Political Correctness flips its lid

Newsday, a Long Island news daily, informs us that a Commack, L.I., school bus driver named Kenneth Mott, who has a white beard and bears more than a passing resemblance to St. Nicholas was ordered to remove his Santa Claus hat. It seem that:

"Mott said he was told that a parent of a child complained to the district about Mott's headgear, saying that the child doesn't believe in Santa Claus and was bothered by the hat."
Gee, a man with a beard wearing a hat who looks religious, minding his own business, upset them. I guess these parents won't be taking their kid to see Fiddler on the Roof, either. Or when they show the Greek Orthodox Christmas services on New York area television stations, they will have to change the channel. How about bearded motorcyclists with a red helmet? The possibilities for "upset" in this child's life are endless. 
Bus company officials told Mr. Mott to remove his Santa hat and, much to his credit, he refused. Kenneth Mott stated,

"Nobody is going to tell me what I can do and can't do," said Mott, who added that he doesn't pretend to be Santa Claus while driving, nor does he play Christmas carols or decorate his bus. "This is America. I'm not hurting anybody."
The bus company has relented, apparently deciding privately that they couldn't win any lawsuit brought by Mr. Mott - and so the hat stays.
This farce, the type of thing one sees in the plot of a $7 Christmas movie you can buy off the rack at a drugstore chain, has mercifully ended for now. It seems there are two major schools of thought about unusual people with odd hats. One is that we should all learn about other cultures and be tolerant of them. The other is that we now in America have the Guaranteed Right not to be made uncomfortable by anything that doesn't suit our fancy, be it a person with an unusual hat or a with only one leg or who is obese or doesn't wear designer jeans - or is obese AND wears designer jeans. These two opposing viewpoints are increasingly headed for confrontations. And the winners will be those who come to the conclusion that we are all entitled to our reasonable public displays of our culture that don't interfere with public safety.
Let us hope that this youngster - and his parents - realize soon that just because you are smart enough to file a complaint, that doesn't mean your complaint is worthwhile. If this youngster grows up to work and live in today's Long Island, realizing this will serve him well. And if he seeks work in the nearby Big City with 83 neighborhoods and even more languages, that attitude will serve him even better.
Then maybe he can file a complaint against his parents.

(Jack Kemp is not the former politician of the same name.)
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