by Jeffrey A. Rendall
It’s safe to say almost everyone looks back fondly on their college years (and if you didn’t go to college, maybe high school was your thing). The relatively uninhibited freedom of the old days — the late nights, the stimulating conversations, the camaraderie of the campus…
College was great, wasn’t it? No one could tell you what to do; heck you didn’t even need to go to class if you didn’t feel like it. Ask to borrow a friend’s lecture notes and you’re off scot-free for whatever time you missed. University living is the transition period between primary and secondary education when everything’s decided for you and the drudgery of the adult workplace where…everything’s decided for you again.
Only these days it appears more and more members of the “snowflake” generation are seeking to extend their college experiences — not by taking longer to finish their undergraduate work or going to grad school but instead by bringing their “safe spaces” and sensitivity obsessions to the workplace. Employers are discovering these young employees have rather unusual demands.
It’s getting to be problematic, at least where newsrooms are concerned.
The Editors of the Washington Examiner wrote, “Students have been calling the shots on campuses more and more over the last half decade, successfully fighting to prevent themselves from being contradicted, triggered, or intellectually challenged. They have fought to get speakers uninvited, to revoke the charters of conservative student groups, and to fire campus columnists for thought crimes. Emboldened by their victories on campus in spreading the shadow of their smug and self-absorbed ignorance, graduates are now waging the very same wars in workplaces.
“Sure, at the moment, this problem appears to be most pronounced in newsrooms and other tiny places of employment most likely to be populated by graduates from the elite schools where these trends first began. But professors and administrators should be advised that the consequences of their fecklessness and their enabling are making themselves felt at the expense of the broader culture.”
As an example, the Examiner editors reported, “At the New York Times, younger staffers are complaining of ‘microaggressions’ and petitioning the paper to implement ‘implicit bias training’ programs. Editors, in response, have taken to holding ‘office hours,’ looking to quell upset (reportedly shared among the younger generation) over ideologically divergent opinion writers, in much the same way professors address complaints about harsh grading.”
Say what? In the not-so-distant past if you were called into your manager’s “office hours” it meant you were about to receive a gentle tongue-lashing about work product or goofing around too much on the job. Nowadays employers like the Times bend over backwards to prove to their people how sensitive they are about “feelings” in the office environment. News flash to the snowflakes: not everyone likes what everyone else says at all times, but you’re a grownup now – get over it and get back to work.
Sometimes the conflicts even rise to the level of arguments. What are you going to do, quit?
Much hay has been made of late about former National Review writer Kevin Williamson’s hiring (and subsequent firing) at the ultra-liberal The Atlantic, and how the magazine’s editor in chief felt compelled to issue an “explanation” to his staff as to why a bunch of enlightened liberals would ever seek to offer a different ideological vantage point. What happened to the days of divergent opinions and folks of great intellect debating ideas back and forth so as to influence the understandings of others?
Aside from the fact Williamson’s snobby elitist #NeverTrump viewpoints on the Trump presidency would fit in well with the general editorial content of The Atlantic, as an employer you shouldn’t feel compelled to explain to those on your payroll why you’re doing something to improve the business. Intra-office communication is always a good thing yet begging your underlings’ pardon is a different matter entirely. If the snowflakes can’t take it perhaps they should look for a more accommodating situation – and profession – somewhere else.
This new trend – if it is indeed a trend – is part of the overall dumbing down of American culture so utterly evident in today’s society. Political correctness has virtually everyone minding what they say, especially the president. How many times did President Trump explain the degree to which he “condemned” something? How about his reaction to last summer’s Antifa/white supremacists’ riot in Charlottesville?
Immediately afterwards Trump denounced “both sides” and it wasn’t sufficiently contrite for the PC thought police, the people who ignore facts to advance their own biased agendas. The Charlottesville neo-Nazis were indeed heinous but the urine bombs tossed at them by the black hooded leftists didn’t simply materialize out of thin air during a peaceful protest. The left came armed to bear, looking for a fight – and they got one.
Such combative attitudes have apparently reached American workplaces. Where does it go from here, “kindliness” training for parents in the home too?
Speaking of workplace sensitivity, former Republican presidential nominee (loser) Mitt Romney is running for the GOP’s senate nod in Utah (to succeed the retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch). Romney’s verbal bouts with then-candidate Trump during the 2016 campaign are the stuff of legend, but Mitt says if he goes to Washington he’s prepared to let bygones be bygones.
Cristiano Lima of Politico reported, “As a private citizen in 2016 Mitt Romney delivered a scathing rebuke of Donald Trump. But as a Senate candidate in 2018 the former Republican presidential nominee says he’s focused on looking ‘forward.’
“Romney told audience members Thursday at a community theater in Utah, where he is vying to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, that he will not ‘look backward’ at his past criticisms of the president.
“’I look forward. I’m not going to look backward,’ Romney said when asked by an audience member if he would give another speech taking aim at Trump, according to the Deseret News.”
Lima also reported Romney voiced support for Trump’s trade policies with China during the same forum. Is Mitt Romney a newborn “America First” protectionist — or is he just flip-flopping the way only the former Massachusetts governor can?
It’s no secret conservatives are encouraging Utah Republicans to choose a good candidate — other than Romney — for the party nomination knowing full well the Beehive State isn’t about to send a Democrat to Washington. Orrin Hatch’s retirement (after 42 years) represents a golden opportunity to add another principled conservative voice to the senate – someone along the same intellectual lines as Utah Sen. Mike Lee.
Romney’s fluttering principles could prove problematic in a city where not many are inclined to stick to their promises. The truth is Mitt would be just as likely to join the swamp creatures as shoo them off the steps of the Capitol building. Romney and Sen. John McCain aren’t exactly friends (after the nasty 2008 GOP primary campaign) but here’s thinking Mitt would take a McCain-like opposition stance as much as feasible where Trump is concerned.
After all, the eternally headline seeking Romney wouldn’t engender much coverage for going along with Trump – he’d just become another member of the pack. And when he’s already run for the presidency twice and lost, why would Mitt settle for being a senator who fades into the background?
Utah conservatives are inviting trouble if they nominate Romney, just as any #NeverTrump candidate could easily be seen as a martyred glory-seeker these days. Dan McLaughlin wrote at National Review, “A serious primary challenge to Trump in 2020 — on the model of Reagan in 1976 — is a weighty thing to organize and launch, and many of us would welcome the opportunity to support one. But anyone who is talking up unserious challengers such as Flake and Kasich is choosing delusion over the hard work of playing to win back the party.
“We cannot rid the Republican party of Donald Trump by burning down conservatism around him or backing frivolous, purely symbolic opponents. That leaves answers that are a lot less glamorous but no less important: engage in Senate, House, and gubernatorial primaries to support mainstream conservatives; criticize Trump for his words and oppose and obstruct his specific misdeeds; build strong institutions (intellectual and grassroots alike) loyal to genuine conservative principles; and remember that no fight worth winning is ever permanently won.”
McLaughlin fits in perfectly with the bevy of anti-Trump National Review writers that until recently included Kevin Williamson. McLaughlin’s on-page bio says he lives in New York City, which could explain why he’s so out of touch with the conservative soul of the national Republican Party. Though he does eventually poopoo the idea of Jeff Flake or John Kasich challenging Trump in the 2020 GOP presidential primaries, McLaughlin entertains the notions of the #NeverTrump crowd that the party leader deserves opposition while in office.
In doing so McLaughlin essentially advances the establishment’s position on Trump by suggesting Republican congressional and senate hopefuls ought to be “mainstream” — which is swamp-speak for robotic candidates stamped with approval by the GOP elites in Washington. Sure, that’s exactly what we need – more intra-party opposition to Trump based on his behavior and conduct rather than what’s really happening in the administration.
These people would put Jeb Bush in office today if they were allowed. And the Democrats would still be arguing their party deserved to win the House so they could impeach the president.
There’s a naysayer in every corner, more so now that Trump is at the helm. No one claims Trump’s unorthodox governing style doesn’t merit reasonable criticism and comment but it gets extreme when you’re talking about sabotaging the Republican president because you don’t like him and think he’s “harmful” to conservatism.
People have different opinions. It was revealed over the weekend, for example, that a “hero” of the Parkland shooting places the blame for the rampage on the Broward County sheriff and school officials for failing to stop the would-be killer – not the gun itself. Valerie Richardson reported in the Washington Times, “A Parkland student badly wounded while saving the lives of classmates has blamed the Florida mass shooting on the sheriff and the school district, saying the confessed gunman should have been kicked out long before the deadly rampage.
“Anthony Borges, the 15-year-old shot five times as he shielded about 20 students by blocking a doorway, told Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and superintendent Robert Runcie in a letter that ‘both of you failed us students, teachers and parents alike on so many levels.’
“’I want to ask you today to please end your policy and agreement that you will not arrest people committing crimes in our schools,’ said the letter. ‘I want all of us to move forward to end the environment that allowed people like Nikolas Cruz to fall through the cracks.’”
Borges says he supports his classmates who have been speaking out against gun violence but believes it was public officials who were ultimately responsible for making sure bad apples were removed from the bunch. They failed; will Borges’s view be widely distributed by the media?
There’s a good argument that political correctness led directly to the tragedy in Parkland.
The dumbing down of American culture shows up at the worst times and places – in school shootings, in the workplace and sometimes even in political movements like #NeverTrump. Eventually the truth will win out in these circumstances — but by then will it be too late for us?