Our Lady of the Perpetually Offended

By Elizabeth Ochoa

Many of us fondly remember the old Saturday Night Live skit of “the Church Lady,” performed by Dana Carvey in drag. We laughed at the arrogance, smugness and zealotry of the fundamentalist church lady dispensing her judgmental criticism of those whose lifestyle, behaviors and speech she disagreed with and roundly condemned as the work of Satan.

Those of us who have lived in small towns have known exactly that type of person–who wanted to assert their will and beliefs on everyone else in town, and anyone who deviated in any way would be viciously labeled, gossiped about, shamed and shunned, causing fear and misery to others while gloating in their power to control others. Shirley Jackson brought this psychological phenomenon to light in her chilling short story The Lottery. (After reading it, one cannot help being reminded of Christ’s admonition “thou who has not sinned, cast the first stone.”)

Today we have a new version of that church lady, the woke mob of “Social Justice warriors,” who are so steadfast and strident in their self-righteous beliefs that they go on social media to bully, intimidate, and destroy people’s entire lives because of something “offensive” someone may have said, even 10 or 20 years prior. Those who do not ascribe to their personal beliefs and viewpoints are to be destroyed– even attacked physically in the streets and terrorized at their homes, businesses and public places–all justified in the name of the social justice mob’s self-righteousness. Childish and hyperbolic name-calling and labeling allows them to hate even more (nazi, fascists, ad nauseum). They justify their Orwellian thought-policing and perpetually offended mindset with slogans like “hate speech is violence” (yet their own hate-filled speech is somehow acceptable).

 Any of us who have ever been around someone who is thin-skinned, overreactive and easily offended knows that it is like walking on eggshells — never knowing what seemingly innocuous statement or behavior is going to “trigger” them. What this creates is a culture where we all walk on eggshells, afraid to say anything to anyone, because it might offend somebody, and therefore might also suffer the bullying, shaming and possibly destruction of our entire lives and livelihood, ultimately creating an entire nation of frightened sheeple afraid to speak out and where censorship reigns… is this really what we want?

This psychological Reign of Terror will come back to bite those who join with the mob when every word ever spoken or thought has serious real-life repercussions. Those who point fingers end up with them pointed right back at them. History has shown that this sort of intellectual fascism has never ended well. It has created brutal dictatorships where there is no freedom of speech, witch hunts, inquisitions, Holy Wars, Civil Wars and other senseless violence, where ultimately nobody wins. Violent revolution has always brought hate, brutality and oppression but the free exchange of ideas in a civilized manner has created an evolution of thought and understanding throughout history. The words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr, William Wilberforce, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Ghandi have created greater positive change in the world from those of the Pol Pots and Stalins.

History also shows that when people civilly disagree, listen to one another and speak respectfully, they can often change hearts and minds much more effectively than the heartless mob court of cancel culture. People who have been lifetime racists and KKK members have had their hearts and minds transformed through the kindness of others showing them a different way to see the world or through a friendship with someone of a different ethnicity or religion. They may go on to teach others about their transformation and positively influence them. People’s beliefs do change and mature over time, something most young SJW’s fail to realize. A universal truth is that hate begets hate and love begets love. Freedom of speech means freedom to debate ideas and rethink our own viewpoints; honoring diversity is not just about color, it’s also about Creed and honoring differences in beliefs. Tolerance is not about tolerating those we agree with, it’s about tolerating those with whom we don’t.

Now of course this doesn’t mean that we should tolerate actual physical harm to others or taking other’s rights away. We create laws and enforce those laws against such belief-based crimes as honor killings, domestic violence, genital mutilation, child marriage, slavery, pedophilia, human trafficking and bondage, as well as civil rights violations. That is very different from destroying a person’s life and livelihood because we disagree with their current or distant-past opinions (what the woke crowd insidiously refers to as “one’s truth” when it is their opinion, thereby granting themselves immunity from criticism).).

We need more free exchange of ideas, more debate societies in schools, more speakers of differing views on campus. Instead of rioting and stopping “offensive” speakers, schools should be presenting alternative viewpoints as a part of higher education, followed by a requisite debate period or panel discussion.

We all need to look inward and question why we might be so vehemently attached to our beliefs that we must destroy anyone who does not agree with all of ours. Is it part of this culture of narcissism, where anyone who questions or disagrees with the narcissist is responded to with rage? Is it a deep-seated insecurity that one must hold on to one’s beliefs or deny some deep-seated dark beliefs they secretly hold by openly condemning those same beliefs in others? Is it like the Church Lady, mere ego-driven virtue signaling? Is it their guilt for being the most coddled and privileged generation in human history and throwing tantrums when they don’t get their way?

Regardless of the inner motivation of these modern-day Church Ladies, allowing them to dominate and control us back to the Dark Ages, using social media as their modern-day Witch-burning stake– will end very badly indeed.

Elizabeth Ochoa is a writer and photographer who resides on the Eastern Shore

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