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Former Reagan treasurer speaks on political correctness at Saint Mary’s

| Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In 1981, Bay Buchanan was appointed as the youngest treasurer in American history, serving under President Ronald Reagan. Buchanan spoke Wednesday at Saint Mary’s, criticizing political correctness and emphasizing the importance of political debate.

Buchanan said she has seen a tendency for people on the left to work to empower women, but only when those women have the same point of view as them.

“You cannot have it both ways,” she said. “You cannot call on all women to be bold, to stand up, to be heard, not to be afraid, that this is your human right, and then to say that if you disagree with what we think is right, we are going to do everything we can to quiet you, to intimidate you, to call you names that are so offensive that you would never want to move forward and be someone who speaks out.”

According to Buchanan, political correctness has impeded debates from taking place in America in recent decades.

“Political correctness became the strategy of the left,” she said. “Political correctness is a strategy. It is deliberately imposed out there to quiet the opposing team, to keep you from speaking. From not debating the issue, not recognizing two sides. Not for the American people to hear what I have to say and then what a liberal might have to say and debate it and have them decide on their own.”

Buchanan said it is important for everyone to strive towards being a leader in life.

“Everyone should have those abilities to stand up for what is right, no matter where you are and what the pressure is,” she said. “We need people who are willing to fight for what’s right.”

Buchanan said this fight is extremely difficult at times.

“You have to put yourself in the position where you are having to start to build the kind of courage and fortitude that allows you to know that when the time is tough, you’ll do it,” she said.

Buchanan said being a leader starts by debating, which she said is an important freedom for Americans that has been underutilized.

“You want to discuss the issue, let’s discuss the issue,” she said. “Tell me why you have your position. I respect that people disagree with me. … Legitimate debate: That is what is needed in America. Then the frustrations don’t build up. It is key to our nation to have people’s opinions out there — free exchange.”

Buchanan said political issues are not being addressed fully because the leaders in Washington, D.C. are not focusing on the actual issues, making them poor leaders.

“We don’t have the leaders in this country we need,” she said. “The reason is they’re intimidated, they’re hesitant. They’re so afraid of losing that cushy little job of theirs that they will not take on the tough issues. … What is number one in their life is not the country, but keeping their job. ”

According to Buchanan, empowerment involves learning your personal views on issues.

“What is empowerment if not being able to discern for yourselves what it is you believe,” she said. “What do you think is right? What do you think a community should move towards, what policies are good for this nation, for your family, for you communities? What is right? What is important to you? And then to be able to be as vocal as you want with anyone whom you are and not have consequences that would make you feel intimidated or hesitant to be bold.

“This is empowerment.”

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About Nicole Caratas

Nicole is a senior English Writing and Humanistic Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. Now a senior news writer, she previously served as the Saint Mary's Editor. She was born in real Chicago but grew up in the suburbs, and she currently lives in Opus Hall.

Contact Nicole