Political Correctness Criticism Gives License To Bullying, Slurs
Spirited discourse of our differences is necessary within our political system. It allows each of us to learn more about one another and to expand our thinking outside of our personal spheres of influence. It is truly what makes us better as a people and a nation.
However, there is a line where our debates cross over into something different, something more than the typical campaign rhetoric, and we are watching this transgress through prominent individuals who profess that the country is too politically correct. “Politically correct” is a description meaning inoffensive, nondiscriminatory, unbiased, neutral, appropriate, nonpartisan. Given such a definition, how could anyone be overly PC? What would make someone believe that being “inoffensive” or “nondiscriminatory” is a bad thing? The golden rule says, “treat others the way you would like to be treated,” right?
As a child, I was taught that our differences are what make our country great and that we should celebrate and respect those differences. As an officer of the Marines, we treated every Marine with the respect that each deserved.
However, this election cycle and some of its candidates have given a mouthpiece to a silenced and unacceptable way of thinking where discrimination and offensive language have become not only acceptable, but also a normal part of the daily political conversation. By stoking nationalistic views and pandering to the fears of a particular demographic, these candidates have created a manufactured anger. An outrage tied to the belief that these men and women have been left behind in this new and scary global economy.
In many instances, I am empathetic to these small towns and the people who reside within them. These men and women have seen their livelihood dwindle due to this fast-paced and evolving economy, and I cannot argue that the government has properly dealt with their plight. These people do deserve better. However, capitalism is an economy derived from competition, and these communities have not prepared adequately to be successful. So instead of looking at themselves they scapegoat, and certain political figures use this as a wedge issue to amplify their racial biases.
Some examples of these biases are the call for the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants, the call for a total ban on Muslim travelers (which has slowly reversed as national polling drops), or a failure to disavow the KKK. In addition to doing nothing to bolster the middle class, these examples represent the partiality that is prevalent in this election cycle, and these are just from the one candidate.
This type of bombastic language has given a pass to the constituents who otherwise would not voice their feelings so loudly. In essence, they have been given a license to discriminate. We see this license used in political rallies all across the nation. Vile slurs and hate speech are not only permitted, but also perpetuated by like-minded rally-attendants. This hate speech then manifests itself in acts of physical violence. I would wager to say that many individuals across the country experience this in their daily lives.
Take the woman in New Hampshire speaking about the “TSA and those people wearing those hibby-jobbies” as an example. Most recently, I have come across racial and bigoted language in my National Guard unit, and it makes me nervous to imagine that this type of behavior is being allowed all throughout the various military branches. Being around it was appalling – it has no place. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that my commanding officer agrees with me and has been upstanding in his punishment of a soldier under his command who used racial slurs.
Based on the notion that the United States is too politically correct, which is perpetuated by a reality television star who cares little for anyone other than himself, we have seen a decline in civility and humanity. We have replaced empathy for the plight of others with a license to discriminate.
I pray that we come to our senses and rebuke this return to outdated thinking. So help us, God.
Charlotte resident Ryan McGill is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a partner with the Truman National Security Project. Views expressed are his own.
Posted Jul 23, 2016 at 12:01 AM
At The Fayetteville Observer