It All Began With “Mankind”

I think it all began with the word “mankind.”  Someone woke up one day in the 80’s and thought the English language needed some tweaking.  Somehow the use of the word “man” in “mankind” was considered exclusive and needed to be more gender-neutral like “humankind.”  I’ve always found the use of the word “humankind” to be a bit patronizing and awkward and still use the word “mankind” even if it makes me old school; the word “mankind” doesn’t make me feel excluded from humanity.

English has masculine and feminine pronouns but, generally, doesn’t have noun class distinctions like many other languages, but that hasn’t stopped those who wish to create a gender-neutral American society.

Over the years, we’ve seen “firemen” become “firefighters,” “Congressmen become “Congresspersons,” (although Nancy Pelosi identifies herself as “Congresswoman” on her website), “Chairmen” become “Chairpersons,” and some actresses refer to themselves as “actors.”  (In that case, I think they should get rid of the “Best Actress Academy Award” and include everyone in the “Best Actor” category.)

For those who wish to drastically change society by declaring there are 31 genders, or suggest that I call myself a “cisgender woman” which apparently shows I’m aware of, and, therefore, more compassionate toward transgender people, the quest to make our lives gender-neutral continues.

This week, I read an article about the city of Berkeley, California, updating its municipal code to exclude neutral-gendered words.  It never stops.

“Manholes” are now called “maintenance holes,” “manmade” will be “artificial” and all instances of “men and women” will be replaced by “people.”  The pronouns “he” and “she” will be placed with “they.”  And, there is, of course, my favorite:  “fraternity” and “sorority” will be replaced with the more wordy “collegiate Greek system residence.”  According to Berkeley City Council member, 23-year old Rigel Robinson, who, apparently, has nothing else to do with his time and suggested these changes, “Women and non-binary individuals are just as entitled to accurate representation.  Our laws are for everyone, and our municipal code should reflect that.”  (My research reveals “A person is non-binary if their gender identity is something other than male or female.  Non-binary individuals may identify as gender fluid, agender [without gender], off the binary, or something else entirely.”)

Apparently, “he” and “she” are no longer relevant or preferred and English pronouns need to be changed as well.  Ze/hir pronouns: Ze is a writer and wrote that book hirself. Those ideas are hirs. I like both hir and hir ideas.”  Ze/zir pronouns: Ze is a writer and wrote that book zirself. Those ideas are zirs. I like both zir and zir ideas.”  I won’t even begin to understand all this.  Some people just have far too much time on their hands.

Similarly, Colorado State University has issued an “Inclusive Language Guide” that eliminates the words, “America,” “American” and “freshman.

Which brings me to my big question.  One of the goals I set for myself this summer was to start Spanish lessons which I have.  I took a semester in college but quickly forgot just about everything.  My husband speaks Spanish fluently and our travels bring me in contact with many Spanish-speaking people. I love the sound of the language so I’m hoping to at least achieve a minimal conversational ability to speak Spanish over the next several months.

I’m learning that the Spanish language, as well as many other languages, have masculine and feminine nouns, articles, adjectives, etc.  So, is it the intent of the people changing “manholes” to “maintenance holes” and imposing “ze-hir/ze-zir” on the rest of us planning to re-invent new words for every other language that does, in fact, have feminine and masculine distinctions in its grammar to make the entire planet “gender-neutral?”  Will there no longer be “Kings” and “Queens?”  “Landlords” and “Landladies?”  “Emperors” and “Empresses?” “Nephews” and “Nieces”?  Where will it end?

Will the animal kingdom (oops, maybe I shouldn’t have used the word “kingdom”) be the next target?  Someone ought to let the lions and lionesses, geese and ganders, billy-goats and nanny-goats, stallions and mares, bucks and does, and rams and ewes, in on all this.  Somehow I think they’re pretty secure in their identities unlike many people these days.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Pride and Prejudice

Editor’s note: This is a special guest op-ed from Premium Member, Michael G. Frankel.

The beauty of words is their power to succinctly convey deep feelings and emotions. Professional writers labor over the use of a particular word or phrase. George Will is a master in this regard. When you read one of his articles, you can tell that he has carefully chosen a certain word or phrase to make the reader fully appreciate the point he is trying to make.

Unfortunately, in our brave new world of sound bites, acronyms, and emojis, the craftsmanship of words and writing all too often has been decimated in the quest for speed and brevity of expression. More depressingly, some words are used without that much thought or feeling. This is true in both the personal and political arenas.

One of the words that has been overused and lost some of its importance and power is the word “love.” The phrase “I love you” has become used very cavalierly during the past decade. Its usage has become ubiquitous, which has diminished the depth and specialness of its meaning. This possibly began in 1977 when Milton Glasser coined the phrase, “I Love NY,” which in 2009 became the official slogan of the State of New York. Now we have the heart symbol pretty much everywhere to demonstrate how much everyone loves everything.

Accordingly, the expression of love has become depersonalized and banal. By specific illustration, the expression of one’s “love for America,” has become somewhat superficial and trite. This has relevance when we try to discern how someone seeking political office feels about our country. Perhaps a more accurate reflection of one’s attitude about America can best be gleaned by inquiring, “Are you proud to be an American” rather than, “Do you love America?”

In contrast to love (which is a gut emotional feeling), pride requires something more than mere emotion. It is a given that parents will love their child. It is not a given that parents will or should have pride in their children. Pride typically requires thinking and reasoning.  When politicians are asked, “Are you proud to be an American,” they will not be able to give the knee jerk answer, “Of course I am,” because they will then be forced to explain why they are proud, and more importantly how the reasons given for their purported pride can be reconciled with their negative views of America with respect to a number of issues, most notably that of race in America.

And that leads us to the word “prejudice,” a prevalent term used in the 1960s to indicate that one was not a “bigot.” The words “prejudice” and “bigot” have become relics of linguistic history, as they are no longer strong enough for today’s social justice warriors who need to prove their bona fides and the strength of their convictions. Thus, whereas in the old days, one was labelled a bigot or prejudiced to make it clear that they were unworthy of societal respect, eventually these words were deemed insufficient to make clear how truly evil and hateful the target of scorn really was. And those benign terms were replaced first by the term “racist,” and more recently by the term “white supremacist.” These terms of derision and disgust are now thrown around much like the word love, except that these derogatory words are used to access power through demagoguery and to discourage dissent.

The point of all this is that words matter, and people, especially politicians (and the media) need to be held accountable for what they say and write and be compelled to tell us how they really feel about issues that are important to millions of us. One of those issues is pride in America. This is not about blind pride or an attitude of “America: Love it or Leave it;” but rather a balanced view of the history of our country and the pride that millions of us take in all that America is and has done for almost two and a half centuries.

One of the beautiful things about America is that no one is forced to love her or be a proud American, and, in fact, they can shout from the rooftops their disdain for America if they so choose, and without fear of retribution. But one cannot have it both ways: if you constantly attack American values and American traditions and history, and believe that “America was never really that great to begin with,” can you also be proud to be an American?

We all know the answer to that question.

Is This What Diversity Is All About?

Let me start off by saying that I’ve come to the point where I hate the word “diversity.”  When I worked in the Los Angeles Dependency Court in the 90s, we were subjected to lunchtime speakers who lectured us about diversity – blacks, women, Native Americans, gays – you name it and we had to listen to overpaid lecturers who made a living out of creating problems where there were none.

Fast forward to 2017 and here’s an actual letter I found in our local newspaper a few months back printed after the election:

“It has been said that politics is local.  Here’s how last week worked for our family and friends:  My stepson and his wife have very deliberately ensured that their children’s circle of friends reflects diversity in the color of skin and cultural background.  Now, our 7-year old granddaughter is extremely fearful that she will lose her friends because they will have to leave the country….”  (Emphasis added.)

I come across some really whacky letters to the editor in our local newspaper but this one has to be on the top of the list.

How actually does this stepson “very deliberately” ensure his children’s circle of friends reflects diversity?  Are the children required to fill out a “friend application” and then make an appointment to be interviewed?  Or are this child’s friends selected based on outward appearances rather than their inner characteristics?

Does this mean that out of ten friends, this 7-year old can’t have more than a certain number of white friends? Black friends? Native American friends?  Asian friends?

If an extra child in a particular category shows up at their doorstop, do they say, “Sorry, she’s got a Hispanic friend already; that category is filled.”

Has the child’s parents set a quota as to how many female friends vs. male friends she can have?

Does she look at her checklist and see how many Asian friends she has before she befriends another Asian?  Oops, sorry, can’t be friends with you because I already have three Asian friends.

Have we gotten to a point where our friends are our friends because of a foolish misguided attempt at affirmative action?

And why’s a 7-year old “extremely fearful” that she’ll have to lose her friends because they’ll have to leave the country?  Who’s teaching her this garbage?  I have yet to hear about one person from our community being deported.

(It’s as ridiculous as the statement I overheard at the gym the day after the election. After a woman completed her tirade against Mr. Trump, expletives and all, she said she told her lesbian daughter, whose wedding was planned for August, to get married by a justice of the peace immediately because after January 20th, she won’t be able to get married.  Now, how stupid was this woman?)

Getting back to the 7-year old, the only thing she should be fearful about is whether or not her toe nail polish matches her flip flops or whether she’ll be able to watch her favorite movie on the weekend.  Maybe she can worry about what she wants for her upcoming birthday, but that’s about it.

I’ve always thought the best friends are those who have similar morals and values and are basically decent human beings.  To me, that’s most important.  Who cares if they’re gay, straight, black, white, Asian, etc. If they don’t have a problem with lying, stealing or infidelity, I say good-bye.  Period.  I want people in my life who are positive and caring.

I feel very sorry for this little 7-year old.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

What are students learning in schools these days?

Well, in my opinion, at George Washington University, not much.  A few weeks ago, the Young America’s Foundation, interviewed some students there, and the video shows the results.  Only 6 out of 30 students knew that we’d be commemorating 9/11 the following week.

How could any 18-22 year old NOT know about 9/11?  My 6-year old grand nephew’s Catholic School class even talked about it on September 11th.

Just three years ago, every television station, newspaper and magazine, commemorated the tenth anniversary of 9/11.  How could they be so oblivious to that news coverage?

When I was a 12-year old kid, I remember very clearly the assassination of John F. Kennedy and I could still tell you the day was November 22, 1963, without looking it up.  And here you have arguably another, even more significant, date in our Nation’s history, September 11th, 2001, and young adults still don’t’ have a clue.  How can that be?

With tuition, room and board, books, etc., GW University costs over $60,000 a year and this is the caliber of student that is being accepted at this university?  It’s absolutely pathetic.

I’m sure these same students are going to grow up to be the same clueless people that have been shown pictures of current politicians and are unable to identify political figures such as Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, George Bush, Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton.  Now, I’m not saying that in 1969, when I was 18, I knew the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John William McCormack, but we had one newspaper in the apartment, The Daily News, and a couple of television stations that presented the “nightly news.”  In today’s America, we have 24/7 news streaming through our home, cell phones, computers, etc.  How could anyone not be able to identify Nancy Pelosi when, just a couple of years ago, during the Obamacare fiasco, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing that face of hers?

It’s a new world, and it’s impossible to go anywhere and not see headlines of daily events.  Waiting online at the checkout counter – there are magazines and newspapers; waiting for a flight – there’s CNN on every tv at the airport;  working out at the gym – there are tvs going all the time with various channels.

How can anyone be oblivious to the horrific acts of ISIS in the last few weeks?  The majority of the 30 students interviewed didn’t even know who or what ISIS was and only 4 out of 30 could identify one of the journalists who were beheaded.  But, 29 out of the 30 knew at least one personality whose naked photos were recently hacked – something I’m sure will help in their careers.  It’s a very sad state of affairs.

For most of their lives, the United States has been involved in a war against terrorism.  Do they not know that our soldiers have been in Afghanistan all this time?  Do they even know what Al Queda is?  Were they unaware of the killing of Osama bin Laden?  Have they traveled on an airplane since 2001?  Have they even questioned, “Who are these TSA people and why do I have to be scanned?”  It’s absolutely pathetic and this is the future of our country.

If they don’t remember such an important date as 9/11, I’m hoping they forget Election Day as well.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Are Our Children Actually Learning Anything in School Today?

liberal-public-school-system-cartoonWith all the political correctness, secular progressive propaganda and outright craziness going on in schools today, I wonder if kids are actually learning anything at all.  In my world, you went to school, learned a skill (as I did in my vocational high school), and got a job.  Higher education came much later for me.  I was expected to work out of high school.  I can’t imagine how I would’ve supported myself if I had to endure the kind of dopeyness I read about today – starting in our elementary schools all the way through college.

A new policy in Chicago will require sex education in every grade, including kindergarten.  Fortunately, parents can opt out of this program, but, one would think, with one of the highest drop-out rates in the nation, Chicago would be a little bit more interested in the basics or is reading, writing and arithmetic a thing of the past?

A mother of a fifth grader in Corpus Christie, TX, objected to a test question following the viewing of a film entitled, “Remembering September 11th,” which read, “Why might the United States be a target for terrorism?”  The “correct” answer was “Decisions we made in the United States have had negative effects on people elsewhere.”  The other options were “Other people just don’t like Americans,” “Terrorists hate everyone” and “None of the above.”  When did it become okay to teach our children that we caused the atrocities of 9/11?  Why wasn’t the correct answer, “Because Islamic terrorists hate freedom and everything else the U.S.represents.”

In Houston, an elementary school held an assembly entitled, “A Dream Come True – Living in the present by remembering the past and looking forward to the future.”  The lyrics of the first song, “Feels Like Change”:

 Oh, I tried to believe in George Bush,

I tried to trust,

But it’s ashes to ashes now,

And it’s dust to dust.

Do you feel it baby?

Oh, do you feel it?

It feels like change!

 The rest of the program, with the exception of a couple of songs focused on Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr., was a lovefest for the President Obama.  Talk about indoctrination and propaganda.  (After the program was put on and after reviewing the lyrics, the principal agreed that some of the songs were “overly political” and shouldn’t have been included.)

Recently, a Florida teenager, along with two others, forcibly disarmed a fellow student who allegedly pointed a loaded gun and threatened to shoot another pupil on a school bus.  Instead of praising these heroes, they were suspended for three days.  Now it’s up to them to fight to remove this suspension from their records.

In McAllen, Texas (what the hell is going on down there?), a teenager now has to sue her school because she was punished for not reciting the Mexican national anthem and pledge of allegiance (to Mexico) as part of her intermediate Spanish class.

And now we come to Massachusetts.  Earlier this year, the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education released an 11-page document ordering the state’s K-12 public schools to permit “transgender” boys and girls to use the opposite sex’s locker rooms, bathrooms and changing facilities as long as they “claim to identify with that gender.”  Neither a doctor’s note nor parental permission for a child to “switch sexes” is needed.  If a boy says he’s a girl, as far as the schools are concerned, he’s a girl.

A friend of mine went through sex-reassignment and was required to go through years of psychotherapy, hormone therapy and living as a person of the opposite sex for an entire year before his surgery was approved.

How does a kid, somewhere between the ages of 5-17, get to make that decision without medical supervision or parental knowledge?  This is absolute insanity.  Some schools include kindergarten through 8th grade, which means, that boys as old as 14 could share toilet facilities with girls as young as five and vice versa.  If a boy who “identifies” himself as a girl doesn’t want to use a urinal in a boys’ bathroom, then he should use a stall.  And what about a girl?  How does a girl who “identifies” herself as a boy use a boys’ bathroom any differently than a girls’ bathroom.  Does anyone really want to think about a 14-year old girl using the same changing facilities and showering with 14-year old boys?

According to the guidelines, if a female student is uncomfortable and objects to a boy’s presence when she’s in the bathroom, the rules say, the complaint “is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student.”

Finally, Ryan Rotela, a Florida Atlantic University student, is accusing an instructor and local Democratic party leader of suspending him for refusing to stomp on a piece of paper with the word “Jesus” written on it.  This “exercise” was part of an intercultural communications class (whatever that means) and was supposed to encourage discourse.  Could you imagine if a student was told to stomp on the name “Mohammed” or even “Obama”?  Fortunately, Ryan has received an apology but the instructor has been put on administrative leave for “safety reasons” whatever that means.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.