It is quite apparent to me that we are heading for a showdown in this country over what is acceptable and what is not. Political Correctness is challenging even what a person believes and thinks. The self-appointed, so-called “Thought Police” are waiting for any and every opportunity to pounce on the unsuspecting should something be said that doesn’t quite fit within the politically correct rules for living.
In particular, I’m referring to the brouhaha raised over the comments made by Miss California, Carrie Prejean, during the recent Miss USA competition. Let me state for the record that I am no fan of beauty competitions. I find them unbelievably boring, not to mention they are demeaning to women. But then, I’m a guy, so what do I know about such things?
You’ve no doubt seen the news stories surrounding this controversy. In short, Miss California was asked a highly controversial question by one of the judges during the competition. Did she oppose Proposition 8 in California’s election last November which defined marriage to be between a man and a woman? This proposition is often referred to as the anti-gay marriage bill. This is a misnomer. Instead, it is a clarification of what constitutes a marriage. And Californians for the second time in the last ten years have stated they believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. For the uninformed, the reason we Californians have had to vote on this issue a second time is because the California courts ruled it unconstitutional the first time. Proposition 22 was passed by California voters in 2000, only to be struck down by the California Supreme Court a year ago on May 15. Currently, we in California are waiting to see what action the California Supreme Court will take regarding Prop 8. They have 90 days to respond once a challenge has been submitted. We’ll know by June 5.
What I find disturbing in all of this is that Miss California was simply stating what she believed about marriage – only to find herself roundly criticized and vilified for stating her personal beliefs. If the judge who asked the question didn’t want to hear the answer, then he shouldn’t have asked the question in the first place! My suspicions are that this particular judge knew exactly what he was doing and was looking for an opportunity to make a point, as evidenced by his web site video diatribe. Shame on him!
The other side of this coin has to do with Miss California’s right to say what she wants. This is one of our cherished freedoms. The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress from making laws respecting an establishment of religion, or that prohibit the free exercise of religion, or infringe the freedom of speech, or infringe the freedom of the press, or limit the right to peaceable assembly, or limit the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
In other words, as Americans, we have the right to say what we want, to freely express our beliefs. However, there is a downside to this. People do not have to agree with you or like what you say. Therefore, when we speak, as Ms Prejean did during the competition for Miss USA, expect that there will be those who will not like what you say. She has said as much in interviews since then. She could have given the bland, politically correct answer and perhaps have assured her winning the crown. But for her, this was a matter of conscience. She could have taken the easy way out. I applaud her for not violating her conscience.
My concern is that our country is heading for a major confrontation between those who want to mold public opinion and the way people think, and those who believe we have a right to express our beliefs even if they are not politically correct. This is at the heart of the “Hush Rush Bill.” Conservative radio talk-show host, Rush Limbaugh, is being targeted by some in Congress who believe he should have a counter-point to his daily program of conservative views. This would force radio stations to schedule liberal hosts as a counter-balance to Rush, or Hannity, or any of the other conservative hosts. On the surface this sounds “fair.” But as has been sufficiently proven, there is little to no interest in liberal talk radio. It would be nearly impossible, therefore, to draw advertisers to buy airtime for these liberal programs. This would effectively shut down all talk radio and the stations that run them.
I have many friends and family members with whom I disagree on any number of issues. However, such differences have no effect on our relationship. But, when the people who are in power attempt to dictate what is acceptable, don’t be surprised when there is a backlash! After all, it is an attack on one of our fundamental freedoms! And Americans should not stand for it.
Those military members we honor this Memorial Day who rest beneath the sod of our nation’s cemeteries, fought for our freedoms. We owe it to their sacrifice, and to future generations, to carry on the fight.