I've been thinking about the tempest in a teapot, as I view it, over Rahm Emmanuelle's use of the word "retarded" in a tirade he launched against far-left elements in Barack Obama's administration. Emmanuelle's use of that word got him into hot water with many people, particularly Sarah Palin. Now, I'm a Palinista; I like the woman, but I think her reaction to what Rahm Emmanuelle said was as uncalled for as her reaction to her cover photo on Newsweek magazine. Sarah Palin called for Rahm Emmanuelle to be fired. Fired? Please! Whatever trouble Emmanuelle should get for his remark, he doesn't deserve to be fired.
I understand Palin's reaction. She's the mother of a Down's Syndrome child and obviously took Rahm's remark very personally, but come on. I'm sure Rahm Emmanuelle didn't have Trig Palin, or any other "special needs" child, in mind when he called those far-left people "f---ing retarded". He was just expressing his anger at and contempt for the left-wingers he was talking about at that time. Yes, he used a poor choice of words, but who hasn't in the heat of the moment? And if we're going to chastise Emmanuelle for his language, shouldn't we chastise him for using the "F" word, which is real profanity? I mean, what are our priorities here?
We are getting too thin skinned in this country. The effort to turn every word in the dictionary into a slur is utterly ridiculous. It's getting to the point where people can't say two words to each other without someone getting sanctimoniously and gravely offended. And it's disheartening to see conservatives joining in this sorry pc game instead of challenging it. It's time to challenge it.
Retarded is not a slur. It simply means slow or backward. "Mentally retarded" means mentally slow or mentally backward. It's not a smear; it's an accurate description of an unfortunate condition affecting some people. And that condition won't change just because you change the name of it. Thinking you can change reality by changing names is just plain stupid--oops!--I mean logically challenged.
With all due respect to Sarah Palin, she needs to calm down and maybe even apologize. We don't need to make profanity out of perfectly acceptable words while ignoring real profanity. When people say things that are truly hateful or demeaning, they should be held to account. No one, though, should be skewered for violating some rule set by the pc language police.
The Scriptures say, "Come, let us reason together." How can we do that if we can't agree on the meaning of the words we say to each other? How can we "reason together" if we're itching to be offended? Answer: we can't. And maybe that's the goal of the language police. If so, that's all the more reason not to cooperate with the linguistic cops. Let's save our outrage for words that are really offensive, mean-spirited, and intended to harm. Verbal gaffes made in the heat of the moment don't fit the bill. Let's use some common sense here, people. Let us truly reason together.