By Noah Williams
As of late, Governor Paul Lepage has been drawing some harsh criticism for his racially charged statements surrounding the opioid crisis, and his irate lampooning of Westbrook representative Drew Gattine.
In the past, he has accused men of color from New York of coming to Maine and impregnating white women, thus contributing to the state’s rampant welfare abuse, and has been known to send personally insulting hand written letters to members of the legislature on state house stationary.
Some local residents have called our governor to step down, resign, or even be stripped of his title of governor for his actions, while others have applauded the governor for his refusal to be cowed by the P.C. milita of conventional politics.
The main thing here is that Lepage and people like him force us to examine the nasty dirty underbelly of our society, and the people who lead it, in a way that is so incredibly uncomfortable that it is impossible to ignore.
To some readers this may sound like conventional liberal dogma; another leftist flapping and squawking for Lepage’s apology. But this is not the case. In a world were professors must announce a “trigger warning” before delivering a lecture on slavery or sexual violence there is no better reminder that you cannot escape conflict, disagreement, and adversity.
Somewhere along the line we have mistaken political correctness for kindness, and the two things couldn’t be farther from the other. How can we address racism, sexual assault, or violence if we’re forbidden to speak plainly about it?
By assuming that we can sensor all offensive speech from day to day life and in the classroom, we are not only silencing a constitutional right, but depriving ourselves of a chance to grow and think critically about incredibly important issues. Not to mention laying a potential mind field for more hate in discontent when someone inadvertently offends someone and the automatic response is crucifixion.
Now, by no means does this give us license to belittle, harass, or verbally assault anyone. Neither does this acknowledge the validity of race baiting as a viable means to express our state’s opioid addiction. Rather, it assumes that our neighbors and classmates have some degree of common sense, and that we respect and understand that all people are human and subject to mistakes and error.
So whether you stand on the left or right of the floor, or whether you love Paul or hate him, perhaps we can all agree that the world would be a much nicer place to live if we were all just a bit kinder, even if this means being slightly less “correct”.