Mulligans

Speaking of golf, when I’m with my buds on the golf course and we tee off on the first hole, a “Mulligan” is frequently offered for an errant tee shot.  We call it a “breakfast ball.” It’s a do-over.  Even if we’re playing for a few coins, it’s “hit another – nobody saw that first one.” 

Wouldn’t it be nice if in life we had do-overs? Mulligans? For errant words or deeds?   We do in a way though the granting of a do-over often lies in the province of the recipient of the errant words or deeds.  It’s called “forgiveness.”  I’m sure we all have things we’d like to do over.  Words.  Deeds.  And we’re all grateful for the granting of forgiveness (or lack of ill consequence).  I’m sorry . . . . It’s okay.  No worries

But today, the poison of political correctness can sink careers.  Free speech is being crushed.  Do overs?  For the wrong word?  Forget it.   Accusations are often enough to destroy a life.  

I’ve said some dumb things and done some even dumber ones that I’d like to call back.  But in the words of the great poet Omar Khayyam:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Our futures lie within our own hands.  The “moving finger” business is probably a good reason to think twice before we act — or speak.  And knowing of our own fallibility – and frailty – a reason to consider the granting of Mulligans to others.   

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Political Correctness

Anyone who believes in political correctness should be fired from their job.  They should be silenced and have no forum for their speech. If they press their PC beliefs too much, they should be sued, vilified, and scourged. Right? Oh wait a minute . . . . that’s what people who believe in political correctness want to happen to those not like them.  Yep.  I got it. . . .

Freedom of speech is anchored in the Constitution.  Yet the dark malignancy of political correctness has infiltrated every aspect of American life.  Freedom of speech is no longer guaranteed.  There are topics that are not permitted for discussion — despite constructive intent.  There are words we may not say and topics banned from dialogue.  Horrible violence and vulgarity remain uncensored.  Yet the wrong humor is filtered.  The “wrong” word can lead to one’s downfall in business or society.  The risks are increasingly great.  And it’s getting worse.  Watch your door, people.

Jerry Seinfeld recently discussed on ESPN his decision not to perform on college campuses.  He won’t go near them.  Why?  “They are so PC.”  Seinfeld comments that young people “just want to use the words ‘that’s racist’ ‘that’s sexist’ ‘that’s prejudiced’.  They don’t even know what they are talking about.”  Mel Brooks laments that “Blazing Saddles” probably could not be made today because of “the rabid vigilantism of the language police.”  Colleges and universities are supposed to be bastions of free speech.  Yet they have become vindicators of suppression.  Students are brainwashed by professors with destructive political agendas.  And impressionable students accept.  Without question.  Without thought.  How often do we see the news trumpeting someone’s errant or careless comment?  A murderer may be released from prison – and integrate back into society, but if you say the wrong word, there will never be forgiveness (see November 9, 2014).  Great.  As I said, watch your door, people. . . . . . .   

Donald Sterling

Does anyone doubt that Donald Sterling is an idiot? Not just for making discriminatory comments but also (as we have learned) for his history of discrimination in real estate ventures.   The media has convicted him and the NBA has sentenced him – stripping him of ownership of his basketball team. Maybe this is deserved but I have to wonder about the process . . . .

Donald Sterling has done nothing illegal.  None of his players or employees have ever accused him of discrimination — or making racist comments.  But the media was quick to stir up public opinion and condemn him and the NBA followed in lockstep — ordering his property — the Los Angeles Clippers — forcibly sold.  Donald Sterling has not had much to say in his defense though the media remains apoplectic. 

I rarely agree with the American Civil Liberties Union but they have often said that the First Amendment was designed to protect offensive and unpopular speech.  If you can’t protect unpopular speech, then there is no Freedom of Speech as provided by the First Amendment to the Constitution (“. . . no laws . . .abridging the freedom of speech“).  Does it seem like Americans are losing that right of free speech?  Then there’s the 5th Amendment which states that “nor shall any person . . . .be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”  Was there due process here?  And then there is the 14th Amendment’s (section 1) restatement of that expectation.  And then there is the 6th Amendment’s right to a speedy trial. 

We may want to hold our collective noses over Donald Sterling’s nasty comments but should we suspend the Constitution to punish him?  Frankly the media would probably have looked the other way if he had shoplifted a can of coffee or punched out a well-deserving paparazzi.  But most journalists don’t care about justice.  As President Barack Obama said following the incident “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything.  You just let them talk.  And wait for them to fade away.