President Obama now finds himself at the centre of a political correctness debate. During an appearance on the Jay Leno show (just what was he doing there???), the President made a joke about his bowling skills, stating that his most recent outing at the lanes was ”like the Special Olympics or something.”
Naturally, the comment was immediately greeted with the requisite harrumping and hyperventilating about how “insensitive” such a comment was. Apologies are flying from the White House faster than the Treasury is printing money.
Already Obama’s supporters in the press are urging patience and understanding: “It was a joke. He didn’t mean it. He apologised. Let’s move on. We have more important things to do.” I agree with that sentiment. It was a bit thoughtless. However, there are two troubling aspects of this episode.
The first is the fact that many Republicans, having been burned by past political correctness controversies, are now joining in the calls for apologies, demanding some act of penance for Obama’s obvious “insensity.” To my mind, it’s shameful that Republicans would play this game. Rather than join in the ritual demands for apologies, this is a good time to take a stand against the posturing that often attends these kinds of episodes. The grievance lobby is out of control and this is a good time to say so.
At the same time, I am a bit suspicious about the press’ new found willingness to forgive and forget. I cannot help but wonder whether the same tolerance will be extended to the next conservative who makes a similar gaffe.
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