A few days ago, several readers made the comment that the world has gone mad, and I agreed with them. Today, I am more convinced than ever that there is something toxic in the atmosphere that is turning people into raving lunatics. The headline in the New York Times reads …
N.R.A. Show Puts Thomas the Tank Engine in K.K.K. Hood to Criticize Diversity Move
The story begins last Friday, when the kids’ show Thomas and Friends announced that it was adding new characters in partnership with the United Nations, as part of an effort to introduce its preschool audience to new cultures and issues. The new characters are mostly female and international characters, including Nia, a train from Kenya.
The character Thomas the Tank Engine was invented more than 70 years ago by the Rev. W. Awdry, as a story for his son. Mr. Awdry turned the story into the first of many books in 1945, and in 1984, Thomas became the star of a new British animated show that was narrated by Ringo Starr. The show made its American debut in 1989 on PBS.
Apparently, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch has a problem with Nia … or is her problem with diversity … or is her problem with non-whites? Loesch hosts a program titled Relentless on NRA-TV (yes, for those who didn’t know, the NRA has its very own television network). On her program last Friday she questioned the ‘need’ for diversity on Thomas’ show …
“How do you bring ethnic diversity? I mean they had to paint, what I guess they thought was some sort of African pattern on the side of Nia’s engine? How do you bring ethnic diversity to a show that literally has no ethnicities because they’re trains? They don’t even have skin pigmentation. Was there some concern that the show had racist undertones?”
Obviously, Ms. Loesch has no understanding of ethnic diversity, the intolerance that exists in this nation today, or the need to teach children to value those of different cultures & ethnicities. And so, Ms. Loesch, along with producers at NRA-TV, came up with this …
I don’t know about you, but when I first saw this image, I was speechless. This is a new low even for the NRA that, as we all know, has no values and cares not a whit about humans … only about money. But to target a very popular kids’ show??? Can anybody say “social conscience”?
What does Loesch’s grotesque distortion of a children’s cartoon have to do with gun rights? Nothing, according to the laws of common sense. But of late, the NRA has taken its culture war cues from Trump and its segments are anti-Black Lives Matter, pro-cop, anti-media and pro-Trump. It is no longer just guns the NRA is defending, but its way of life, its identity. And apparently a children’s television program that promotes peace, understanding and love of others is offensive to Ms. Loesch and the NRA.
There is something ugly about all of this. There is something vitriolic, toxic in Ms. Loesch and others such as Alex Jones, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter who bring the message of hate and bigotry, even to small children. I have been engaged in a back-and-forth discussion for the past week or so with a reader concerning whether there ought to be limits to free speech. This abomination by Ms. Loesch and the NRA further cements my viewpoint that when a person or organization fails to accept the responsibility that accompanies the right to free speech, it is further proof that there need to be some limits, some constraints. Try explaining the above picture to your 4-year-old:
“Well, you see honey, there are some people who don’t like people who don’t look like they do, and so they put white sheets on their heads and go around setting fires on people’s property and killing people.”
Doesn’t make sense even to me, and I’m not 4-years-old!
Where do we draw a line, folks? Surely even supporters of the 1st and 2nd amendments must be incensed by this? Surely nobody can defend Ms. Loesch’ attack on diversity? Or … can they? Have we gone too far? For me, the answer is ‘yes’. What about you?