2015: The year I wish I didn’t know

December 27, 2015

2015The stockings are down, the tree will be soon, and landfills galore are receiving their annual allotment of wrapping paper, cardboard and cellophane. Mixed in with it all will be who knows how many stray parts that didn’t make it into the “some assembly required” portion of the gift giving extravaganza.

And so too comes the time for all the “Best of…Worst of…In tribute to” articles, columns and broadcasts that arrive as sure as the sun rises each morning. (Something has to fill the void of the slowest news cycle of the year.)

I’ve never been a big fan of the genre. The “best of” all too often leaves me asking “is that the best they could do?” and no matter how “worst” the worst, there is sadly always something worse. Instead I ask myself “what do I know now, that I didn’t know then?”

For instance:

I know now that when an American President chooses to ignore the world’s response to the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack and instead decides to send a “you’ve got a friend” 70’s folk singer accompanied by a Secretary of State who sometimes speaks French it instills confidence in no one good and inspires boldness in every one bad.

I also know now that there are entirely two different definitions of the word “contained”. One definition is that which resides in the mind of that same American President regarding his ISIS strategy. The other defines what it absolutely is not as seen in the pain and anguish on the faces of friends and family of the victims of a downed Russian airliner, suicide bombings in Beirut, the second Paris atrocity, and the worst attack on American soil since 9/11 in San Bernardino.

I know that as embarrassing and ridiculous the anti-First Amendment debacle on the University of Missouri campus this past November, it doesn’t come close to a recent New York Post article telling of Oberlin college students demanding meetings with college administrators because the school cafeteria served steamed, not fried, General Tso’s chicken and dared use coleslaw and ciabatta bread instead of vegetables and a French baguette for Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches.

Adding to the insult, “the sushi rice was undercooked in a way that was, according to one student, “disrespectful” of her culture.” and not to be left out, “Oberlin’s black student union joined in the fray this month by staging a protest outside Afrikan Heritage House” because “The cafeteria there wasn’t serving enough vegan and vegetarian options and had failed to make fried chicken a permanent feature on the Sunday night menu, the school newspaper reported.”.

Clover Lihn Tran writing in The Oberlin Review defends the outrage by noting that the cafeteria food vendor “has a history of blurring the line between culinary diversity and cultural appropriation”.

Thank God this was not the generation of D-Day and Iwo Jima.  We’d all be eating sushi and bratwurst.

So deep is the hole that political correctness has buried common sense that not only is such asininity now commonplace on college campuses across the country, the academic industrial complex that runs them gets away with charging tens of thousands of dollars a year for the privilege to be offended.

And lastly, I know now that for tens of millions of Americans, their anger at such pathetic excuses for leadership and education has reached a boiling point. A boil so rolling that they now see a boastful, blustering New York real estate tycoon as the only alternative to the lunacy the political left has created.

The only thing I’m absolutely certain of this year? There’s a long list of things I know now that quite frankly, wish I still didn’t.

PUBLISHER’s NOTE:  A version of this column first appeared in the December 27, 2015 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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