If you are offended, you are weak!


Baseball used to be America’s pastime, but that has given way to the pervasive practice of being offended.

America has allowed itself to become lost in the grip of pathological and self-destructive sensitivity. The paradox is, the very same liberal left that claims to be the champion of tolerance on behalf of the downtrodden has a venomous intolerance of any disagreement with their positions.

And Georgia is now in their cross-hairs.

Political correctness saturates our lives. Liberal devotees vigilantly spread the prohibition of speaking uncomfortable truths, protecting their favored groups from hurt feelings by threatening those who violate the approved language, a practice of nationwide bullying in direct contradiction of the freedom of speech we apparently no longer hold dear in the first amendment to the Constitution. We wouldn’t want any of the flavor-of-the-month groups to be offended, would we?

To protect the tender feelings of students, for example, universities across the country have banned words that some students might find offensive, and are teaching our kids they need the protective cocoon of “safe zones” from words that might hurt their feelings. Does that make you wonder how much intellectual exploration, challenge and debate actually happens on a campus where words are monitored, judged and carefully spoken out of self-defense?

Here’s what this leftist lunacy brings us. Emory University called in counselors two weeks ago when students claimed to be traumatized by chalk markings saying, “Trump 2016.” At least I know my UGA freshman daughter would laugh in their face.

The “offended” industry is very much part of Governor Deal’s calculus on whether to sign into law the Religious Liberty bill just passed by the legislature, while a rising storm of retribution accumulates from the liberal left. The NBA and NFL threaten to pull from Georgia events as huge as the Super Bowl. Disney and Hollywood threaten to pull the film industry that just took root in Fayette County. I’m sure planning is afoot to spill even more economic blood since coercion, not freedom of choice, is the foundation of the left.

This blackmail and extortion seems a bit extreme, even for the vicious left, since the bill enshrines the right of faith-based organizations – not businesses in general – to not employ people whose beliefs or actions are contrary to the organization’s faith. That means, for example, since my religious views would be pretty tough to pigeon-hole with a generally-accepted label, a faith-based organization might not want me as an employee. I would say a faith-based organization should have the right to employ people who share their views, which likely would not include me.

The problem is, if I were gay, the freedom of that same faith-based organization to choose not to employ me would collide with a Goliath of protection as the new most favored group. Which is why Governor Deal is looking at the business end of some large bore muzzles.

Pro-gay fever swept the country so fast, fanned by lefties in the media, that liberal politicians up in the stratosphere, like Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton, were caught flat-footed, having for many years publicly and firmly opposed gay marriage, saying what voters wanted to hear as liars do, then suddenly felt the country’s mood change and reversed course, giving many of us whiplash while their followers on the left swooned over their blatant lies and new pro-gay marriage lectures to the country.

As a conservative, I don’t take any pleasure in having been to the left of those two congenital liars, but for over 10 years I have publicly said my fellow conservatives are wrong to stand in the way of gay marriage.

In the first place, a long-term committed gay couple could not marry, then was penalized financially and by the tax code because they were not married, violating any sense of fair play.

Second, my distaste for gay affection should not be an obstacle to that couple, because their desire to marry is about them, not me.

Third, it seems to me defending the freedom of others to choose something with which we do not agree is profoundly American.

But liberals don’t handle disagreement very well.

The owner of Chick-fil-A answered a question publicly asked, stating his opinion that marriage is between one man and one woman, the same position our country has held for hundreds of years, the same position held by Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton until their recent and hypocritical reversal.

But the left was offended and undertook a campaign of retribution against Chick-fil-A, even though not a single case of discrimination was found. Boycotts were organized, which backfired as anti-liberals lined up to buy even more Chick-fil-A. I was in those lines. Towns run by liberal leaders found a way to deny permits for new stores. Universities ejected them or banned them from campus. Disagreement must be punished, you see.

On Sunday a liberal TV pundit was asked what was so bad about this Religious Liberty bill since a number of other states have similar bills protecting the rights of faith based organizations. The pundit said Georgia is different because we hold ourselves out to be the place to do business. Huh?

North Carolina passed a law prohibiting cities and counties from establishing their own discrimination laws, thereby reversing a local ordinance encouraging transgenders to choose which gender bathrooms to use. In North Carolina the legislature chose the privacy of gender boundaries as the important principle. How dare they! San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee was offended, and has banned city employees from any official travel to North Carolina. Well, by my measure that North Carolina law is already paying off.

Nobody said the “offended” industry has to make sense. Wearing a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo triggers objections by the offended, but wearing green and a Leprechaun hat on St. Patrick’s Day does not. Go figure. Maybe we need an American liberal’s version of Mao’s Little Red Book so we know what is approved and what is offensive.

Most of you my age have grandchildren, but I have younger daughters by adoption. Last year when my oldest was preparing for UGA, I assembled in a little book a batch of Dad’s advice, which of course will make a teenager scream and hide. In the first section titled “Know Yourself,” under the subtitle “If You’re Offended, You’re Weak!” I wrote this for her:

In our progressive world of political correctness, the speech police are constantly screening all we say to find reasons this group or that should be offended. Don’t play their game.

First, don’t put yourself in any hyphenated group for identity politics. Don’t think of yourself as Asian-American; you are an American citizen who happened to be born in China, and more importantly you are an individual, not a group member.

Second, being offended is a misguided way of insisting that others conform to your expectations of what they are permitted to say. I trust you would not limit freedom of speech, even for the stupid.

Third, and most important, being offended is ceding to them the power to determine how you feel about yourself. Don’t give them that control.

For example, a dumb*** might insinuate by stereotype that since your ethnicity is Asian you must be good in math, a lousy driver or eat a lot of rice. You get to choose how that makes you feel. If you are offended, you just granted to the dumb*** the power to make you feel that way.

Be stronger than that, take how you feel about yourself from within, where you know who and what you are. You can call them out as the dumb*** they are if you wish, but don’t give them your time and energy, and never give them control over your emotions. Don’t be offended; it only advertises your weakness.

So, even though I do not wish economic catastrophe for Georgia, especially here in Fayette County where I live, I hope Governor Deal does not cave in to coercion from the offended industry.

Who knows. If I were in the legislature, after weighing pros and cons maybe I would have voted for the Religious Liberty bill, maybe I would have voted No.

But I do think Governor Deal should refuse to be bullied and tell the dumb***es on the left to go to hell.

[Terry Garlock of Peachtree City occasionally contributes a column to The Citizen.]

(Editor’s note: Gov. Deal announced Monday his intention to veto the bill, after this column had been written and submitted.)