- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I’m not sure how to explain my reticence to speak up.

Perhaps the dark-brown muck oozing its way into the roots of my hair is causing me to doubt my credibility. Perhaps the aluminum foil squares hanging wildly in my face are cutting into my self-confidence.

Or maybe it’s the knowledge that one of the women whose conversation I am overhearing — and whom I dearly wish to admonish — will soon stand over me with a pair of scissors and my hairstyle in her hands.

Whatever the reason, I don’t comment. Instead, I pretend to read a magazine while listening to two women, both mothers of 12-year-old middle school students, lament the difficulties their daughters are having on Facebook.

“I just cannot believe the things these kids write on their walls,” one woman says.

“I know — and in their text messages too,” the other agrees.

Worried about their daughters’ emotional health and about the long-term consequences of rumors, gossip and high-tech teasing, their chatter continues for a solid 15 minutes. It’s a rambling, estrogen-infused diatribe about the indignities of the nasty texts and Facebook comments their daughters endure at the hands of other, meaner middle-schoolers, but also the great parenting strategies they use to make sure their girls do not respond in kind.

“I said, ‘You had better not do that.’”

Masterful. Really.

Oddly, though, at no point in their conversation does either gal question the wisdom or necessity of 12-year-olds participating in social networking sites or of owning and using cell phones to communicate with their 12-year-old posses.

I say “oddly” because this is the first thing that pops into my mind, and the very comment I’d love to blurt out. In fact, what I want to say is, “What hallucinogen are you women taking? Facebook was not created for immature, overemotional, pre-pubescent 12-year-olds.”

Or better, I might say, “Hey, ladies, did either of you read Facebook’s privacy policy that specifically prohibits the participation of children under age 13? Or any newspaper or Web site describing the dangers of children being wired and unsupervised? Because I hate to break it to you, but yours are.”

But again, I don’t say anything because it’s not polite. In fact, commenting on other people’s parenting is considered more than just intrusive or rude; it’s politically incorrect.

The Fort Hood shooting incident taught us the ramifications of political correctness and its impact on our military. For several years, Nidal Hasan made his jihadist political views known to his co-workers and superiors, but since it would be rude to point out the inherent anti-Americanism of his religious and political opinions, the folks who could impede him simply sat there with aluminum foil on their heads.

The result was a “politically correct” tragedy that has changed the lives of more than a dozen families.

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