Inspection- Political Correctness Cuts Both Ways

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by Ken Carman

 We have lived near the unincorporated village of Scottsboro since 1980. At the intersection of Ashland City Highway and Old Hickory there was not much more than a very small grocery store when we first moved here. Then Bradford Lewis built Lewis Country Store; combination truck stop and InspectionCracker Barrel-like. We’ve enjoyed the to go breakfast sandwiches and the gun collection, which included a Colt revolver rifle: one of my collection goals. The gas prices compete well with local Nashville prices, and there’s often music being played on the front porch.
 Mr. Lewis is, apparently, more the right side of the political scale. He also just lost his contract with Shell. The reason why says a lot about how we argue politics these days, and attitudes.
 Mr. Lewis loves to put up humorous signs on his highway advertising sign. At first he was just listing the specials, then he started to add his rather quirky sense of humor. OK, about 50% of the jokes I didn’t get, but having been rightfully accused of having a quirky sense of humor too, I can appreciate the effort. But, as of late, he’s gotten himself in a bit of a rift by posting accusations about Hillary, comments like “Trump that “b%$#ch;” minus the “%$#,” along with somewhat contradictory, vague, religious comments, like why he decided to close on Sundays. Really, respecting faith includes calling people “c%$ts?”
 Oh, wait, I remember the bible quote when Jesus said, “F&%K that c%$t Pilate,” along with accusations about his sexual perversions. I think there’s a billboard Jesus paid for that still stands atop Calvary that says that. On the other side of the billboard is that ad Jesus did while carrying the cross, “Use Crest toothpaste, now made with wine turned into water.”
 And if you have no idea I’m joking you might as well stop reading right now.
 Regular readers might be surprised, but I believe Mr. Lewis has every right to post whatever he wants on the sign. If he wanted to put up, “Jews are vermin,” he has that right, or “All Muslims are blood thirsty heathens.” However, Mr. Lewis, if you read this, I would also support the right of a business person who wanted to put up a sign the says, “Jesus SUCKS,” or “Hail Satan.” Accusations about Trump? Well, the same rule applies.
 I shop at Lewis Country Store because we like the food, great prices and great atmosphere, not because Mr. Lewis and I agree on any specific issue, or any issue for that matter. Indeed, from reading the signs, I suspect we agree on little. But that’s OK.
 I had to chuckle the other day. The Shell sign is down now and each pump had a sign saying they refused to be intimidated and lost the contract because, “We refused to take down our sign.” This is where I get off the Bradford Lewis bandwagon.
 No, Mr. Lewis, it’s not just your political opinions, it’s the obscenity, the name calling and when a customer who buys Shell products called you basically told her to go F herself. Yes, you had every right to do that. She also had every right to complain. Parents have a right to complain if they don’t want to have to explain some of the content. As you have stated, last you checked we’re supposed to have free speech, right?
 Shell equally has every right to consider their public image and how you might be hurting it. They all had a right to do what they did. Why is it it seems you think only you have “rights” here?
 Demanding political correctness isn’t only practiced by the left. You insisting people have no right to react, Shell has no right to react, is demanding political correctness from them. If you truly think the public, and a corporation, shouldn’t react, should just shut up, shouldn’t refuse to shop, shouldn’t decide not to shop, shouldn’t complain, shouldn’t counter your abusive comments to F off, then it is apparent that you think you should have the sole right to set rhetorical standards the whole universe must comply with. Um, that’s political correctness on steroids.
 I have been in your store many times, Mr. Lewis. I have seen where you have posted on your door that certain people are not allowed in the doors. I support your right to do that. If someone is being disruptive, or untrustworthy, it is the right of any businessperson to react to that. Essentially, Shell has done the same. You’re not welcome to use their brand anymore. That’s not “intimidation.” It’s a business decision, just like banning people from your store.
 I have been in business myself since 1984, full time since 88. People take what what we do wrong, sometimes. And, intentionally or not, when we use words considered offensive, offense might be taken. People have no right not to be offended, but they certainly have a right to be offended, and react; within reason. This is all part of the freedoms we are supposed to have. To insist only you have the right to express outrage at what’s happening, as you have with Hillary, and seem to have with those who complain about other content, is beyond just political correctness. It would be the behavior of one who is acting like they, to paraphrase George W., “hate our freedoms.”

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Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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