The world has changed. It is certainly taking some people a long time to catch up. You'll have to forgive them a little. There did not used to be anything wrong with saying any of these.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution in the Bill of Rights reads.
"A well regulated militia being neccessary to the security of a free state, the right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
At one point, "You have the right to bear armss." was merely stated in schools with out a whole lot of further discussion. Unbelievable, it was not an assault rifle that really kndled the national debate on this one.
The main protagonist ended up looking a lot like this.
On March 30th, 1981, John Hinkley Jr. used a gun similiar to this to shoot the President Ronald Reagan. Hinkley reportedly did this to impress actress Jodie Foster. Hinkley was not the most stable mentally and still is confined to a mental institution.
Yeah, go figure right? It was not even really the shooting of Reagan that kicked off the modern gun control debate. This shooting victim that really set off the firestorm was James Brady, or more specifically his wife Sarah Brady. The Bradys took the tact that the main issue was that Hinkley had the gun in the first place. They argued that if there had been a waiting period for Hinkley to buy the gun, then some one might have figured out his penchant for wearing tin foil hats and watching the cinema of Marty Scorsese. In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the 'Brady Bill" required the five day wait. Of course, Hinkley still could have gone to a gun show and purchased the same gun legally.
"But I'm angry now..."
The discussion has developed over the last 30 years or so to where every time there is any kind of shooting, the first thing that is discussed is gun control. This leads to Facebook statuses that have dozens of comments like ...
"You have the right to bear arms."
"Can anyone tell me why a person would need an assualt rifle?"
All the meanwhile, shooters have not seemed to get any less crazy.
People have simply learned that this previous five minute lesson about the Constitution now opens up discussion, debate, raging, and a whole can of worms that falls into the category in many people's minds of 'best to avoid.'
At one point and time, this actually used to be a biology lesson. Now, merely uttering the phrase starts a flame war that you could potentially need Iceman from the X-Men to put out. After the Roe V Wade decision, there was an immeadiate out cry to over turn the decision. There was not even really a debate. People were legitimately horrified that the option for abortion would even exist. No one then, or now for that matter, was going to walk around saying
"You know what, I support killing babies."
The morally wrenching part of the whole thing is that were people who legitimately did support the practice of abortion being legal.
So, in the minds of supporters, the nature of the debate had to change. And change, it did. Basic things that everyone thought they believed all of the sudden were thrown into question. No one was really actually supporting abortion as a practice. As a matter of fact, they agreed that every abortion was in fact a horrific tragedy which hopefully should be prevented. However, they were not in favor of taking away the option of abortion. They merely wanted to maintain the sanctity of the right of choice. The right to choose was a lot more open for debate than say "killing babies" and by the way as a biological and philosophical debate, who knew when exactly life began anyway?
So, "Life begins at conception" stopped being some sort of accepted fact and was all of the sudden a political football. It was no longer "Could the baby live." The debate became "When is the fetus viable."
Still, post "Life begins at conception" as a facebook status and watch you comments go up, your friends go down, and a swell of scientific information telling you would how misinformed you would actually appear to be in some eyes.
In a world where kids standing up in the back of parent's car seats to look over their shoulders as they drove was commonplace, they phrase "Native American" was either not dreamed up yet or had not really spread outside of certain radical groups. An early dose of political correctness starteded to hit elementary schools around the late 1970s or early 1980s. Teachers started to say things that sounded positively ridiculous to even first graders like
"Well you call them Indians, but if you would like to call them what they prefer then we will use the term Native Americans."
Which, when you actually think about it, is kind of a funny preference. Don't call us what Christopher Columbus called us mistakenly when he arrived, we would much prefer that you sub reference the name of the land as it was named by fellow explorer and mapmaker Amerigo Vespucci.
Of course, this would be the same era in which Columbus Day was celebrated with parades and it was simply an accepted history lesson that Chritopher Columbus discovered America. That would be another sentence that you would not be able to type without starting a debate over the atrocities of Itallians working for Spaniards in the 15th century as well as the subjugation of entire native peoples.
I cannot imagine kids then or now for that matter playing a game of Cowboys and Native Americans. As a matter of fact (even though there were none in my grade school) an actual Indian or Native American would have probably preferred to be called an "Apache" or "Cherokee" or "Seminole" or "Osage." Keep in mind that this was a different time as well with seemingly no concern at all whether there should be Indian names associated with professional or college sports teams.
"Ray, if someone asks if you are a God, you say yes..."
The existence or non existence of a God as a discussion is almost as old as man himself. There have been well documented wars fought over differences in religious beliefs as well as violent reactions that continue to this day about issues to do with religion. However, in todays day and age, simple proclamations of faith can be met with more trouble than they should be seemingly worth. "I believe in God" as a facebook status or some other discussion in a public forum can lead to a whole slew of comments from a growing atheist movement, to people who have discovered pagan religion, to people who will comment something down the lines of 'Praise Allah' when the implication of the original post was clearly Judeo-Christian in nature. Keep in mind that not so very long ago, there was a time when if you denounced the existence of God, you just might be able to make a living as a professional atheist.
Of course, this is not in any way the worst time to have to make statements of faith in public forums. Times have actually been worse.
These days though, there is a part of the brain that says "You know what, to keep the peace, it might be better to just go ahead and avoid that subject altogether."
When they decided to bring the centennial Olympic Games to the American South, there was actually a move to hand out fliers to Americans about how to obsetve customs of Olympic athletes and tourists as they came in for the Olympic games. One would think on some level that there should have been fliers at the Delta hub of Atlanta's airport handed out on the proper way to order sweet tea and fried chicken as the passports were stamped. There was absolutely a time in this country (not so long ago) when saying that English was the language of the United States of America was not a controversial statement in the slightest. Now? It is pretty much racism to even insinuate that America might have a national language or to have any type of English language requirement at all.
Now? Seemingly the sole purpose of such a statement would be to start an argument or bait people into a discussion. It is seen as an immeadiate harbringer of some one who is racist, isolationist, and who should be overall shunned by polite society. Even people that just happen to believe that everyone should probably speak the same language in the same country would not dream of saying that out loud or posting it as a status on Facebook generally because they just do not want the 'trouble' associated with all of it.
Believe it or not, not so very long ago, this not only wasn't hate speech - it was just kind of an accepted fact. It was part of daily conversation and even repeated in wedding ceremonies.
As a matter of fact, there was not a blessed thing wrong with saying it all. Of course, now making such a statement is just opening yourself up for controversy, losing a crown in a beauty pageant, or boycotts of your business. As a matter of fact, people that believe the statement have learned to stop saying it publically for fear of reprisal. They must see it as a curious end of the life coda when even in 1996, there was a law passed (which is now seen with some great level of scorn) and signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton that said exactly the same thing. Clinton also signed off on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" as well as a compromise measure.
On the one side, you have passionate belief in marriage equality. On the other side, you have the emergence (as always) of people that 'don't want to start trouble.' So, regardless of beliefs, most of these phrases are being phased out unless the specific purpose is to start an argument or a conversation. Just trust, that at one point and time, they were simply normal parts of speech and the people who said them did not mean or even know that there could be harm by saying them. Again, the world has changed.