We have all had the proverbial rug dragged out from underneath us recently.
Something we didn’t see coming that blindsided us.
A part of our Canadian culture and institution is no more.
I am talking about Don Cherry.
It all began with a glib commentary on a recent Saturday night, during the weekly Coach’s Corner.
A Saturday night tradition that many of us hockey watchers look forward to, if only to see what Don has to say about this or that.
As he was speaking about an issue so near and dear to his heart, Remembrance Day, he used a phrase that he wishes he could exchange for another, no doubt.
It is ironic that he was asking more people to wear a poppy, to support the veterans that fought and died for our country.
But his choice of words was, to some, offensive.
He said “you people”, when we know he surely meant “everyone”.
His choice of words alluded to immigrants to this great country.
When we are mostly all immigrants, really.
And being a man of his age, 85, he comes from an era that really knows no filter; knows no tact or sensitivity when it comes to saying what he feels.
I know from my own experience with parents of that age and era, that they often speak before they think, perhaps feeling that they have earned that right, by living so long, or perhaps not really caring about being politically sensitive.
Or politically correct.
Because that is a fairly new thing, to be “PC”.
We are in an era that one really has to think before one speaks.
Think of Roseanne Barr, and the very quick firing she was given over her remarks which were very un-PC.
Nothing is tolerated anymore, and perhaps that is good thing.
The #MeToo movement has caused overly touchy feely people to rethink their actions.
And righly so.
We no longer have to endure, to be silent.
And we have social media to thank for that.
The fallout from the Don Cherry incident was swift.
The next day, his co-host, Ron McLean, was apologizing in public.
Another talk show host who spoke out in support of Don Cherry’s comments was forced to apologize, or perhaps lose her job.
We are walking on egg shells these days, as we go to great lengths not to offend anyone.
Lest the rug be pulled out from under us.
And it is all very wonderful that we are so much more sensitive and caring about other people’s feelings.
So much more tolerant of everyone who is different, who does not share our political views, our culture, our country of origin, our faith, our sexuality.
Live and let live, to put it another way.
But back to Don Cherry.
He clearly struck a nerve with the “you people” who perhaps weren’t wearing poppies.
When he clearly meant “everyone” who doesn’t wear poppies – would we “all” have been so offended?
Is it possible that our sensitivity can go too far?
Can we lean too much in the direction of self-rightousness?
When people call out celebrities who wear outfits that showcase a culture, calling it “cultural appropriation”, instead of the celebration of that culture that it is, I think we have gone too far.
Have we become so thin-skinned?
Have we become so intolerant of intolerance that we have turned the tables in the other direction?
There must be a happy medium.
A balance to be struck in the middle that doesn’t overreact to perhaps a slight slight.
Yes Don Cherry has always been an outspoken and shoot-from-the-hip type personality, and that is why he is hired to do what he does best – be glib and out there and say what he feels and thinks – sometimes without a filter.
And to me, that is another type of censorship to be so overly sensitive about perhaps minor outspokenness.
Perhaps he did touch a nerve with the “you people” who weren’t wearing poppies.
That would really be “everyone” who wasn’t wearing a poppy.
Perhaps the guilt from not buying a poppy from a veteran, which was Don’s point all along, was the real nerve that was struck.