Commie

Commie:(n) a communist

Growing up, there were three great insults we used repeatedly to decimate the character of those around us, while greatly inflating our own sense of self-importance: retard, gay and Commie

Although they were often used interchangeably for all seasons and all reasons, there were specific times when “retard” was applied. Whenever anyone did anything that inconvenienced us he or she was a retard.

When anyone did anything the least bit unusual, and we were afraid they would ask us to do it, too, they were gay.

And when our parents told us that certain children had mothers and fathers who were questionable in their politics–well, those kids were Commies.

You could probably survive being a retard, as long as you didn’t get too upset.

You could flee from being gay.

But once you were identified as a Commie–an enemy of the state–a Ruskie–a member of the Soviet Union–a sympathizer with killers–well, it was just a little hard to shake that off.

I remember once when two friends and I refused to listen to a girl who came to school wearing jeans and a t-shirt (which was unheard of at the time) and spouted opinions on such things as ecology, civil rights, and even, God forbid, anti-war. She was especially upset with the war in Viet Nam.

In our freshman year, we had one view of this girl–but by the time we were seniors, the national opinion on civil rights had changed, ecology had been honored by the creation of Earth Day, and because of the Pentagon Papers, the Viet Nam War had been exposed as an unnecessary exercise in futility.

We were uncomfortable about it. The Commie had been proven correct.

So to compensate, we just started calling her gay.

 

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Boycott

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Boycott: (v) to withdraw from commercial or social relations

“Don’t make waves.”

I heard this all the time as a young person. Since I was raised in land-locked Ohio, it was very simple to comply.

It was also made easier by the fact that anyone who stepped beyond the boundaries of acceptability was quickly ostracized from the general flow. Yet issues always arrived which demanded immediate attention, consideration, deliberation and action.

Sometimes we must boycott stupidity. Otherwise, it grows faster than weeds.Dictionary B

Growing up in my town, prejudice was accepted, gossip was honored, chauvinism was the household norm and music was deemed raucous and evil until it gained a great respectability through financial solvency.

I had to make decisions:

What did I think about civil rights?

What did I think about the war in Viet Nam?

What did I think about the notion that “a woman’s place was in the home?”

These were dangerous questions. If they were posed in public, you were viewed as a troublemaker. If you offered an opinion other than the standard fare, you were basically dubbed “anti-American.”

It took me many years to learn how to boycott the inhibiting doctrines and platitudes which permeated my little town.

Today it’s easier for me. Matter of fact, I can suggest several things we should boycott immediately:

  • The word “bitch”
  • “Baby Mama”
  • Disinformation
  • Racial stubbornness
  • Too much violence
  • Chauvinism in all its forms
  • Gender wars
  • Talk of “culture”

For after all, culture is just another way to introduce stereotypes, which invite prejudice.

I wish I had been more brave when I was a “Buckeye Boy.”

But I guess I can do my penance … by learning what to boycott around me today.

 

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