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Lamenting the death of common sense

Terry Garlock's picture

Some of you would be itching to report me to the PC authorities if you overheard a conversation with my kids about discrimination. It goes something like this:

“I know everyone else says they don’t, but of course I discriminate. I discriminate based on how people behave, not what they look like, not where they came from, not their accent, not which religion they belong to, not who they love.

“If a man wears his pants well below his waist to imitate prison life, that makes him a fool whether he is black or white. If an able-bodied woman lives her life by taking benefits from government programs when she could be working, that makes her a parasite whether she is Hispanic, or Asian like you. Responsible, self-reliant people come in all flavors, and so do worthless louts who take much and contribute nothing.”

Some parents I know teach their kids adopted from China to think of themselves as Chinese-American, and to be wary of discrimination against that group. Not me. I teach my girls to think of themselves as Americans who happened to be born in China, that they should avoid the foolishness of putting people in groups and not put up with discrimination against anybody.

If I succeed in my efforts — my teenager shows promising signs of common sense — they will inevitably be at odds with their peers, their teachers and their government because common sense is no longer encouraged.

Fighting discrimination long ago left common sense behind. For example, last week the U.S. Dept of Justice ruled that the Arizona school system cannot base the hiring of English teachers on a good command of the English language, because that would discriminate against Hispanic teachers who have a strong accent. You be the judge.

Two weeks ago I told you about our government’s new initiative to promote diversity in the federal workforce even though minorities in that very workforce are already over-represented as compared to the general population.

Whatever is at work here in your name and mine, it seems to have nothing to do with common sense, but then federal programs in practice often have little resemblance to their original stated purpose.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Equal Employment Opportunity) was intended to fight discrimination in hiring, but in practice the regs implemented a preference system that simply changed the groups discriminated for and against.

Apparently, the notion of treating everyone the same while identifying and resolving real cases of discrimination, well, such an idea didn’t get legs because common sense is scarce when regs are being written.

So here we are in the land of reverse discrimination, where equal employment opportunity is not enough, where an assured outcome is sought based on what you look like, not what you are able to do.

The Title VII EEO absurdities gained new traction in the form of the Americans With Disabilities Act, signed into law with pride in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. Who can argue with equal treatment for the disabled? Well, let’s take a look at just one small part of the regs that have governed our workplace lives for a long time.

My anecdote involves an employee, a senior Investigator who drank to excess after hours. He knew it was noticed and that there would be consequences if it ever showed up in the workplace. Eventually, it did, and I pulled him off a case in Boston and returned him to our Pennsylvania office under disciplinary action while I explored with Personnel whether I had enough cause to fire him.

But he beat me to the punch with his own phone call to Personnel claiming he wanted help with an alcohol problem, which immediately put him under the protective ADA umbrella. He was now “disabled by the disease” of alcoholism, needed treatment, and as a victim could not be further disciplined. I knew then that Toto and I were no longer in Kansas.

We now have a generation, including many of you and even doctors you might assume are otherwise capable of independent thought, who now firmly believe the silliness that alcoholism is a disease, not the obvious result of your own misbehavior.

I say that as one who drank too much for a long time many years ago, but even then I never lost sight of being the sole culprit. But ask your neighbor – anyone who doesn’t classify alcoholism as a disease must be a dinosaur. Score one for the terminally sensitive, but at least I’m a dinosaur who can see clearly.

Old Dominion Freight Line, based in Thomasville, N.C., has a policy that drivers with an alcohol problem will be removed from a driving role permanently. Sounds like a good policy to me, but last week the EEOC sued Old Dominion for discrimination against Charles Grams, a driver with a drinking problem who was reassigned to loading dock duties.

EEOC says Old Dominion should not have taken the driver’s keys away from him because he is “disabled by a disease,” they should have paid for counseling for him and monitored his driving to assure safety.

EEOC also says the Old Dominion policy is contrary to ADA law and wants the driver reinstated with back pay plus compensatory and punitive damages. Your government at work.

While in the driver’s seat myself last week, I nearly drove off the road when I heard a public service ad about help for those who suffer from the disease of obesity. Disease? First alcoholism, now these bleeding heart dimwits want to classify obesity as a disease? I’m fat, not stupid.

Is there no limit to the short-sighted damage we do to our own culture in the relentless quest to make everyone feel good? Apparently not, as illustrated by the winner of this week’s absurdity contest.

Hilda Solis, the Obama Administration’s Secretary of Labor, has signed agreements with Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and El Salvador, pledging that their migrant workers in the U.S., whether legal or illegal, will receive the same workplace rights as American citizens. The fact she is Hispanic herself is of little consequence, and she plans to extend her one-woman treaty tour to Asian countries as well.

It’s bad enough that our government refuses to enforce immigration law. It’s bad enough that border states who step in to deal with illegal immigrants are sued and pilloried by our own federal government. It’s bad enough that our current president has ordered his agents to ignore immigration court deportation orders. Now we have a Labor Secretary exceeding her authority to promise U.S. workplace absurd rights, at your expense, for illegals. I should know better by now, but I feel like I fell down the rabbit hole.

Maybe the real fun will start when “undocumented Paco” shows up under the influence on the job one day and is smart enough to contact Personnel pronto to claim ADA status protection even though he’s paid in cash under the table.

I’ve stopped believing such ridiculous things surely cannot happen. If Paco is ever able to pull it off, he’ll probably be smart enough to be thinking about stupid Americans, all those advantages and no common sense.

But then, the rules created in Washington to control our lives have been devoid of common sense for a long, long time.

[Terry Garlock of Peachtree City occasionally contributes a column to The Citizen.]


BHH's picture

but it takes a concerted effort by those with common sense to counteract these absurdities.

And it appears that most people with common sense are pacifists.


Robert W. Morgan's picture

We know Prezbo and his czars didn't start this stupidity in government, but they like it and keep it going. Speaking of which, the new ADA wrinkle is that private pools that have swim meets need to have a handicapped lift at a cost of several thousand dollars. This government action will cause most HOA-owned pools to simply drop swim meets and punish the kids who compete in a wonderful sport. BTW, does Kedron pool have a lift?

Anyhow, on the issue of a common sense reversal coming from the top, does anyone see any of the Republican candidates seriously reducing the size and burden of government by cutting loose some of the things Terry discussed - and many, many others that are just as bad.

Live free or die!

BHH's picture

at the moment.

But whoever gets in there has to have a "damn the torpedoes, full speed a head" attitude in order to get anything good accomplished.

Obama is just keeping up distractions which takes the attention away from all these regulations that are being imposed.

He is doing more harm behind the scenes and under the radar than anyone can imagine.


mudcat's picture

lately that were destined to be very expensive. Doubt he did so willingly, so there must already be some sensible and influential government people up there in Washington that are well-hidden and behind the scenes, but nevertheless with some influence and common sense.

Excellent article. Your daughters, like my sons, are Americans. People with common sense will recognize this. I have grand kids your daughters age. Mr. Garlock, unfortunately , as you point out, too many view Americans through a warped lens that is void of common sense. You have given your daughters wise advice based on common sense. Regarding the regulations that you site regarding alcoholism and obesity. Those are being treated as diseases - and the regs do state that counseling must be offered before loss of job or position. The regs also allow for reassignment while the counseling/help is being administered . This is where citizens can appeal a firing/reassignment - adequate 'help' was not offered/given etc. In the days of 'work', it took precious man hours to document the 'help' given an individual. If the loss of these hours were detrimental to the productivity of an organization, then the 'dance of the lemons' began. (The constant reassignment of those who were not getting the job done.). As you have pointed out - incompetents come in all colors and religions.) The realistic implementation of regulations needs to be looked at. The 'dance of the lemons' hurts the productivity of any organization. I did win a case when even after attending AA for two years, the employee came to work under the influence. Fired on the spot.

Let's see what happens after the 'Thursday' speech by the President of the United States. It's rumored that his speech will include what 'Republicans' have been calling for. Balanced cutting, revenue, closing tax loopholes, etc., etc., etc. JOB CREATION!! We'll see.

NUK_1's picture

The three free trade agreements(South Korea, Panama, Colombia) already agreed upon that have been sitting on Obama's desk since the day he took office....they'll wholeheartedly vote for all 3 of those as they've been hollering for Obama to send these agreements to Congress for 2 years. The problem is that some in organized labor wants a bunch of $$$ for worker training in the US and the AFL-CIO is being paternalistic/dictatorial about what it expects the other 3 countries to do within their own countries. Other very leftist fringe groups think that Colombia and Panama are semi-rogue countries and the US shouldn't do business with them. The UAW is showing they aren't stupid like that and really want the SKorea deal because it will open up the South Korean automobile market some. Repubs and TP will go all-in for this.

As far as the "shovel-ready" infrastructure project big bucks yet again? No chance.
Block grants to states so they don't have to cut their own spending and slow down layoffs of teachers and other govt employees? No chance in hell.

Extending payroll tax decrease? Sure, they'll vote yes on that.
Giveaways to businesses that hire the presently unemployed? Maybe.
Extending unemployment benefits yet again? Really doubtful, and it has nothing to do with creating jobs anyway.

Obama will campaign and whine about the meanies in Congress not approving the majority of his plan, but that's life. There is some talk that this time Obama and company might actually put his "plan" into writing for consideration which would be interesting, but I don't see it making much difference.

Most Repubs will simply agree to the easy parts like free trade and payroll taxes, and no to the rest. Romney will campaign that his just released jobs plan is much better. The rest will simply go along saying "anything is better than Obama and the Dems' plans." Obama will campaign against Congress and the "DC establishment" he's 100% part of, despite the fact that the 2 years of Obama and Dem control of all 3 branches seemed to be a huge loser with the voting public as evidenced by the election results from top to bottom in Nov.2010.

It will be interesting to revisit this in February.

Observerofu's picture

The Disease of Political Correctness should be addressed, as well. It's the real problem.

"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt"
-Samuel Adams
Illegitimi non carborundum

suggarfoot's picture

Once again, I so agree with you. The things we have in common should be what people talk about. Not diversity or political correctness. We should be one, and nurture that.

suggarfoot's picture

"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all.

Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance.

The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English- Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian- Americans, or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality than with the other citizens of the American Republic.
The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country. The man who calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American. "

Teddy Roosevelt

Addressing the Knights of Columbus in New York City
12 October 1915

What we as Americans are overcoming is what we define as 'race'. The hyphenated Americans Teddy Roosevelt referred to have all been classified as 'white'. The hyphenated American that was not in TR's sharing was African-American. Those with that hyphenation are called 'black'. In 1915, there was an apartheid system in th US based on skin color. We have come a long way since 1915, when a hyphenated black man was not even in the discussion. When we as Americans move beyond our self imposed hyphenation by having not only to identify ourselves as American citizens, but also identify our race, we will be a stronger - more united nation.

kevink's picture

Loving the cool weather too. Now, I don't want to excite you, but I was watching the GOP debate tonight. Michele Bachmann was talking about her "lovely" Florida meetings with Cuban-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. Sugarrfoot, I wonder if anyone has bothered to tell Michele Bachmann that "There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. The nerve of that woman! I wonder where her true allegiance lies.

Vote Mytmite in 2012!

BHH's picture

Obama way back then?

It just goes to show that the problem existed even when skin color was not a factor.

Discrimination has run the gamut in this country.

Pride of life is a basic sin that most everyone suffers from at some time or another.

Humility is a virtue well worth pursuing.


SPQR's picture

We have been undermined by a school system that for the last 50-60 years has failed to teach critical thinking. Thus we now have a preponderance of folks who accept 2+2=3 if its a government program. Tragically, I just don't see it changing. If you teach your children how to think for themselves they should know they will be perceived as deviates.

Mike King's picture

Knowing you to be of above average intelligence, it seems to me that you have neglected to mention that our government's lack of common sense is intentional. After all, should those government employees that are viewed marginal(we both know that may well be as high as twenty percent)are fired we would add as much as two percentage points to the unemployment rate. No Presidential Administration, with the exception of FDR, has been capable of holding office through an election with such dire numbers.

Most politicians are elected because they simply are unemployable in the private sector. Take for example Maxine Waters and Mitch McConnell, can you name one firm not affiliated with government that would hire them? Their plastic surgery and cosmetics would bankrupt most private health plans. Does anyone in this Congressional District believe that Lynn Westmoreland could contribute to the bottom line? You get my point.

I'm patiently waiting for a ruling(Americans with Disabilities Act) on why we haven't made an allowance for blind truck drivers to operate on federally funded interstates. After all, if they are allowed to do so while being drunk (disabled), why not blind?

suggarfoot's picture

I have to agree.. I have seen some skanks in governement that couldn't exist any place else.

I feel a little different about getting rid of the 20% in governement that are no good. You could probably replace them with 10% and get a better job done.

I do feel Mr O could make a name for himself at this time if he cleaned house. There are plenty of good people walking the streets now that could do a much better job if given the opportunity. Just cause you got a job and do it half a$$, by no means should you keep it!

It would set an example for private companies as well. If there was ever a time to get rid of the dead is the time to unload it!

The public would feel better knowing they aren't supporting a bunch of slackards. I know I particularly cringe when I have to call a gov agency for anything. I know that after waiting forever for them to quit filing their nails and answer the phone, I'm gonna get a rude person, but on top of that, I'm gonna get one that doesn't have job knowledge or the willingness to help me.

suggarfoot's picture

This lady says it all.

"September 12, 2009
Why I am no longer an African American

The Obama election was a milestone in our country's history. Blacks danced in the streets, talked about feelings of finally being able to feel at home in America, and cried for the cameras. But as a black woman in the Age of Obama, I don't see anything that reveals that Blacks in America have anything to celebrate. I grew up in the Deep South during the 1960's, so I'm quite aware of the issues our country faced at that time. Blacks mourned the deaths of two of their most profound leaders, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This was a time when those who represented the leadership of Black Americans promoted a longing for the "Motherland."

There was propaganda promoting African ancestry, even the reclassifying of Blacks as African Americans. The establishment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 barred many of the practices of racial discrimination and Blacks began to believe that achieving the dreams that Dr. King hailed in his speeches was possible. Black leaders such as Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael promoted the new image of the African American through the Nation of Islam and the Black Power Movement. Kimani Nehusi, a lecturer at the University of East London, writes,
Many Rastafari use the term ‘repatriation' to express this longing for Africa, and a determination to return physically. However, when we examine the practice of Rastafari, we can see that the idea of a return to Africa goes beyond just repatriation, the physical resettlement on the continent of our ancestors. It also means a return to the values, culture and history of Africa, and a particular Africentric way of seeing the world. Many of these ideas have also been expressed in the work of Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Kwame Nkrumah and other leading fighters for the rights of Africans at home and abroad.

Fast-forward to November 4, 2008 -- America elects her first African American President. Now, one would think that all has finally been laid to rest and America has once and for all times achieved racial reconciliation. But it appears that this election has resulted in even more racial division. After observing the attitudes of African Americans and gaining an understanding of the drive to classify Black Americans as African Americans, I must now say that I can no longer identify myself as an African American because this classification holds several proclamations and principles to which I no longer identify with as a citizen of this country. This title holds anti-American sentiments to which I cannot embrace. I have never held to the viewpoints of those from the Black Power Movement, Nation of Islam, or the Black Nationalist Movement. I don't think about Africa, or what it would be like to live there, as I have always been content living in the country of my birth, where I grew up in a small town in Louisiana.

The classification of me as an African American says that although I live in America, my loyalty and allegiance are to Africa. My loyalty and my allegiance are first to Jesus Christ who is the Lord and Savior of my life. These same principles were those held by many of our Founding Fathers who held high regard for God's protection and leadership over this nation. These are the principles that are common to the foundation of Conservatism. As I think of my viewpoints politically, everything I believe about this country is wrapped up in my Conservative views. The tenets of the Declaration of Independence were set forth to bring equality and well being to all Americans. And those are the principles that I embrace as an American.

It is my faith that drives everything that I believe and hold as dear. The Founders of this country envisioned a nation that would secure the God-given rights of its citizens. The desire that every citizen born in this country would not suffer the oppression they endured under England's rule, set as the backdrop for guaranteeing freedom for all Americans. The Founders especially desired that our nation would be one ruled and protected by our Creator God. Many beg to differ, but the Founders' insistence that God guide the ways of this nation is apparent in their acknowledgement of His hand in the creation of life, the rights of life, and the prosperity of life.

It is these principles that make me proud to just be an American. So, I select for my identity the title of American. The radical ideologies of Blacks involved in the Civil Rights Movement gave birth to attitudes like those of Professor Henry Lewis Gates Jr., the Harvard professor who became livid when his identity was questioned by a white police officer. Those who embrace Professor Gate's sentiments and attitudes today are those who still believe that America owes something to the Black population for the horrors of slavery. They are the ones that continue to stoke the fires of racial hatred toward other races and promote the continued attitude of self pity within the Black community. They also hold to the teachings of Black Liberation Theology, a school of thought that I never knew existed until the presidential campaign of then Senator Barak Obama. The teachings of Black Liberation Theology run counter to the American way. They also are counterproductive to the love I hold for my country.

I began to think about how we all got to be categorized in the first place. I have not noticed on any forms that the category of American is an option to be selected. Is this division amongst us perpetrated by our very own government? It is obvious that the inspiration for the classification of African American has nothing to do with those born of African descent. It is a radical group of Black Americans who hold to the anti-American views of those shared by Jeremiah Wright, Professor Gates, Jesse Jackson, President Obama and many others who came out of the radical Civil Rights Movement.

Because of these things, I now part ways with the classification of African American because I hold no allegiance to Africa. I embrace the American qualities of freedom to worship, freedom to have my own opinion, freedom to express my views, freedom to achieve whatever it is God has created me to achieve. I hope that I will find others like me who are willing to break ties with the things that divide us, and embrace the timeless principles that have made this country the greatest nation on earth. That is why, when the next U.S. Census occurs, I will be making a new category just for me, the classification of being an American.

Mary Baker is a married mother of seven children, a stay-at-home mom who loves writing, and enjoys home-schooling her eight-year-old daughter, Krystal. Mary lives in Houston, Texas.

It just so happens that court cases aren't decided upon "common sense," it is too common and too variable. It is then an opinion of someone.

Parents need the common sense with children, not the law.

Maybe the Constitution should have had only three words: "Use Common Sense."

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