The Long Way Home 6.23.23

Today I’m straying into some politically incorrect areas that may piss off  those on the left, and the right.

I recently learned that in 2021 the Minnesota DNR changed the name of the Gypsy Moth to the Spongy Moth. The nasty bug is an invasive, non-native species found in the eastern US that causes significant damage to trees. It has recently been found moving into our great state. 

The DNR thought the word gypsy offensive to Romani (Roma) people. The Roma are a nomadic people who traditionally lived an itinerant lifestyle in southern and eastern Europe.  Gypsy has been used to label and denigrate them, partly because people believed they originated in Egypt. They actually originated in Northern India. Ignorance is a widespread human condition. 

Since I’m not a “real” journalist, I can declare I am a left of center Democrat. I’m not afraid of the “liberal” label. All the worry about offending people has gone too far. It serves to cement the biases and prejudices of those who loudly, and sometimes violently, express their opposition to “liberals” and support for right wing-nut politicians and preachers. It causes the more moderate to wonder which excess is better.

One of our canines is named Gypsy. She came from a rescue in Illinois with the temporary name Serenity. We never thought about the Roma people when renaming this bundle of love and energy and it would be a silly waste of time to rename her now. 

Will someone soon say the SpongeBob people are offended that a moth is named Spongy?

See what I mean?

Pronouns are another issue that divides rather than reconciles. Having raised teens and enjoyed grandchildren coming of age I am not insensitive to the troubles of sexuality and sex that teens experience. I was a teen once myself. 

If you don’t remember your struggles around sexuality, read some of the popular fiction from the last century for a refresher. Uncertainty about sexuality ain’t new. 

Some of my liberal friends foisted the whole pronoun preference choice on a people, a significant majority of Americans, who struggle every day to keep the wolves at bay. When you struggle to afford housing, food and health care, why does a chosen pronoun of someone you barely know mean diddly squat? It’s just more evidence that the powers that be care more for the pronoun than for the struggle that is everyday life. 

That’s when the demagogues step in. They provide assurance to this large part of our population that struggles every day, that they, the white politicians, are the ones who know the problems of life are because “those people” want to eliminate “your” culture.

They strut like cock roosters across stages at rallies around the country promising that climate change is a hoax (it’s not), racism does not exist (it does), and vaccines cause autism (they don’t). 

They go on to say that it’s the people who don’t want to offend the Romas or who demand we all claim and use our own pronouns who want to destroy your culture (whatever that is) and take away your rights.  

Reconciliation is pretty much impossible when people on both sides are more offended by what is harming them individually than they are about what is harming them collectively. Lack of good jobs, housing that is unaffordable, and a climate that continues to worsen. Racism and sexism continue to affect everyday life. The limited natural resources that civilization needs to survive--fossil fuels and water specifically--get more limited every day.

So, what do you think?