Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines offended as: to cause (a person or group) to feel hurt, angry, or upset by something said or done.
There is a seemingly endless number of people these days who seem to live in a perpetual state of being offended. It must be exhausting. And burdensome. If there are words spoken or actions taken that can be termed as offensive, real or imagined, there is someone somewhere all too willing to take on that burden. Some of the offending causes are petty and laughable; some are legit. Some have resulted in Occupy Wall Street, overt thuggery aimed at Trump supporters, and now Antifa, all courtesy of the hard political left. Now, from the hard right we have white supremists and Neo-Nazis. Can’t we all get along here in our respective offended conditions?
Many soft-shelled college students are offended by the scheduled appearance of a conservative speaker on campus, and thereby insist that the speaker be turned away. Feckless college administrators have a long and shameful history of bending to the demands of loud students. Leaking a steady stream of pee and heading for the exits at the first sign of distress, many of these administrators ignore not just the tenets of free speech, but a worthwhile teaching opportunity as well.
Politicians are hardly any better. Some of the most prominent elected officials of the past decade have chosen to avoid naming the very enemy who is intent upon destroying this nation. Why? So as not to offend them, as if that would somehow make radical Islamists less inclined to murder our citizens, blow up our soldiers, and crash airliners into our buildings. Is it possible to defeat an enemy without offending them? It hasn’t worked thus far.
The recent spectacle in Charlottesville was alarming on several fronts. Seeing groups of Americans on the verge of killing one another is unsettling, to say the least. Just how much the issue of the Confederate monuments factored into the confrontation is still unclear to me, but what is clear is that some were offended by their existence and others by their removal. The cynic in me says that many of the agitators with clubs in hand were there only to bash some heads, unlikely as they were say, two years ago, to even know who fought whom in the Civil War. Or any other American war fought since.
ESPN saw fit this week to pull an Asian-American sports announcer named Robert Lee from his broadcast duties for the upcoming University of Virginia football game on September 2. ESPN stated that, among other things, they were concerned about Mr. Lee’s safety given the recent event at Charlottesville.
Has the act of being offended become such a fashion that virtually nothing is so small and insignificant that it can’t be found to be offensive? It would seem so, from Halloween costumes to silly jokes to Confederate (and soon other) monuments.
Or is it contagion? Again, it would seem so. Creating safe spaces on campuses doesn’t mean hardened bomb shelters. It means protecting students from ideas and speech that make them uncomfortable. This can, and likely already is, creating a level of intolerance in those who demand a sheltered existence.
Or is it admonition? If an innocent man cannot do his job for fear that his name will offend someone—his name!—and perhaps risk his safety as a result, well, this is a sign that the entire matter of being offended is potentially becoming far more dark and sinister.
It’s not a pretty picture. This nation has survived horrifically destructive wars, a Great Depression, a Great Recession, and 9/11. Can it survive the present dangers with some of its populace in safe spaces while others attack each other in the streets?
Good question, huh?