The shooting rampage in Arizona is met by Canadians with a “tut, tut” attitude. It is the fault of those liberal gun laws and the wild and hate-laden politics. While we like to believe we are different in this country, this may be only partially true.
Canada does not have a history of political assassination like the United States, but it has happened here on one occasion. We are committed to using lawful means to promote our beliefs and aspirations. At least most of us do so.
In our desire to handle differences of opinion we tend to lean towards the polite and fairly quiet option. We have a common civility towards others and if that is not enough, we enact legislation to make sure everyone performs correctly. While that seems to be a good idea, we are in danger of reducing our privilege of being unique people with our own views.
The latest foolish ruling is the one by the broadcast standards folks who have banned the playing of a mid-eighties song that includes the word “faggot”. It is understandable that the use of that particular word is insulting to the gay community. But let’s keep it in perspective. The use of the word in the song is quoting a working man. In the mid-eighties, it was not an uncommon expression. We have come a long way in 25 years and the gay community has been accepted and is taken as part of the larger community. There will always be some people who are hostile toward some group or another. Idiots will be idiots.
If broadcast standards continue down this selected path, they will have a lot of work to do. Much of rap music contains content that is really nasty. They often put down women and express views that should have been left back in the past century. Add the frequent call for violence and some songs are somewhat frightening.
There is a movement coming out of the United State suggesting the writings of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) need to be revised. Most of us are familiar with the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. They were published in the 1860s and 1870s. His writings contain dialogue that was used in that period. At that time the use of the word “nigger” was commonly used to describe individuals of African decent. That was then and the use of the word was common. Today it is an insult to anyone of African decent and has fallen into disrepute.
What is gained by going through those works and taking out that word or other words that may be offensive to someone? One may end up with some very small books.
Prejudice and hatred have no place in our society. They usually arise out of ignorance. When dealing with those who would use insulting names and phrases, we must challenge them and educate them. Censorship of any form is frightening. First we censor one thing and then another. The destination is one of bias and narrow thinking. We must be given the right to have and debate views, because that is the keystone of maintaining a free society.
The price of freedom of expression is the necessity of tolerating views we may not agree with. To look to regulators to take action, in most instances, is not productive. Tolerance and education does work well.