Donald Trump is the most politically correct of all candidates in the 2016 presidential election. And sadly, that’s not a typo.
Yes, Donald Trump is rude, and yes, he is an insensitive bully who does not abide by the conventional rules of “political correctness.” But Donald Trump is a politically correct social justice warrior who, much like the very people he deplores, silences dissent and makes decisions based on his own sensitivity.
How’s this possible? After all, Trump has most recently stooped so low to attack Ted Cruz’s wife in an attempt to, somehow, win over supporters. Isn’t this the definition of “anti-PC”? Therein lies the problem. Through strategic maneuvering, Donald Trump has singlehandedly obfuscated the meaning of “anti-PC,” and scammed his supporters into buying the definition.
The problem with Donald Trump’s self-proclaimed opposition to political correctness is that he misunderstands what ignoring political correctness looks like. A disregard of political correctness is not a free pass to say anything controversial or offensive. Nor should it be viewed as an opportunity to sophomorically insult one’s appearance. You are not “anti-PC” if you are offensive and slanderous towards minorities, women, or immigrants; you are anti-common decency. Political correctness is the manifestation of language or policies which are used to spare disadvantaged groups from harm. Thus, being anti-PC is not explicitly allowing, and using, language to disparage the disadvantaged. Being anti-PC is allowing all speech. The opposite of political correctness is not vulgarity. The opposite of political correctness is free speech.
Clearly, the reason that political correctness is undesirable is because it silences meaningful discourse and the expression of opposing thought. But Trump doesn’t serve as a champion of free speech, he is instead an ardent defender of silencing the speech he doesn’t like.
Mr. Trump has called for libel laws which penalize bloggers for writing anything that can be interpreted as false, negative, or defamatory. Trump encourages his supporters to harm his critics, saying that “we need a little bit more of” the violence that occurs against protestors at his rallies. In these ways, Donald Trump is politically correct. Upon realizing this, Donald Trump should no longer fit the desired mold of “anti-PC;” he should instead be exposed as the impolite bully he is. In his display of hypocrisy as it relates to the value of free speech, Donald Trump exemplifies his fragility and his covert desire to be as politically correct as the social justice warriors he mocks.
Wasn’t every Trump supporter outraged (as I clearly was) when the University of Missouri’s professor, Melissa Click, asked for “some muscle” to forcefully push out members of the media during the disgruntled students’ absurd demonstrations? My question, then, is this: what makes Donald Trump’s prohibition of nondisruptive protest different? Donald Trump’s rallies are bigger “safe spaces” than the very college campuses that he classifies as fragile and weak. Of course, Trump has the right to do what he pleases at his private rallies. Legality aside, however, Trump’s brute and unyielding strength in the face of opposition, rather than the open-minded entertainment of dissent, is telling of his fragility. If he is running to be leader of the free world, Donald Trump should respect the free speech guaranteed in our Constitution–even if it offends him.
To be sure, we ought to stand in opposition to the increasingly prevalent ubiquity of free-speech-threatening political correctness. But Donald Trump is not our panacea–in fact, he’s the exact opposite. If the criterion for your support is a candidate who deplores and disregards political correctness with a Constitutional alternative, look elsewhere. Supporting Trump for his refusal to abide by the innocuous laws of “political correctness” is simplistic and a gross misunderstanding of what political correctness really is. Those who truly believe we should dismiss political correctness are those who see the inherent value in free speech, not those who seek excuses to terminate it whenever it offends them.