Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Eagle Butte

Politically incorrect? Guilty as charged

We should not be spending money we do not have

This whole idea of “political correctness” is, in my view, the worst thing that has happened to this country since line dancing and nonalcoholic beer. Everyone is looking for something—anything—to be offended by and subsequently get their panties in a twist. (In fact, that last sentence is most likely offensive to someone, so please substitute “boxer shorts” for “panties.”)

See what I mean? This is a huge problem for guys like me who went through puberty in the Stone Age.

For livestock producers there are numerous points of contention with the epidemic of political correctness. Raising animals for slaughter and human consumption is considered immoral to some folks. PETA (which does not mean Please Eat Tasty Animals) would like everyone to subsist on tofu, black beans and lawn clippings. Just a few years ago I read that a PETA group purchased a bunch of live lobsters from a fancy restaurant’s lobster tank and flew them to New England for release into the ocean. I am not, by the way, making any of this up. If they had flown them to my modest little home…well, I also would have released them—right into a large pot of boiling water.

If you make the statement “I am not a racist,” that automatically makes you a racist. Otherwise, why would you say it in the first place? It seems the “race cards” are being dealt fast and furious with the intensity of a blackjack dealer in Vegas. Also, the comment “Some of my best friends are [fill in the blank] ranchers, cowboys, gay, brown, Episcopalian, midgets, etc.,” is also becoming a dog whistle for the racist moniker. Is there still racism and prejudice? Of course, but not everywhere. And this hypersensitivity is starting to make my hair hurt. Give it a rest.

I still stand for the National Anthem, respect the military (everyone bleeds in the same color), and refuse to call the president of the United States names—even though several times over the years I have had to bite my tongue almost in half. Anyone in this great country has the right to kneel while “The Star Spangled Banner” is played, but I also have the right to never watch an NFL game again. (It is surprising how little I miss the pampered athletes “twerking” in the end zone. Super Bowl? Who cares?) Patriotism is no longer the norm, but this is still a country of freedom, opportunity, and potential upward mobility, second to none. In fact, I would rather be in jail in the good ole U. S. of A. rather than running loose anyplace else. And I have been all over the world.

I still go to church most Sundays. Before the service there are doughnuts, coffee, nice folks and pleasant conversations. A lot of people don’t attend any church anymore and that is their choice. I don’t care. Folks can believe or not believe whatever they want. What a country! My own religious views have evolved over the decades. First, I think it is probably easier to get into heaven—whatever your definition of heaven is—than you have been taught. Otherwise it will be a sparsely populated and lonely place. Also, I am reasonably sure of these basic theological concepts: (1) There is a God; (2) I am not Him; and (3) Neither are you. Disagree? Politically incorrect? Once again…I don’t care.

It is now politically incorrect to take the position that, as a country, we should not be spending money we do not have. We are broke. Some years back I got one of those Discover credit cards in the mail. I ran it up to over $5,000 before I “discovered” I couldn’t pay it. Living continually on credit does not work for an individual, family, business or government, and you can’t borrow your way out of debt. We are headed to a financial judgment day as fast and slippery as a piece of “boiled okra on a snot sled.” (I stole this metaphor from my friend Mad Jack Hanks, cowboy poet and cartoonist extraordinaire. Good one, don’t you think?)

All this political correctness has also influenced our views of male/female relationships, which I never was much good at anyway. Can you compliment a young woman on her attractive appearance without being accused of harassment? Open a door? Smile pleasantly and offer her a seat? (Not on your lap…) Once, as a high school student—back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and the Dead Sea was only sick—I tried to kiss a fellow chemistry lab partner and was rewarded with a right-cross slap that would make Rocky Balboa envious. I mistakenly thought she wanted to be smooched; she was just using her tongue to remove some macaroni and cheese from her braces.

Just recently I thought that I might be the victim of sexual harassment. I was on all fours trying to get the garbage disposal unclogged and noted my bride and partner-in-crime suspiciously checking out my hindquarters. Immediately I confronted her, as I read that is the proper response to these type situations.

“Well,” she replied with obvious disgust, “I see you have sat in something and ruined your best pair of jeans.” 

Bill Jones is a regular contributor to RANGE, has a small herd of black cattle in Tennessee, and has written four books of poetry and a memoir of the Vietnam War. He maintains the Vietnam book was not written to make any money, and that aspect has worked out splendidly. (Call 1-800-RANGE-4-U for a copy of Bill’s brilliant memoir, “The Body Burning Detail.” On sale now for $25.) Currently he is working on another book, “Cowboys, Cops and War Stories,” and it will be out as soon as he can find an unsuspecting publisher.