Sunday, May 31, 2009

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...

What's with all the drama and hypersensitivity in this country? So many of us seem to go out of our way to find things to be offended about. And what happened to thoughtfulness and common courtesy? We are increasingly becoming a nation of selfish, immature brats. Case in point, the recent commotion over the display of an American flag in a supervisor's office in Mansfield, TX.

Our story begins with Debbie McLucas, who works as a supervisor at Kindred Healthcare. She shares an office with three other supervisors. Without consulting her employer or coworkers, she decides to hang a three-by-five American flag in the shared workspace.

Let's set aside the issues of legality, patriotism, and freedom for a moment and simply consider the etiquette of introducing something the size of a large beach towel into a confined common area. Something that size isn't inconsequential. It draws attention; it dominates a small office.

McLucas was thoughtless in not talking to her coworkers about the flag before she brought it in. She was selfish in imposing such an object on them and she showed arrogance (not to mention cluelessness) in her surprise that not everyone shares her sensibilities.

From the article linked above:
"I was just totally speechless. I was like, 'You're kidding me,'" McLucas said.
. . .

Stifling a cry, McLucas said, "I just wonder if all those young men and women over there [in Iraq] are really doing this for nothing."
. . .

"I find it very frightening because if I can't display my flag," McLucas asked, "what other freedoms will I lose before all is said and done?"
Oh cry me a river. Can we dispense with all the drama? There is no inalienable right to fly a flag in the workplace, or to impose our sensibilities on our coworkers. Kindred Hospital is the employer, so they get to call the shots. This mentality of entitlement has got to stop or it will be the end of this great country.

Okay, so McLucas needs to get over herself in a big way. But what about her coworkers who were offended, offended I say, by the American flag? This has got to be some form of mental disorder. Seriously. People who take umbrage at the mere sight of a symbol of the very country which grants them a degree of freedom unique in history just can't be taken seriously. They're infants, whose response to any and every type of discomfort is to fuss and whine until someone (usually the government) picks them up and reassures them that they are the center of the universe, that their needs are all that matter. (I realize I'm extending a stereotype to the offended coworkers in the story, but it's not much of a reach, and I bet you a doughnut it's accurate.)

The people on both sides of this issue are children emotionally, and our society nurtures them by fostering the narcissistic notion that there is an absolute right, at all times and in all places, to be free of all discomfort and offense. This is sad, and maddening, and also destructive. It's called tolerance, but it's really intolerance, in the extreme.

No comments: