)  And frankly, personally, I don't care who else uses the term (although I might care HOW they use it), but I know there are many people who are politely sensitive who are afraid to use the word.  I respect their concern, but for me, personally, I am not offended if they use the term.  However, there are other "women who love women" who might be offended by the term. 

Basically, in our insular sensitivities, we have set up a minefield.  Good luck being politically correct.  It's a lot of work.  God bless you (oh, wait, that might not be politically correct, but here in the mid-West, it's a widely used expression that is acceptable...).

I was once with a woman who worked very hard to be politically correct.  I loved her dearly.  But watching her try to be politically sensitive - because, frankly, her intentions were to be sensitive, she didn't have the high-haughty motivation to need to be "correct" - was tiring.  And that was just watching her. 

I know she meant well.  And I haven't seen her in nearly twenty years.  I hope that she is not burnt out, but I can't imagine that she's not.  I love her dearly for her attempts.

But not everyone she was trying to be sensitive did.  Which was also sad to see.

I have been in actively politically correct communities.  Several of them.  And boy are the folks in them quick to judge you all while trying to be appropriate - which to me would seem to be non-judgmental.  But then, I'm a strange nut.  There was a certain hypocrisy often present in these communities.  Not everyone, but certainly many.  Being politically correct was a badge of honor - and again, given how much work goes into being that way, I guess they earned it.

But I think that for many, they lose the forest while looking at the trees. 

I accept the fact that in my life I'm going to offend someone.  It is impossible not to.  And frankly, if you get offended, it could just be you. Not me.  I accept that, too.  What I mean is not to shift the blame to you, but to recognize that I may have no control over whether I offend you.  I can spend a lot of energy trying not to, and still be unsuccessful. 

My goal, however, is to try and be sensitive and treat you as a human being.  Complete with flaws.  Someone who has similar qualities to me and different ones.  Similar experiences and different experiences.  I don't pretend that I know what it is to be you.  At least not without talking with You.  I can make certain assumptions, but I also recognize and respect that those are assumptions. 

I will make mistakes.  It will happen.

But I also try not to take myself too seriously, or let you take yourself too seriously. 

At the end of the day, either you'll like me for me - and all my flaws - or you won't. 

And frankly, if you base your whole opinion on me and whether I'm a person worthy of your companionship and friendship on whether I use, for example, the word 'dyke', or 'lesbian' or 'homsexual' or 'butch' or whatever politically correct or incorrect term, then frankly, I don't find you worthy of my companionship and friendship.

I am not out to offend you.  But I probably will.  It's life.  I'm human.  Get used to it. 

Much shorter diatribe is political party.  Each has its value.  Each has its flaws.  I do not vote simply along party lines.  Life is not that simple.  We're in the middle of a presidential election as I type this.  Republicans are thrashing each other and providing the fodder the Democrats can use later once they pick their candidate.  This does not seem like a particularly effective system, but it's the one we got.  It's a crazy world.  Well, a crazy U.S.  I'm sure the expression applies globally, but I'll stick with what I've started.

So, that's me in a political nutshell.  I'm sure more will become obvious over time. 

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