Two news articles caught my eye this week that disturbed me greatly; well, disturbed me even more than my customary level of disturbment (disturbage?). They were stories that, if representative of current trends in America, signal the end of life here as we know it. One was about a class action lawsuit filed against Starbucks alleging the coffee behemoth routinely “underfills lattes”. The second was a story about students at Emory University who were left “scared and threatened” after some evil soul scrawled a message in chalk on the sidewalk.
The message? “Trump 2016”.
Let's address the latter first. After this blatant assault on the sense and sensibilities of Emory's clearly senseless, university officials arranged meetings with those left frightened and offended by the message. Student organizations “offered counselling to anyone who may have been impacted by what they had seen”. All because the Trump graffiti “invaded their safe place” and left some students scared and afraid. And to make it all better, the pro-Trump messages were washed away and replaced by “messages of anti-hate”.
Emory President Jim Wagner addressed the issue in a letter made available to the Associated Press. He said students confronted by Trump’s name in chalk “heard a message about values regarding diversity and respect that clash with Emory’s own”, and outlined “four steps that administrators plan to take in order to address the issues raised by the protesters who said they were in pain in a campus-wide email.” He suggested “immediate refinements to certain policies and procedural deficiencies; regular and structured opportunities for difficult dialogues; a formal process to institutionalize identification, review and addressing of social justice opportunities and issues; and commitment to an annual retreat to renew [their] efforts.”
But my favorite part was this: “Wagner added that the Freedom of Expression Committee is meeting to address whether the person or people responsible for the chalking were in compliance with Emory's policy.”
All because someone scrawled pro-Trump messages on the sidewalk. Are you flippin' kidding me??? And they actually have a committee to manage freedom of expression? Do they even know what freedom of expression is?? I've done a fair amount of committee work over the years, and believe me, a committee is the absolute antithesis to freedom of any kind. Here is a convenient clue – if you have a committee dedicated to defining “freedom of expression”, you no longer have freedom of expression. Stop the world. I want to get off.
Allow me to put this into some perspective.
On June 6, 1944, 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. These were largely 18 and 19-year-old men embarking on D-Day, the largest invasion in history, designed to stop a Nazi madman and free an entire continent from his grasp. Many of them were facing certain death, and they knew it. Yet they went anyway.
Today, a mere 72 years later, people of the same age require counseling and consoling because someone scrawled a message in chalk in their “safe place” and made them wet their little pants. What a bunch of gutless losers.
Which brings us to the former of the two news items I referenced: the class action suit against Starbucks for allegedly underfilling lattes. Two California residents claim that Starbucks “knowingly and systematically” serves customers drinks that are falsely advertised as being larger than they are. The suit is apparently centered around the size of the cups, which are available in 12-ounce, 16-ounce, and 20-ounce sizes. However, those dastardly devils at Starbucks apparently have decreed in their service standards that lattes should be filled to “one-quarter inch below cup rim”. This means, according to the complaint, that “By underfilling its lattes, thereby shortchanging its customers, Starbucks has saved countless millions of dollars in the cost of goods sold and was unjustly enriched by taking payment for more product than it delivers.”
Pulleeeeeeaaassseeee. Is this the most important thing we have to worry about today? Inadequately portioned lattes? Whatever happened to simply voting with your feet? If you don't like a product; if you think it is not a good value, DON'T BUY IT. You know, it's a “caveat emptor when caffeinate empty” sort of thing.
Alas, that no longer appears to be the America we know. Today we are the land of the perpetually offended, all simply waiting our turn at assured victimhood. Then, class action lawyers can swoop in to defend us, extorting millions from the offending party. They of course will keep most of the largesse, while those of us they “represent” will get a free drink coupon to salve the deep and pulsing wounds we carry.
I honestly don't know where we go from here. In the continuing wussification of America it seems all personal responsibility has gone out the window. Some of today's students will get their biggest life lessons when they step out of their “safe place” to become the leaders of tomorrow. Here is a clue for them: Sniveling does not inspire. Whining is not a leadership trait. Neither is wetting your pants over the simplest potential infraction. Grow up. Get a pair. Your life latte may not have all the product you expected. Prepare to actually lead, for God's sake. This world has bigger issues than “Trump 2016” scrawled in chalk on the sidewalk. You'll need to be up to the task at hand.
Thanks for indulging me during this off topic rant. Sorry if I offended. If I did, change your diaper and go to your safe place. Counselors will be available to help, I am sure.