The Bull in the PC China Shop
The 2016 election was all about rejecting leftist oppression.
“The imposition of P.C. has no logical end because feeling better about one’s self by confessing other people’s sins, humiliating and hurting them, is an addictive pleasure the appetite for which grows with each satisfaction. The more fault I find in thee, the holier (or, at least, the trendier) I am than thou.” —Angelo Codevilla
For holier-than-thou leftists who still can’t fathom the meaning of our 2016 “rejection election,” an old adage comes to mind: when all one has is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. For years, political correctness has been leftists’ favorite hammer — and this year, millions of Americans got sick and tired of being nails.
Nonetheless, Huffington Post contributor Martie Sirois contends the “problem in our country right now is a whole lot of people are mistakenly confusing ‘political correctness’ with ‘basic human decency,’” and those who resist “seem nostalgic for days gone by when they didn’t have to think so much before speaking; a time when they didn’t have to tiptoe on eggshells, or worry about offending others.”
Human decency? More like oppression based on the nonexistent “right” not to be offended by those looking to exponentially expand the parameters of offensiveness. So much so that more than half of America’s colleges — ostensibly institutions of higher learning — now have speech codes that often conflict with First Amendment protections. “The open exchange of ideas that used to make courses such as Contemporary Moral Problems exciting doesn’t happen,” states University of Texas at Austin professor Daniel Bonevac, who abandoned teaching that course after 20 years. “It’s not possible to teach the course the way I used to teach it.”
Nonsense. Bonevac could teach his course as he pleases, but he and countless other professors who have also abandoned “offensive” topics would have to endure the wrath of the Snowflake Generation and their faculty/administrative enablers who worship at the altar of safe spaces, trigger warnings, micro-aggressions and free speech zones. Thus, like many Americans who prefer avoiding confrontation whenever possible, tiptoeing on eggshells is the preferred option.
Sirois insists otherwise, claiming political correctness is “an incredibly enlightening and educational idea that sheds light on the truly marginalized populations living on the fringe of society — and not by choice.”
Marginalized populations living on the fringes of society? More like media-abetted, in-your-face groups of grievance-mongers who have been taught by the American Left, not only to embrace victimhood, but conflate it with virtue. And any challenge to that supposed virtue is summarily dismissed with a plethora of derogatory epithets that substitute for debate.
Yet the Left finally over-played its hand. Americans got tired of being called nativists or xenophobes because they don’t think millions of illegals are entitled to live here, or that definable and inviolable borders are passé. They got tired of being called racists for disagreeing with Obama’s policies, or believing affirmative action constitutes reverse discrimination. They got tired of being called bigots because the concept of same-sex marriage conflicts with their religious beliefs, or they disagree with the idea that biology and gender are mutually exclusive terms the federal government can force upon them, courtesy of a progressive “interpretation” of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They got tired of being labeled Islamophobic by the same people who called the Fort Hood massacre “workplace violence,” or initially scrubbed references to Islam from the transcripts of phone calls made to police by Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen.
Most of all, they got tired of an American Left whose definitions of “tolerance,” “inclusion” and “diversity” have been reduced to the idea that you either agree with them or you’re beneath contempt. Not wrong, misguided, or in error — evil.
And that goes double for the hypocrisy that is the essential ingredient of PC. During the campaign, the same Bill Clinton who promised to “make American great again” in 1991 insisted the slogan had racist implications in 2016. The same Hillary Clinton who in 2003 was “adamantly against illegal immigrants” turned around in 2016 and recruited “undocumented” Dreamers to register immigrant voters for her campaign.
After the election, “politically correct” leftists flooded Twitter with calls for Trump’s assassination, demanded the Electoral College be abolished (when they weren’t issuing death threats to Electors themselves), and insisted Trump won because “stupid” Americans were bamboozled by Russian-generated “fake news.” Or, as Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri and chief strategist Joel Benenson insisted during last Thursday’s post-election symposium at Harvard, because Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway provided “a platform for white supremacists” replete with “dog whistles sent out to people” that Trump “delivered.”
How the Left reconciles the inconvenient reality that many of the same Americans who voted for Barack Obama suddenly became attuned to racist dog whistles is anyone’s guess.
Furthermore, leftists are now insisting the American Right invented political correctness — to divide the nation, no less. “PC was a useful invention for the Republican right, asserts Guardian columnist Moira Weigel, "because it helped the movement to drive a wedge between working-class people and the Democrats who claimed to speak for them.”
Democrats did that all by themselves. From Obama’s putdown of Americans who “cling” to guns and religion, to Hillary’s dismissal of irredeemable “deplorables” — along with their media allies who for decades have derisively dismissed millions of decent Americans as rubes in “flyover country” — Democrats convinced themselves millions of working class people could be insulted and taken for granted simultaneously. Leftists grew quite comfortable trashing American traditions and exceptionalism cherished by that working class, from belittling “slave-owning” Founding Fathers and an “outdated” Constitution, to berating an “imperialist,” “war-mongering” nation born of “genocide.”
While vast swaths of working class Americans were being decimated by globalization, Democrats insisted their problems could be solved by the expansion of the welfare state and the demonization of the rich, even as Hillary was raking in $225K for 20 minute speeches sponsored by the likes of Goldman Sachs. And while that working class was struggling to put food on the table, the Obamas rang up a tab of more than $70 million spent on lavish vacations, often using separate taxpayer-supported jets to fly to the same locations.
On Nov. 8, it all collapsed. Yet instead of learning their lesson, leftists have doubled down. “There’s No Such Thing as a Good Trump Voter” declared the title of a Slate column by Jamelle Bouie. “This was a ‘white-lash’ against a changing country,” explained former Obama administration czar Van Jones before walking it back. “The blunt truth is that most Trump supporters hold bigoted views,” stated The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart. Like so many other leftists who have made similar claims — or worse — they remain willfully oblivious to the astounding double-standard attached to broad-brushing millions of decent Americans while accusing them of bigotry.
And while they continue wallowing in anger and self-pity, leftists will continue missing the proverbial boat. Despite all his shortcomings, Trump ultimately represented the bull in the politically correct china shop. For millions of Americans, the trade-off between his intemperate outbursts and their exhaustion with the Left’s ever-expanding palette of holier-than-thou demands was no contest. A long-derided electorate opted for intemperance — and the glorious freedom it represents.