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OPINION

The Price of Political Correctness

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Adrenaline is pumping through the veins of official Washington this week as Donald J. Trump (arguably the greatest showman ever elected) prepares to begin his first term as our 45th President.  

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At the same time, sadly, we just learned that the curtain is going down—for the final time—on “The Greatest Show On Earth.” Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus employees in Orlando were told on Saturday the 146-year old institution will cease to exist following its May 21st performance at New York’s Nassau Coliseum. The “official” line is that the circus—dating back to immortal American entertainer and entrepreneur P.T. Barnum in the 1800’s—could not sustain its business model due to “changing entertainment tastes” and declining ticket sales.

But the real bottom-line is that so-called “Political Correctness” killed the circus. And other wholesome family entertainment will be next unless we all pick up the incoming Administration’s mantra and “Make America Great Again.”

From ultra-sophisticated New York and Los Angeles to “flyover country” in Kansas City, Birmingham and Duluth, the arrival of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s circus reduced everyone to a kid again: often preceded by an on-street parade into town (even through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into Manhattan) by acrobats, caged tigers, clowns and the trademark elephants introduced by Barnum himself in 1882…the circus would perform nights and weekends as parents took their wide-eyed children to see the “human cannonball” or the singing ringmaster and together turned back the clock to experience both their own childhoods and an enduring, charming part of genuine Americana.

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In 1995—whether merely to preserve their investment or moved by genuine love of their animals—Ringling Brothers opened a 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation whose stated mission is the “conservation, breeding and understanding of these amazing animals” based on 146 years of working with them.

None of this—not the wholesome, family entertainment…not the awe and pageantry…not even the conservation investment—mattered to the forces of Political Correctness which had been slowly cultivating over time but sprang into a fully-developed virus in the petri dish that was the Obama years.

So-called “animals rights” activists targeted Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus and received plenty of coverage from compliant news media operatives with hysterical comparisons of elephants and tigers to  human slavery. One hothead outside an Ashville, N.C. performance of Ringling Bros. declared that he was out there “to let the public know that wild animals don’t belong in circuses. They belong with their families.”  (Um, the same could be said of airline pilots, hip surgeons, mimes and fast-food workers still being paid less than $15-an-hour, but I’m guessing this guy doesn’t care if they spend enough time at home.) PETA accused Ringling Bros. of “animal abuse” for—among other things—keeping tigers “held captive” before they performed. Maybe they’d prefer having the big cats roam freely through the audience, nipping off a finger or an arm if the mood struck. Looney, but in the end the circus caved to the PC forces…who are now lighting-up the Internet and social media crowing about this “victory.”

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Unfortunately, Ringling Bros. will only be the start. PC Nazis have already bullied Sea World into ending their popular killer whale performances…no more Shamu The Orca for families to enjoy.

And with the death of the “big dog” (sorry PETA) …smaller, regional circuses like the wildly popular Hejaz Shrine Circus in South Carolina will be next.

Then will come the San Diego Zoo, the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and the Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch in Pilot Point, Texas. The Audubon Society in New Orleans must go (“Free the insects! Free the butterflies!”) and let’s start building crates to ship Pandas back to China.

That’s the future of America if we continue to allow our society’s choices to be dictated by those whose concern is less about families experiencing the awe and wonder of God’s creations in a close, personal way but instead whether, say, a “captive” armadillo might develop Plantar Fasciitis by living in an enclosure rather than being pancaked by an 18-wheeler on the highway as it enjoys blissful freedom.

My prayer is that even as he tackles radical Islamic terrorism, the need to protect American jobs and other critical issues, President Trump—a proven businessman whose critics nevertheless deride him at every turn for his showbiz roots—will also turn back the forces of political correctness with the same ease he silenced CNN’s Jim Acosta at his first news conference. #MakeTheCircusGreatAgain.
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