Wait. Who behaved very badly? The reporter asking about the hateful, childish name-calling, or the name-caller? The blame-flipping maneuver sounds like it came right out of Alice in Wonderland:
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”
Like Lewis Carol’s fantasy world, in the world of Trump supporters, everything is upside down. The reporter who inquired about the demeaning name-calling “behaved badly” rather than the name-caller.
Mr. Trump’s response to the question was typically silly. After first cracking up his audience by saying that he only said those ugly things about comedian Rosie O’Donnell – a line you could imagine the school bully using to get a cheap laugh at the expense of the heavy girl in the class – Trump added:
“The big problem this country has is being politically correct. (interrupted by loud cheers) I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t frankly have time for political correctness.”
“Oh, you’re just being politically correct.” It’s the lament of many who has been held accountable for their words. Rather than defending the specific idea put forward, the offensive speaker dismissively flips the blame around, saying that the fault lies with the questioner rather than the instigator.
What does “politically correct” even mean? It’s very much in the eye of the beholder. The Merriam Webster dictionary says one who is “politically correct” is:
“Agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.”
In other words, we really shouldn’t call fellow humans “disgusting animals” or say we would like to see how pretty our colleagues would look on their knees, because it’s hurtful, demeaning and insulting to them.
How do you know it’s hurtful, demeaning, and insulting? Because you wouldn’t like it if directed at you, or someone you love. The Golden Rule that is cited throughout Christianity and every major religion — Do to others what you would want them to do to you – is there to guide us as we look for how to be “careful not to use language or behave in a way that could offend.”
But the Urban Dictionary definition captures the meaning of political correctness that has been adopted by many modern conservatives.
“The ideology of weird left wing liberals who want society to be nothing but accepting of all perverts and freaks everywhere. The main basis is not to offend anyone with one little incorrect word.”
So, if the speaker believes the subject of the insult to be a “pervert and freak,” then calling that person a “disgusting animal” is justifiable, and the true fault lies with those who don’t understand that the person being insulted is a pervert or freak. Therefore, anyone who questions Mr. Trump’s demeaning of women can be cavalierly dismissed as being under the spell of the conservative supervillain Political Correctness.
Jesus taught his followers that “whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” What do you suppose he would have said to a disciple who inquired about a loophole: “Um, that doesn’t apply to people I think are perverts, freaks, wrong, fat or unattractive, right?”
The “oh you’re just being politically correct” defense ultimately leads to a no holds barred society where the Golden Rule effectively becomes a dead letter. Is that really what the devout followers of Jesus Christ attending last night’s debate stand for?
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