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Posted by on Dec 22, 2015 in 2016 Presidential Election, Political Correctness, Politics, Women | 12 comments

Political Correctness – Revisited

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A couple of days ago I tried to describe how the leading GOP presidential candidate justifies every outrageous statement, every harebrained idea, every bigoted and sexist utterance as anti-Political Correctness:

…the leading GOP presidential candidate who would replace the “Political Correctness” of compassion, tolerance, equal justice and opportunity and other core American values with the barbarism of “taking out” the families of our enemies; with the heartlessness of mass deportations of millions of men, women and children; with the cruelty of shutting our doors to refugees and to those of a different religion; with the prejudice and bigotry against those of a different skin color, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or even gender.

Today we can add to Trump’s anti-Political Correctness and to his disrespect and vulgarity towards women — calling them “slob”, “fat pig,” demeaning their appearance, making crude references to their menstrual cycle — even more despicable toilet “humor” and “an “astonishingly sexist” attack against former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential front runner Hillary Clinton.

Jenna Johnson at the Washington Post clarifies Trump’s latest obscenity: “’She was favored to win, and she got schlonged,’ Trump said, turning a vulgar noun for a large penis into a verb.”

But also today, Dana Milbank at the Washington Post explains in a much better way how “The GOP turns ‘political correctness’ into the mother of all straw men.”

Milbank:

The notion of political correctness became popular on college campuses a quarter-century ago but has recently grown into the mother of all straw men. Once a pejorative term applied to liberals’ determination not to offend any ethnic or other identity group, it now is used lazily by some conservatives to label everything classified under “that with which I disagree.” GOP candidates are now using the “politically correct” label to shut down debate — exactly what conservatives complained politically correct liberals were doing in the first place.

Milbank explains how in the eyes of many Conservatives — in particular Trump et al — “the politically correct label has become a tic.”

A few examples.

Trump:

How does he explain his praise of Putin? “I’m not going to be politically correct.” How does he respond to the British prime minister’s criticism? “You want to be so politically correct all the time.” Does his anti-Muslim rhetoric radicalize more jihadists? “We can be politically correct, and I could say, ‘Oh well, no, there’s no problem.’?”
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He said there are “major problems” with having women in combat but the military is proceeding because “they want to be politically correct.” He defended profiling of Muslims by law enforcement and said anybody who disagrees “wants to be politically correct.”
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If you don’t support his (false) allegation that thousands of New Jersey Muslims celebrated the World Trade Center collapse, Trump said, that is because “it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it.” Defending his plan to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, Trump warned that we will “become so politically correct as a country that we can’t even walk. We can’t think properly. We can’t do anything.”

Chris Christie:

“Some people believe that borders have become outdated,” the New Jersey governor said. “They don’t believe in nation-states. They believe in a post-American world. . . . We have to speak out against it even when it becomes politically incorrect to do so.”

Ted Cruz: “Political correctness is killing people.”

Carly Fiorina: “our government has become inept, sometimes because it is politically correct.”

Mike Huckabee: François Hollande is a “politically correct French president” and France is a “politically correct country.”

Ben Carson: “There’s no such thing as political correctness when you’re fighting an enemy who wants to destroy you.”

I still say, if this is all they got against Political Correctness, “Thank God for Political Correctness.”

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  • dduck

    Vastly overused term, as you point out, by radical extremist candidates (REC). 🙂

  • JSpencer

    It strikes me that much of political correctness is about simple decency. Many of the enlightened views we have in modern times are the result of an evolution in thinking, awareness, and empathy. Those traits are far from universal, and not everyone cares to take part. One way to avoid taking part is to spin the concept, the word, the phrase into a pejorative. The word, “liberal” was given the same treatment not so very long ago, and is still getting it in many quarters. It’s a cynical ploy, but one that goes with the territory.

    • dduck

      I agree with you guys. However, how do you explain NOT looking at the social media contacts of potential immigrants because we don’t want to interfere with their civil liberties. Please, we don’t want to insult them, or what? That is taking PC too far.

      • Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist

        I personally would call “NOT looking at the social media” of those who would harm us, or at other sources of intelligence stupid and self-defeating.

        Others may call it PC, protected by our Constitution,, etc. I respect that.

        Just my dos centavos.

    • Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist

      You bring up an interesting point, J.S. Republicans have consistently attempted to corrupt the connotation of “liberal” and “political correctness” and — sadly — partially succeeded.

      On the other hand they have totally succeeded — all by themselves — in destroying their famous mantras of “family values” and “compassionate conservatism,” to the point that they would be laughed out of the clown car if they declaimed them again.

    • KP

      < < The word, “liberal” was given the same treatment not so very long ago, and is still getting it in many quarters. >>

      I think you are correct.

      Same with “conservative” and “Republicans”.

    • There has been a war on Political Correctness by Rush and his talk radio compadres for over a decade. I personally think that many of that vast audience has absorbed the message that “Political Correctness” = fear of offending others- a weakness. Mutual respect is what it means to most liberals. That kind of evolved thinking should not be walked back by the GOP to a more neanderthal type of communication

      • Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist

        You got it, Kim!

  • At this point, as far as I am concerned, if using terms that do not denigrate entire classes of human beings is “being politically correct”, then stamp me GUILTY!

  • Let’s back up for a minute.

    I’ll give you this. Some of the Republican candidates are using an aversion to political correctness in an over-the-top manner and using it as an excuse to avoid knowledgably discussing issues.

    But, the far greater sin, in my opinion, is happening on the left where the pursuit of political correctness is being used as an exercise in redefining, or partially erasing, the First Amendment protection of free speech. This attitude has become commonplace at many college campuses and is creeping into liberal ideation generally…most notably that “hate speech” (however one chooses to define that term) is somehow not protected or that the elimination of “hate speech” or “hurtful speech” should take precedence over the archaic notion of freedom of speech.

    So, I share the revulsion at the right’s abuse of political anti-political-correctness to obviate decency, good manners and thoughtful discourse, but the greater danger comes from the left on this one. Just my view.

    • Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist

      I agree.

      When and if PC – or any other language or policy — is used to attack or restrict free speech, it should of course be condemned.

      But also part of the First Amendment is the right to point out when “political correctness” is used strictly as a pejorative solely to ridicule and belittle those who use such language in order not to offend or marginalize certain groups in our society and/or — as Trump et al are certainly doing — to divert attention from the real issues and principles those who are being “PC” deeply believe in.

    • Freedom of speech needs to be protected in all its vileness. It is only the stuff we DON’T want to hear that needs protection, not the stuff we are okay with.

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