“Politically correct” as a rhetorical gambit

Back in 1994, journalist Fintan O’Toole wrote the following in The Irish Times:

We have now reached the point where every goon with a grievance, every bitter bigot, merely has to place the prefix, “I know this is not politically correct but . . .” in front of the usual string of insults in order to be not just safe from criticism but actually a card, a lad, even a hero. Conversely, to talk about poverty and inequality, to draw attention to the reality that discrimination and injustice are still facts of life, is to commit the new sin of political correctness……… Anti-PC has become the latest cover for creeps. It is a godsend for every sort of curmudgeon or crank, from the fascistic to the merely smug.

Hate blacks? Attack positive discrimination – everyone will know the codes. Want to keep Europe white? Attack multiculturalism. Fed up with the girlies making noise? Tired of listening to whining about unemployment when your personal economy is booming? Haul out political correctness and you don’t even have to say what’s on your mind.

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The glowworm caves of Waitomo

Many years ago, I visited the glowworm caves in Waitomo, New Zealand, a wondrous place where these tiny creatures festoon the roofs of the caves and give out tiny points of light that make them look like the night sky. It is remarkably beautiful. A young Canadian couple moved to New Zealand and have gone to extraordinary lengths to take time-lapse photographs of it.
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Interesting elections in other countries

We should not ignore the fact that there are other interesting elections going on in the world. In the UK, attention has been focused on the surprising rise of Jeremy Corbyn as the possible next leader of the Labour Party when party members vote on September 12. Many comparisons have been drawn between him and Bernie Sanders, both being older men who have taken consistent progressive stances all their lives and suddenly find themselves in the spotlight, and shaking up the party establishments that have in the recent past favored bland, center-right, corporate-friendly politicians.
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The escalating Republican war on immigrants

Extremist rhetoric about what should be done about undocumented immigrants in the US seems to have become the norm in the Republican primary race with all the candidates vying to not be seen as ‘soft’ on the issue. For a long time they had managed to do their usual tap dance of keeping their proposals and language vague and woolly enough to appease their base while not totally alienating the Hispanic vote. That was until Donald Trump blew up that strategy.
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Positive steps in Ferguson

The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August of last year was one of the major flashpoints involving aggressive policing that triggered a closer examination of the abuses that arise when police are used as revenue generators, with people being stopped, arrested, fined, losing their licenses, and jailed for minor violations. These can have devastating effects, especially for poorer people who may not have the ready resources to immediately pay whatever initial fine is levied on them, and end up in a nightmare of escalating penalties
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Family disagreements over same-sex marriage

Over the weekend I attended a wedding in Toronto and while there took the opportunity to visit a cousin of mine, his wife, and their adult son. It was an enjoyable visit and we discussed various topics, especially around the elections that are being held on October 19 in Canada and the permanent elections that are the feature of the US. They of course wanted to discuss the Donald Trump phenomenon.
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