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Saturday, February 25, 2017
Being A ‘DEPLORABLE’
The ‘perpetually offended generation’ pushes a label to hide its own flaws The Genesis of Despicable Illustration by Greg Groesch Marc Siegel
Who among us can’t at some point relate to what it feels like to be an “irredeemable deplorable,” a term coined in the heat of a campaign but with far greater implications now. Whether we are religious or not, whether we pray or not, whether we are political activists or not, many of us know what it feels like to be mocked to the point of less than “other” status.
Referring to critics of deplorables in his new book on the subject, “The Deplorables Guide,” Todd Starnes (a deplorable himself) fights back with words against the intelligentsia — too many self-pronounced victims of “microaggression,” he writes, suffer from a social disorder whose outbreaks (limited to academic institutions) infect “only members of the perpetually offended generation.” According to Mr. Starnes, deplorable-haters frequently rely on the government dole. “Instead of creating and innovating and fighting and winning and dreaming and doing, many of our fellow countrymen are hunkered down in their government-subsidized dwellings.”
As you can imagine, Mr. Starnes isn’t a big fan of political correctness, but he is a believer in outspokenness and is very willing to offend people if necessary to stay true to his beliefs. “I can’t tell you how many times ministers have told me they refuse to discuss controversial issues inside the church house because it might offend people. I’m not sure where they find that commandment in the Bible, “Thou shalt not offend they congregation.”
Mr. Starnes is patriotic, and through “marching orders” that recur throughout the book, he urges the same of all deplorables. He is proud to be a Southerner, proud to be a religious Christian, and proud to be a community activist. He wants you to become involved In your child’s school, and as a doctor who has helped out in several situations where a child (including my own) was being bullied, I can strongly endorse two of Mr. Starnes’ signature marching orders “Equip your child with the information and convictions to speak up,” and “Befriend the principal.”
It is an important message to stand up to anyone who would put you down and stifle your first amendment rights. Free speech is not about what you say, it is about your right to say it. Donald Trump has clearly tapped into a huge group of Americans who felt they weren’t being heard or represented via the mainstream news media, both before the election and since his victory.
As a Jew whose great grandparents were killed in a pogrom in Eastern Europe at the turn of the last century, I can relate to being treated as less than human. This week, during a visit to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, President Trump said, “we have to fight bigotry, intolerance, and hatred in all its ugly forms.” TMr. rump was reacting to multiple bomb threats to Jewish community centers around the country and he called the recent rise of anti-Semitism “painful,” and “horrible.” His words were inspiring, reassuring, and appropriate.
Mr. Trump has already shown a commitment to improving American-Israeli relations in his brief time as president and in his meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. His healing words this week were welcomed by me and other Jews around the country. Mr. Trump has also been standing up for the underprivileged, for blue collar workers in middle America who quietly go to work every day and come back home bone-tired to their families and don’t enjoy being diminished by anyone, even if they are often too unassuming or unknown to be celebrated.
Being a deplorable is not unique to any group or religion or ethnicity. Being a deplorable is the freedom to be obnoxious or disliked if you feel like it without being punished or ridiculed for it. Deplorables come together and rally against oppression. America and its deplorables have fought against oppressors many times, beginning as colonists against the British. Our country stands for this kind of freedom and we should not need to be reminded of it, though I am glad the new president has reminded us. Debate and discourse is what we are known for here, not political correctness and certainly not condescending pomposity.