Independence is a funny thing. These days many of the folk who enjoy its fruits – liberty and freedom — are pilloried, marginalized or, as in the case of this column during the late IP43 unpleasantness, exposed to censorship campaigns orchestrated by people who simply will not be satisfied until the only opinion they ever hear is an echo of their own.
Behind that sort of Orwellian bent is a deliberate unwillingness to appreciate what makes diversity tick. When put to the test, this column finds, what these folks really want is not the kind of diversity where different people get to believe different things and to live responsibly in their own way under the Constitution. What they seem to want, after all of the smoke and bubbles are blown away, isn’t diversity at all.
Fringe elements of the control crowd in Sisters tried to have this space expunged, which would be laugh-out-loud funny if it wasn’t also a terrifying glimpse into how they really view the Bill of Rights. Their intolerance of the 2ndAmendment led quickly to an intolerance of the 1st, and so goeth the slippery slope into tyranny.
That mindset showed up again recently when the same intolerant mindset ran DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen out of a restaurant, and forced Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family from another. They call that sort of thing “resistance” and congratulate themselves for saving the world, but thinking people should know better.
They should know better because there is an important difference between chasing someone out of a restaurant, and merely refusing to shake their hand. That’s an adult nuance of tolerance, and diversity of opinion, which is completely lost on a growing segment of our culture who, like children, want to smash anyone and everything that defies them.
It has even infected Major League Baseball, where pitching coach Chris Bosio was recently fired from the Detroit Tigers for “making insensitive remarks.”
Baseball has always been a mirror of American culture, both the good and the bad, but Bosio’s sacking is a sad reflection if only because, when examined carefully, the entire game of baseball can be seen as an insensitive remark.
Baseball still has dirt. And grass. And wood bats. Players still slide hard and occasionally bean opposing batters on purpose. But at least they are honest about it. They still dip Copenhagen and chew Red Man and spit sunflower seeds all over everything. There are – praise The Creator – no clocks. But they still play the game on the field, may the best team win, and they don’t try to get each other fired or lie about pitching inside.
If independence, freedom, and diversity are cousins, and I’m certain they are at least shirttail relatives, we must be vigilant in their defense. We must be forever wary of the Nurse Ratcheds of America who keep failing to understand the difference between influence and control. Because that confusion causes them to seek control over virtually every one and every thing they fail to influence.
Which leads, eventually, to the same kind of tyranny we celebrate our independence from today.
And speaking of the book-burning crowd, you can now add social insurrectionist Laura Ingalls Wilder to your refrigerator list of Cultural Boycotts. Wilder, author of the famously dangerous “Little House on the Prairie” screeds has, at long last, been accused of racism in her depictions of Native and African Americans, and will soon disappear from bookshelves.
The druids of diversity, like rust, never sleep.
I’m being facetious, of course, because banning books or columns doesn’t make the world more diverse. Diverse people, and diverse thinking do. But since the diversity courts are now in perpetual session we should probably consider spending this Independence Day by putting the Boston Tea Party on trial – if only because it represents a foundational act of insensitivity.
One thinks the entire episode should be viewed in a modern, revisionist light, given that the surly malcontents who defied the most powerful nation on earth for a little liberty did it wearing – gasp — Native American disguises — which was both an indefensible act of cultural appropriation AND illegal.
Seen through a modern lens it is difficult to know which behavior was the more serious offense.
Think of the children, I always say. And one way you can do that this Independence Day is by celebrating actual diversity. Some folks are probably going to smoke weed and delight in sparklers and Black Cats for hours on end. Some are probably going to church for a quiet talk with God. Some might go camping with their kids, or go floating down the Deschutes with a six-pack and a cigar.
Some folks will just be stuck at work while everyone else is at the barbecue.
But I’m going to celebrate Independence Day by running a few high-capacity magazines of 5.56 through my AR, all-the-while rejoicing in victory – however temporary — of American-style freedom over the evils of IP43. I’m going to do that because bearing arms — much like the meaningful exercise of other freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights — is a both a solemn responsibility, and a perishable skill.