Sunday, November 27, 2005


Plans for a walkway high in the forest of Westland National Park have stalled over a requirement to provide access for wheelchair users. South Island tribe Ngai Tahu is behind the $2 million treetop venture, a more than 300m-long looped walk, 14m high and against a backdrop of the Southern Alps' Franz Josef village.

Ngai Tahu Tourism acting general manager Rick Tau said providing electric or mechanical lifts to get disabled people up and over sets of steps built into the walkway would add more than $100,000 to the cost of the project. "It could put the kibosh it," he said.

More than $50,000 had already been spent on design and planning. Electric lifts would require a power supply, and self-operated mechanical lifts could be a problem if people were severely disabled, Mr Tau said. The tribe had asked the Department of Building and Housing for an exemption under the Building Act, but was turned down.

It's not the first time Ngai Tahu's tourism ventures had come up against disability laws, Mr Tau said. "Some of it is idiotic. We have lodges that take two days' walking to get to, yet we have to provide wheelchair access to toilets."

More here (Hat tip to Kiwi Pundit)


''This isn't politically correct,'' my wise friend said, ''but I'm going to say it, anyway.'' He proceeded to make a statement that was profoundly true. The idea of political correctness, or the absence thereof, has always annoyed me. Political correctness has always seemed to me to carry a certain baggage of manipulation and control. Political correctness seems to make people more concerned about image and persona than reality and truth.

Once my friend stood up to the tyranny of political correctness, I thought a lot about the issue we were discussing, as well as what it means for something to be politically correct or politically incorrect. I've thought about what we've lost in trusting each other since we got so concerned about political correctness, and what it does to human beings to make decisions and set policies based on political correctness.

Whenever there is a shadow of political correctness hovering over an issue, it seems to me that that shadow itself should be a giant red flag, calling people to do some soul-searching and deep reflection. Indeed, whatever is politically correct at the moment probably needs to be examined from stem to stern. The thing that is, supposedly, politically correct might be fashionable or popular, but it might be a deceiving or confusing mixture of what is false and what is true, a distortion of what is right and, quite possibly, containing elements that are harmful to certain parts of the human family.

Indeed, what is in for one generation may be out for the next. What wields pressure or influence for one group may be anathema for another. The forces that rattle and roll you one day may have no affect on you the next. What is real and right and true, however, remains the same through the shifting values and priorities of time.

When life gets complicated or problematic for me, there is a within the problem a clarion call that it is time for me to clear a space in my head and in my calendar and take some time to do some deep reflection. The more serious the issues I am facing, the more I need to draw apart from the clamoring voices in my outer world and separate the wheat from the chaff. The more there is at stake for me, the more I need to get calm and still, silence the cacophony of voices that chatter away in my own head and seek the still, small voice of wisdom and discernment. When life gets challenging, I must forget about what is politically correct, at least for the moment, and seek the truth that lies within the challenge.

No matter how exalted the position or how lowly the job, every person is vulnerable to getting caught in what other people are going to think about what you do, and there are those who will use almost anything to put pressure on others. Sometimes, master manipulators will even make religion and religious language politically correct ... just to get their way.

Regardless of how old or how young, how well-connected or unsupported a person is, all human beings can be influenced or swayed by forces that are sometimes conscious and sometimes hidden from one's own awareness. Given the right - or perhaps the ''wrong'' - circumstances, every one of us can be bought or sold. Any one of us is capable of being pushed around by what is, at the moment, ''politically correct.'' So we all must seek the truth with all diligence - all the time.


No comments: