A Free Country?

In a book by Ray Bradbury entitled Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury speaks about the horrors of censorship. In this story's society books were banned. Firemen started fires rather than putting them out. Firemen burned books and society no longer taught anything in schools. Why? This society was "politically correct". An increase in minorities caused people to become more concerned with the possibility of offensive material. That society was under the impression that anytime people would think, conflict would arise and thus happiness would be lost. Because of this, rather than just letting people choose for themselves the books they read, the society just destroyed books and education altogether.

Fahrenheit 451 is not just a science fiction story. It is happening daily. Political correctness is striping us of our freedoms that our ancestors fought so hard for years ago. We are losing our freedom of the press, freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Political correctness is destroying what we built our country upon; this problem needs to stop.

A woman named Brigitte Gabriel tells her story of how political correctness trapped her in devastation through a book called Because They Hate. During the Lebanon Revolution, Islamic people were terrorizing the Christians in attempts to take over the land. Grass was her "daily bread" as she was living in a bomb shelter, fearing for her life. Unfortunately, not one American newspaper chose to put that article on the front of their newspaper. When the Americans did speak of the issue, they did not show the story in its entirety. One theory is that since the Muslims were helping to fund our schools and other such things, the Americans might lose their funding and their wrath might turn toward America. The Americans were so afraid to offend, that they in turn slept through the war. Due to America's political correctness, Christians in Lebanon were persecuted by the Muslims.

During the Holocaust, America was politically correct. The New York Times had articles about the Jewish persecutions on page four. Not on page one, two or even three. Page four. This was not because the other news was of more importance. The editors just put things that were harder to believe further back. Moreover, they were afraid to offend. Germany was trying to keep quiet their final obliteration of the Jewish people. Due to political correctness in the United States, the Nazis succeeded at keeping their secrets of destruction and torture quieter.

Freedom of religion, too, is disappearing from the new ideas of political correctness. Through the radio and other media sources, broadcasters speak of some new policies. The Ten Commandments is being taken out of court houses and schools. It is no longer "appropriate" because it could offend someone that is not a Christian. More than that, not too long ago there was a debate about whether the Pledge of Allegiance should mention God in it. Someone was being offended because they did not believe there was a God. Since someone was offended, the traditional policy was being criticized. Yet isn't it our right as American citizens to show our beliefs, whether everyone agrees with them or not? Instead of accepting those of a monotheistic faith, people are feeling attacked, threatened or offended by simple reminders of other religions even though things like the recitation of "The Pledge of Allegiance" is not a requirement in schools. It is in this way that America is losing its freedom of religion.

Freedom of speech is another thing that Americans take pride in. Unfortunately, it is hardly seen anymore! Teachers in schools are not allowed to speak about religion or politics at all. If they speak of a religion or political view different than what the children were taught at home, it could create controversy. Parents are afraid it might even make children convert to other religions, or start taking on different political beliefs. And teachers are afraid to bite the hand that feeds them. Without their taxpayers happy, they could not live so they stay on the safe side and do their best to make sure they are not being politically incorrect.

It goes beyond schools. In the news recently, people were voicing concern about a politically incorrect "Santa phrase". People were questioning whether Santa should be allowed to say, "Ho, Ho, Ho!" anymore. People were concerned that in saying, "Ho, Ho, Ho!" prostitutes would be offended. Even kids in school are afraid to say "Merry Christmas" anymore because they are afraid to be sued by people who do not celebrate Christmas. People, instead, put up signs that say, "Happy Holidays" now just in case someone in their area does not celebrate what they do.

Ray Bradbury was not alone in his ideas of how political correctness can be changed into tragedy. A man name Henry Steele Commager once made this quote, "The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion." This man supports what Fahrenheit 451 says. Another man named Potter Stewart made this quote, "Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime." Out of all the quotes I have seen and heard that support Bradbury's views, Robert Stern's was by far my favorite. Robert Sterns once said, "The avoidance of conflict is not a virtue." Fear of offending should not immobilize Americans and cause them to be silent. As far as I am concerned, political correctness should neither be a phrase in our dictionaries nor one floating around through the molecules of our atmosphere. Political correctness is incinerating documents that were written over 200 years ago. America cannot stay silent any longer. This country needs to arise to the challenge and stop censoring everything today!