THOSE WHO COMPLAIN ABOUT POLITICAL CORRECTNESS ARE MOSTLY JUST BIGOTED A##HOLES!
That’s right. I said it. I used a swearword in my blog…um…almost! Take that PC Police!
Okay. So I’m being a bit tongue in cheek here–but only a bit. In the last few months political observers have commented on the amazing rise of the Washington “outsiders” in the Republican nominating process. Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and now Carly Fiorina are humiliating the lamestream candidates Bush 3.0, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul et. al. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Running as an outsider, whether someone is the former governor of California or Texas, or a private equity mogul, is pretty much standard fair for conservatives. It plays well among liberals, as well. Hell, going all the way back to the Log Cabin campaigns of presidential aspirants after Andrew Jackson it seems that convincing the electorate of one’s common man origins, even when such origins are a complete fiction, is the default strategy in the United States.
What is shocking, however, is the appeal added to these so called outsider campaigns* when the candidates say the most shocking, offensive and inaccurate things about “the other.” They then punctuate their absurd comments with self adulation for having the “courage” to say things that are not “politically correct.” These are the candidates who are willing to “say it like is,” or “call it as they see it.” They are “straight talkers” who will not be cowed by expectations that demand they water down the truth with acceptable patterns of speech. For them, political correctness is a form of tyranny destroying the minds of real Americans.
Their base eats this balderdash up because nothing demonstrates courage like insulting the marginalized, minorities and women.
So when Donald Trump is confronted by Meghan Kelly about his clear misogyny his defense is that he doesn’t “have time for total political correctness.” His claim that undocumented immigrants are rapists and violent is the kind of straight talk that politicians are afraid to say despite the fact that they all know it to be true. I guess they are so scared because the Illegal Immigrant Lobby is so powerful in the United States.
Ben Carson can disparage 1.5 billion people then write an editorials about the dangerous impact of political correctness on American culture. He has even written a book on the subject (which I see no reason to advertise here). He believes that political correctness is a radical liberal conspiracy to get people to not speak the truth for fear that doing so will offend somebody. Thus liberals will be able to…to…um…do something. Ben’ll get back to you. But it’s clearly a left wing conspiracy. Muahahahahahaha! You got em’, Ben! Tell it! Tell it!
Of course, when you look behind the rhetoric, what do you see? Clear cut bigotry. Nothing more. Trump and Carson are doing nothing more than camouflaging their hatred for “the other” with nonsense about not being politically correct. Of course, this is playing to fabulous success among the right wing, which tells you more about the right than it does the candidates.
Look, I agree with the overall danger that political correctness can be an obstacle to legitimate discourse when the facts clearly indicate that the popular position on a topic is false. This is not the case with Trump or Carson. The problem with these two is not that they are not being politically correct. The problem is that they are not being factually correct.
Spreading lies and falsehoods about Mexicans and Muslims and women or poor people or whatever particular group one happens to disdain is not “straight talk” or “telling it like it is.” Someone so ignorant as to spew age old stereotypes, hatred and fearmongering should not be lauded for his willingness to “speak his mind” and “call it like he sees it.” No. He should be derided as a bigot, a fool and/or an ignoramus. If his ideas are wrong, objectively disprovable, then anything he has to say based on those ideas is also wrong. There should be no extra credit for trying. Perhaps the right wing has a different definition of “straight talk” than I do (am I being too politically correct in saying this?)
Also, what’s wrong with not wanting to offend anyone? When we discuss social problems or political concerns do we have to offend in the process? Can’t we choose more respectful rhetoric? If we fear the influence of immigration do we have to stereotype Mexicans and rapists? Once upon a time being able to express oneself respectfully was a sign of class and education. It used to be called treating people with basic, human dignity, not political correctness.
Which leads me to this test. Whenever a Donald Trump or a Ben Carson, or, for that matter, Hillary or Bernie, should make a claim about political correctness, try substituting the words “treat[ing] people with basic human dignity.” If doing so makes the speaker sound like an asshole, then it’s quite likely that that speaker said something assholish!
So for instance, when Trump said, “I don’t have time for political correctness,” we should rephrase that as, “I don’t have time to treat people with basic human dignity.” Oh…asshole!
When Ben Carson says something along the lines of “political correctness is destroying our nation.” What he means is, “treating people with basic, human dignity is destroying our nation.” That’s kind of assholish.
I know. I know. Calling people assholes is not treating them with basic, human dignity.
I’m sure Donald Trump and Ben Carson can teach me a thing or two about Political Correctness.
Look, there are times when bluntness works. Those who read this blog regularly know that I’m not inclined to using profanity. When confronting the powerful in their ignorant attempts to justify bigotry and misogyny directed at those who have a history of victimization at the hands of bigots and misogynists we use what tools we have at our disposal.
*As a bit of an aside, Donald Trump brags about all of the political bigwigs who, according to him, are constantly calling him, asking for favors, advice or support, yet he is presented as an “outsider.” How is that even possible. But that’s a blog for another day.