Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Trump Makes America his Bitch
(This essay was previously published on the now defunct Disinfo.com under the title, "Political Incorrectness.")
Merriam-Webster defines political correctness as "conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated."
This isn't the first definition available to me, upon my Google search but the other two were not really correct. This is because "political correctness" as a "thing" shifts, grows and changes. Dynamic definitions are not a particularly new phenomenon. In ye olden days, for instance, one might conspire to collect faggots with a gay friend, with nary an eyebrow raised. Such is it with ours, or any other language. Things change. Tastes change. Meanings change. ("Faggots" are bundles of kindling and "gay" means happy.)
I would be remiss not to point out the other two definitions of PC I googled, they're relevant:
"The avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against."
Well, that's pretty telling. I bet that "often considered as taken to extremes," part was added to the original. It's also a non-committal definition, "action(s) that are perceived to exclude..." and "socially disadvantaged" are unclear. It also takes our intentionality out of it by saying we "avoid" such "expression or action" rather than "conform to a belief," as in the first, more proper definition.
Our final definition is, "A way that we speak in America so we don't offend whining pussies."
This is from urbandictionary.com and while incomplete, it is the apparent consensus in America today. If you took a poll of which of these three definitions was most aptly suited to define PC, I'm sure the latter would win by a landslide. Philosophically, of course the first definition is the best. In terms of day to day life, we shall do the best we can, one day at a time, etc. (And we may have to define "aptly.")
Now we have Political Incorrectness: the attitude or policy shown by someone who does not believe that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.
Such is it that we now find ourselves awash in the noxious rhetoric of a moral degenerate. Why is beyond me, (haven't we more interesting things to do than watch Rome burn?) Yet Donald Trump continues to bluntly fly in the face of all things politically correct at every chance. And the trucker-hatted masses eat it up. If Mr. Trump is asked about his derogatory comments, (toward women, Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, insert group here,) he simply throws up his eyelids and announces political correctness is ruining the country. I'm not surprised that Trump has stupid answers, I'm surprised when audiences applaud them.
Political Incorrectness, as illustrated by Trump, (although he is not alone in this,) is easily enjoyed by ordinary folks who have been walking around biting their tongues since the 90s. Are people sick of PC? Do they now see it as going to far, or being BS or "not working?" Yes they do. In fact, so do I, in may ways. (If you're playing a sport and you're not keeping score, you've gone too far. If you don't want to learn about the Holocaust because it hurts your feelings, you've gone to far.)
However, thinking that a group of humans have taken things too far doesn't necessarily mean we should combat that by going too far the other way.
Even if political correctness is the number one contributor to what George Carlin called the "pussification of America" you still can't combat it by reverting to the basic bigotry of bygone eras. Unless of course, that is what you want. And if you want it, then it is you and you are it. This is how political incorrectness makes you its bitch. It asks you to announce your prejudices proudly, as if it is your duty to save the country by being an asshole.
Donald Trump beats bigoted drums to the sad ears of republicans, happy to be free of their muzzles. He makes money doing it.* Did you know that? Not only is the Donald paying for his own campaign, he's turning a profit. The more voters who jump on board and buy a trucker hat at $25 and $35 bucks, the more millions he puts in his pocket. I don't think Trump has winning the nomination as his goal, he just wants to shine in the light, have a bit of fun. So really, he's wasting time, except that he's shining light on crowds of people who think like him and that's a scary thing.
The hallmarks of the left/right debate do not even enter into whether or not your find yourself on the PC or PIC side, Americans feel that people like Trump are just being honest, some of them find it refreshing. In a way, they are right. It's still not a solution.
This is the product of political and ideological extremism, moderate republicans are not drooling over Trump, moderate democrats are not decrying political incorrectness, because they don't take idiots seriously. That this conversation is even taking place is the result of a crafty weasel knowing some tricks that take advantage of a base ignorance.*
If Trump is popular because "he's saying the things we want to say and can't, " what does that say about PC, or PIC, or freedom of speech, or people's mindsets, intelligences and abilities? The answer seems to be "a great deal." For movements, (of any size from any place) do not grow from nothing. So if you are a nation of pre-emptive bigots, then you will get an appropriate leader to follow, who leads you where you want to be led. You won't because you're not. You're just a little confused because you haven't yet figured out that the people you desire are the enemy.
It's okay to like that Trump doesn't bend to the bullshit, or "is speaking honestly about his feelings," but wrong thinking is still wrong. Hitler spoke passionately about his beliefs, it doesn't make them right.
"All things in moderation," they say. If life is lived in the middle, the center is where all things meet, the hub of the wheel, Trump has no business there, neither does political incorrectness, or correctness for that matter. These things belong in the fringes of society. The extremity of desires are mislead and counterproductive. This will all go away by way of caring less, not more.
at 9:39 AM