Saturday, January 09, 2016

Backlash Building on Political Correctness?

By Steven Hayward

Gradually it is starting to dawn on terrified liberals that Donald Trump’s appeal owes more to his facial challenge to the stifling political correctness of our time than the single issue of immigration. It helps to have a degree in media Kremlinology to spot this, such as this Washington Post headline:

Stop right there! When a mainstream media outlet runs a headline with a condition “may be” in it, you can change the conditional verb structure quite easily to render the true story, which should read:

Why Trump IS winning the war on ‘political correctness’

There. That’s better. Anyway, let’s continue on:

In an October poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University, 68 percent agreed with the proposition that “a big problem this country has is being politically correct.”

It was a sentiment felt strongly across the political spectrum, by 62 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 81 percent of Republicans. Among whites, 72 percent said they felt that way, but so did 61 percent of nonwhites.

Liberals are clearly terrified of their own creation of political correctness, and are looking for a way out. My favorite example this week is Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, who wrote the following:

Even those of us on the left feel the wrath of the leftier-than-thou brigade from time to time. I don’t generally have a hard time avoiding objectionable language myself because (a) I’m liberal, (b) I’m good with words, and (c) I write rather than talk, which gives me time to get my act together. But even at that, sometimes I cross an invisible line and get trounced for it.

But for someone without my advantages, I can easily see how it might feel almost impossible to express an unpopular opinion without tying yourself in knots. And let’s be honest: We liberals do tend to yell racism a little more often than we should. And we do tend to suggest that anyone who likes guns or Jesus is a rube. And the whole “privilege” thing sure does get tiresome sometimes. And we do get a little pedantic in our insistence that no conversation about anything is complete unless it specifically acknowledges the special problems of marginalized groups. It can be pretty suffocating at times.

That pretty much concedes every conservative criticism of political correctness for the last 30 years.

Finally, although I retract nothing of my doubts about Trump’s capacities to be the president we need, let alone a winning candidate in November, you have to hand it to him for putting it like this today:

“You know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko?” Trump asked. “That’s bait.”

He’s making it harder and harder not to like him. If he keeps this up, he just might win in November after all.