Plenty of times conservatives hyperventilate about supposed assaults on the sanctity of good ol’ American values, their complaints are incendiary attempts to upset people for no good reason while running roughshod over the rights of misunderstood minorities. When transgender people seek to use the public bathroom of their choice, for instance, it hurts no one and genuinely helps them.
But now and then, progressives do something so dumb to try to redefine norms, they deserve the ire of right-wing radio and expose themselves as out of touch with the broad and sensible American middle — which, though smaller than it used to be, still exists. Such self-inflicted wounds are especially bad coming from Joe Biden, who won the presidency in part because he rejected the silliest excesses of the wokest fringes.
Consider two words in Biden’s new budget: “birthing people.” Even as the document correctly outlines efforts to “reduce maternal mortality rates and end race-based disparities in maternal mortality,” it replaces “mother” with a made-up two-word term meant to include those who have xx chromosomes and wombs but do not consider themselves female. Pressed on the verbiage in a hearing this week, a deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget said “we think our language needs to be more inclusive on how we deal with complex issues.”
All humans are worthy of respect and equal rights. There’s nothing wrong with reasonable adjustments to include more people, like asking kids to take a permission slip home to their parent or guardian rather than their mom or dad. But the mere fact that some consider themselves neither men nor women ought not force us to extinguish from our common terminology the deeply ingrained, gender-rooted words that describe the vast majority of the population.
If progressives think they can win people over while demanding a total rewrite of our most basic vocabulary, they are dooming America to an ever-escalating culture war — a war the tolerant, inclusive good guys (can we still say that?) are sure to lose.