More news from Virginia (reprinted with permission):
Hi, Frank and Michael –
Well, my living situation is still pretty ugly when it comes to being harassed for smoking – (loud, nasty comments about me made right outside my door, among other things), BUT – one good thing happened. I have an aide who comes four times a week, who was told by her doctor to wear a mask when she comes into my apartment because my smoking would make her rheumatoid arthritis worse. She pretty much believes everything told to her by “authority figures” and the TV.
So yesterday she comes in WITHOUT the mask. Starts talking right away about a new client of hers. This client is a senior citizen, extremely physically disabled and frail, who lives in a huge HUD apartment building. This building is in a not-so-nice part of town, and houses a wide range of low-income of people, not just seniors. So her client lives on the third floor, pretty far from any exit. Anyway, my aide (Amy) told me the first thing she saw when she drove up to the building was a very large crowd of people, looked like hundreds of them – many of them unsavory-looking – hanging out across the street from the building, on the street itself and in a dirty vacant lot, and it made her feel uncomfortable and unsafe. So she goes up to see her new client, and the elderly woman right away says, “Come on, let’s go,” and takes Amy on a walk through the several long hallways that Amy said stunk of poo and pee, to an elevator, which took forever to arrive. Amy asked her client where they were going and the elderly woman said, “I want a cigarette.” And to have this cigarette, she had to leave the building entirely and go across the street to that dirty vacant lot. Took about fifteen minutes because not only is the property huge but the elderly woman uses a walker and moves at a very slow pace. When they got to the vacant lot there was nowhere to sit, and the sun was beating down on them. It was 97 degrees. At least a hundred people were standing there smoking.
Turns out the building recently converted to NO SMOKING ANYWHERE ON PROPERTY. No one was grandfathered in. It’s a harsh, unforgiving rule. ANYONE smoking on the property will be immediately evicted. No second chance.They have to go all the way across the street to the vacant lot. There will be (there already are) frequent apartment inspections for anything having to do with smoking or tobacco. Any tobacco product found in an apartment will be cause for eviction. Any smell of smoke will be cause for eviction. (Hey – doesn’t matter that the hallways smell of poop and pee!) If any smoke is smelled in a hallway, there will be an investigation as to where it came from. I am not exaggerating. And – this is a huge building and the majority of adult residents are smokers. Hm – does this have anything to do with the Children? Seems more children would see hundreds of smokers standing outside.
Well, the good thing is that Amy finally understood what smokers are up against. She was truly horrified that her frail, disabled elderly client had to go through so much crap to simply have a cigarette. Her viewpoint on smoking changed just like that. She now believes that adults have the right to smoke in their own apartments. So that is wonderful! :)
Smoking bans like these are prime examples of Political Correctness. What’s more Politically Correct than smoking bans? And I was reminded of something I read earlier today by some country musician (Chely Wright) about people ‘whining’ about political correctness.
“Something I’ve noticed on social media is that those who continually mock and complain that “political correctness is rampant and ridiculous– yada yada yada” are most always straight, white, Christian males. They’re people who’ve never had to rely on others to speak up for them to protect and correct systemic injustices that society has leveled upon them.
What they fail to understand is that there is a valid and profound reason that the term “political correctness” exists. The term was born out of a desperate need to aid and to render fairness and safety. So many straight, white, Christian men have a lot of fun throwing the words “political correctness” around as a pejorative, but to me and many others it only serves to identify them as a person who lacks empathy and kindness.
Additionally, I’d bet my eye teeth that these men were often the big, mouthy bully on the playground at school who picked on the poor kid, the handicapped kid, the gay kid, the kid with glasses, the black kid and the kid with a single parent.
Well, yes, it’s true that I’m a straight, white, Christian (by upbringing) male. And it’s also true that I’ve never had to rely on others to speak up for me to correct systemic injustices that society has levelled upon me: I can do it myself. And I was never a school bully.
This country star seems to think that Political Correctness means standing up against systemic injustice, aiding and rendering fairness, and demonstrating empathy and kindness. And opposing Political Correctness means being a loudmouthed bully.
I wish it was. But it isn’t. It’s actually completely the other way round.
The way smokers are now being treated is a clear example of systemic injustice, devoid of empathy or kindness. And who are the people doing it? Why, the Politically Correct! Sure they’ll (pretend to) stand up for the poor kid, the handicapped kid, the gay kid, and the kid with glasses. And then they’ll walk round the corner and start laying into smokers as hard as they possibly can. And gloat over it.
There’s no empathy or kindness in Political Correctness. There is instead one set (rainbow?) of ‘approved’ victims of injustice – the poor, black, gay, disabled, etc. – on whom care and attention is lavished, and there is another set of ‘disapproved’ victims of injustice, outside the visible rainbow – smokers, drinkers, fat people – ,who they’ll treat worse than garbage. And in fact it is their very public show of care and concern for the ‘approved’ victim group which grants them the moral licence to treat the ‘disapproved’ group with open hatred and contempt.
The hypocrisy is blatant. And utterly disgusting.