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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 20, 1999)
Political correctness takes away our voice, self-identity
J. J. HARDER is a senior
political science and broad
casting major and a Daily
There’s something about the
1950s that I just love. I don’t know if
it’s the white T-shirts and greased
hair, or the malt shops and pep ral
lies. Maybe it’s the girls’ hairstyles.
Or the good old-fashioned rock ’n’
No, I don’t think it’s the fashion
or necessarily the music that’s so
appealing, but rather the general atti
tude in society at the time. People
thought differently. They acted dif
ferently. People loved America and
everything it stood for. They won the
war, had kids and wanted to build a
News flash. America has
changed. As philosopher Michael
Sandel has said, “The moral fabric of
community is unraveling around us.”
Our morals today are about as strong
as George McFly.
C’mon, just look around. Teen
age pregnancy rates, the spread of
AIDS and a largely divorced nation
show our moral decline. How about
our leaders? We’ve got an intem-lov
ing, backroom-dealing, tie-wearing,
scam artist at the helm of this star
So what has America misplaced
since this morally pedastalic time of
yore? I don’t think that we’ve lost
something, but instead we’ve gained
something - tolerance.
The perversion of tolerance
Now let’s make sure we’re all on
the same page before we delve into
this topic. First of all, there’s nothing
really wrong with tolerance in its
truest sense. Good ol’ Webster (no,
not the kid with an ’80s TV show, the
dictionary man) says tolerance is the
disposition to be fair toward those
whose opinions or practices differ
from one’s own. But that’s not what
tolerance really is today.
Try to visualize tolerance as a
picture in your mind. I see a big
group of people huddled together,
hugging, swaying and singing “We
Are the World.” But each race, gen
der, lifestyle and disability would
have to be represented in a perfectly
proportional manner. And we could
n’t sing “We Are the World,” because
it might offend someone. Come to
think of it, we probably couldn’t even
be singing, because it might violate
the rights of those who can’t sing
This is the tolerance that has
slowly begun to euthanize our nation.
In our perverted vocabulary, a once
cherished word is at the root of soci
We couldn’t have tolerance with
out diversity. And there’s no word
more annoying than diversity. Not
because I’m close-minded, racist and
just want to live in a colony of
WASPs detached from civilization,
but because society has changed the
meaning of diversity as well. I
always thought benefiting from
diversity was being able to learn
from others’ lives, cultures and ideas
in order to better ourselves and our
Today’s diversity isn’t as posi
tive. We come to college and, instead
of shaking the friendly diversity
hand, we get a diversity enema
before we know what hit us! We’re
suffocated with multiculturalism
and lifestyle awareness. Action
groups pummel us with their
extreme propaganda and hidden ide
Now ease up for a second, femi
nists. Of course there’s nothing
wrong with finding out about other
races, the opposite sex and people of
different political beliefs. But there
has to be a point where it all
becomes too much. We need to
remember to stay afloat on our own
beliefs in this murky swamp of
diversity. When we are completely
immersed in the actions, beliefs and
ideologies of others, we lose sight of
our own beliefs and who we are as
A moral wasteland
Tolerance has grayed the moral
landscape of America, because we
accept rather than respect. We embrace
rather than love. We compromise rather
than discuss. Morally, there are rights
and wrongs - in clear black and white.
But the diversity has surrounded us so
that we overly tolerate these different
views. No longer can we healthily dis
agree with others — it’s oppressive and
demeaning. We can’t stand up for our
values and convictions unless we’re
politically correct. We can’t be our
selves unless we’re politically correct.
The parameters of our tolerance
have been pushed to the outer limits.
When the consequence of our version
of tolerance is widespread moral decay,
it’s obvious that the boundaries have
gone too far.
I can understand if you don’t want
to go back to a mom-and-apple-pie era,
with relative homogeneity, racial disre
spect and life in general with blinders
on. But acceptance and political cor
rectness has corrupted America.
And we shouldn’t tolerate it.
Sick of it all
Antibiotic overkill prohibits our bodies from fighting germs the natural way
JAY GISH is a senior
broadcasting major and a
Daily Nebraskan colum
We’re working our way into a cri
sis that will literally plague the world
for decades. And it’s pretty good fod
der for today’s sensationalist media
outlets. But since there are so many
ugly absurdities in these waning
months of the century, the coverage
isn’t to the extent it really ought to be.
What am I talking about? You
could call it a millennium bug... an
organic one, not the binary prob
lem that has gone from jmedia
darling to overstuffed,
overhyped monster in the past
I’m talking about antibiotic
overkill, and it’s way past time
everybody - from manufacturers
to consumers -took it seriously.
I rarely go to the doctor
when I feel sick. I’ve forced
my body to fight off illnesses
that doctors could have and would
have cured faster. Among middle
class Americans, I’m largely alone.
Is refusing to medically treat
an illness sometimes stupid? -
Absolutely. Medicine exists
for a good reason. But done sensibly
on a large scale, reducing medicine
use could be a real life-saver.
Most people, when they get even
a nagging cold, go to the doctor. Too
often, the doctor gives them antibi
otics that may or may not kill the
germs causing the illness.
This happens thousands of times
every day, and it’s the incredible
numbers that make this activity a
threat. Almost every time you use
medicine, some of the germs you
attacked live to reproduce and fight
The more germs that survive and
replicate themselves, the stronger
bacteria become on the whole.
Because bacteria reproduce in such
volume, they are outpacing our medi
cines. That amoxicillin you took last
time you got sick? It may not worir" ~
the next time. It already may have
failed on other patients.
This is serious. And it’s been
unutterably worsened by the advent
of antibacterial soaps.
It’s really hard to find a hand soap
on the shelves that isn’t labeled as
antiseptic - which means that, like
penicillin, it’s made to kill germs.
You don’t need germ-killing soap.
You mostly just need water. Bacteria
are very, very small (hope you knew
that). An open faucet on your hands
is like the Great Flood to them.
Unless trapped by dirt (or other for
eign substances on your hands),
germs will flow down the drain and
will not bother you again anytime
That’s where soap comes in,
because its main purpose is to loosen
dirt, so the odors and bacteria trapped
in it will also be washed away. You
don’t need antibacterial hand soap.
Not only do you not need it,
it is becoming essential s
that you not use it. Nor
should you use^the
new antiseptic prod
ucts for mopping
your floors. (Why
in hell would you need that on your
floor anyway? To protect your ass
from infection when you slip on the
The more we use these products,
the more we help to create antiseptic
resistant germs. Think of the bacteria
on your hands as a battalion of Nazis.
Using these soaps is like firing a pis
tol at them. Sure, you may kill a few,
even a lot. But the ones that get away
are going to come back driving tanks.
And they are going to laugh as they
crush your pistol, and you with it.
(All right... take a short break to
make some of your own jokes about
pistols. I know you want to.)
Because millions of Americans
now use antiseptic soap products, sci
ence may be spending the rest of the
next century having to discover
entirely new methods of curing germ
related diseases, and new ways of
' disinfecting things when it’s really
That is a frightening prospect.
Just ask a grandparent (or
history professor) what it
was like while this country
was trying to figure out how
to defeat tuberculosis.
Now we’re on the verge of
having to do that aga in. and the
new answer may be twice as diffi
cult to find.
Next time you’re
under the weather, don’t
beg student health for
% antibiotics. Ask your doc
tor if prescription medicine
is really necessary. An over
^ uiv vuumvi ui iit. iv/ iviivtv u*v
f symptoms may be just as effec
tive in making you feel better. Or,
maybe a little sleep is all you need.
Just as importantly, don’t buy
soaps that purport to be antibiotic.
Just look for the old-fashioned kind,
if you can find it. It’s probably cheap
er, anyway. *
And if you really want to join the
cause (and you should- this is every
body’s future, here, dammit) write a
letter to the manufacturers of these
new “super soaps” and tell them to
stop selling them for general use.
Here’s a sample letter you can
feel free to copy:
Dear Purveyors of World
Too many Americans are being
suckered into buying your antibiotic
soaps. We don’t need them. We
promise people will still buy plam
old soap if you put it on the shelves
r instead... and put lots of aloe in it.
' And make it smell like chocolate
Sincerely, A Citizen Who Fears
Painful, Extended Death by Some
Disease We Had All Forgotten
Have a nice day.
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