There was a time in my work career when saying “Yes Ma’am” to a female co-worker or boss was considered sexist and offensive. They didn’t care that it was meant to be respectful. They didn’t care that it was a cultural norm for me and millions of people across the country to show deference to the women around us in this way. Their perception was “You’re being demeaning!” “You’re pushing a sexist agenda!” Even more disturbing was, their perceptions were being backed-up by… corporate HR and lawyers. We were even given classes on workplace harrassment, and saying “Yes Ma’am” was one of the things listed as “Possibly Offensive”.
So when people take a knee during the national anthem as a silent protest against unresolved police brutality and I see and hear people label it as offensive to the flag, offensive to soldiers, offensive to our country, I notice the same oblivious perceptions and selective hearing that I dealt with during the “Yes Ma’am” era. How is someone taking a knee, silently, for 1 minute before a football game hurting you? Why does a president and other persons in political power say that exercising your First Amendment rights is evil and then threaten players, the NFL, news outlets, and anyone else who doesn’t agree with them?
And also in the news these days…
Why does the Casting Couch exist for decades and – all of a sudden – after a flood of incidents come to light about a single individual, only then – magically – it becomes real again? Only then do others speak up. Only then do others condemn this silent normality.
People who know me know that I think Trump is a blithering idiot, but I’m beginning to think that it was time for someone like him to become president because his presence is serving to expose (in record time) the cracks and biases in our political and legal systems, the still-existing racist tendendies of much of our country, and the weaknesses in ourselves.
Trump, I believe, served/serves as a catalyst. Now – it’s our turn to examine ourselves and ask “Is this who we are?” And, more importantly “Is this who we truly want to be??”