When is political-correctness too much?

“He runs like a girl.” “I’ll have my girl look into that.” “Girls can’t do that!” Gender-specific terms have been cut from everyday conversation, and for good reason. The phrases above make me cringe, as I hope they do you. Terms like that are very offensive to the general population and are very stereotypical. When we hear terms that segregate or stereotype people, it is best to note them and encourage people to stop using them. However, some terms that get banned in today’s culture are not offensive and banning them seems like a waste of time and effort. The governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, recently dictated that the tree that stands in the lawn of the Capitol building be called a “holiday tree” instead of a “Christmas tree”. Excuse me? Since when did a tree need to be all-inclusive?

I partially understood when retailers were pressured to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. There are other winter holidays besides Christmas. Notice I said partially, because I still think that a company is revoking freedom of speech. I hate it when a business tells employees what they can and cannot say based on “political correctness”. And I am glad that many companies still allow their employees to make a personal choice on how they greet their customers. “Merry Christmas” was never and will never be an offensive term.

Yet, the twisted minds of politicians keep taking more and more innocent phrases and turning them into “offensive” ones. Basically, it seems that any reference to Christmas the word is being cut out of common speech. This tradition of limiting freedom of speech continues with the removal of the phrase “Christmas tree”.

The Beshear administration claims that they, too, want to be all-inclusive. So, the solution to their intolerance is to call Christmas trees “holiday trees”. There are other winter holidays besides Christmas, like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and New Year’s, according to the administration. And, don’t you know, everyone celebrates those holidays with trees. Yeah, I was unaware of that. But, apparently this happens all the time in Kentucky. So, they felt a need to change the name of Christmas tree to holiday tree. That makes all those people who celebrate New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah with trees feel so much better!

I want to know who was complaining about trees that we had to change their name? I would like to find the person or group that was offended with the name of a tree. They deserve the intolerance label, not the trees. Who exactly was this ban made for? Because I know it was not for the general population of Kentucky. In fact, most are outraged at this decision. So, it seems that, yet again, politicians are living in their own little world and not representing the people they claim to.

This ban appears to have targeted a specific group of Kentuckians as well. Guess what, it was the Christians again! Not that the secular version of Christmas has anything to do with Christian ideology anymore. Christmas trees are a purely pagan symbol.

What other phrases will be cut next? Will we now have to start calling our own trees “holiday trees”? How else can we restrict the word “Christmas”? I think I reserve the right to call Christmas trees, Christmas trees. They were never and never will be holiday trees.

Beyond the word Christmas, what else will politicians deem “politically incorrect”? What will it take to wake us from our dose of believing that the government is always right and that chipping away freedom of speech does us all a little good? Freedom of speech has suffered too much in recent years. This is just another example of politicians overreacting to a perceived, though unreal, threat.

I think there are other ways to waste Governor Beshear’s time and effort besides renaming trees. Does his administration really need to spend this much time and effort on this issue? Especially when it does no one any good. Cut the politically correct crap! This ban is offensive, not the trees.

Colleen is a graduate student.