politics

A Guide to Political Correctness

It seems like every day someone famous says or does something that is considered politically incorrect. And predictably, they lose their job. Or they’re vilipended throughout the land and savagely excoriated in the press. Even after they apologize.

It happens to us less famous citizens as well. One carelessly spoken word or sentence that treads upon someone’s sensitivities can end a career or ruin a relationship. Because what happens on the global stage tends to be emulated at the local level.

In this day of extreme political polarization we all have to learn how to be politically correct. For some this is easy. They just keep their mouths shut. But others seem to have no clue.

Sometimes I can be clueless myself, as evidenced by this post. But I’m just trying to help. I wrote this guide to political correctness because I’m trying to eliminate confusion as to what is politically correct, and keep everyone gainfully employed and in rewarding relationships.

I’ve found that one way to stay PC while opening one’s mouth is to keep abreast of current events. That way you know what is currently in vogue and considered correct actions and speech. I’ve been doing just that, avidly watching both FOX news and MSNBC news, so that I can learn from both sides of the political spectrum just what is considered politically correct.

The following are some lessons these TV news networks have taught me:

It’s politically correct to kneel while the National Anthem is played, to show that black lives matter and police can be brutal. But at the same time you should always stand with your hand over your heart, because to do otherwise is disrespectful to the flag.

It’s politically correct to stand up for your religious beliefs and refuse services to homosexuals, if homosexuality is against your religion. But it’s also politically correct to have no religious beliefs against homosexuality, and to offer services to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. Because to do otherwise ignores genetic science and discriminates without good cause.

It’s politically correct to discourage all forms of gun ownership, as guns are a major cause of violent deaths in our country. But it’s also politically correct to own and carry the latest and most powerful assault rifles you can afford. Because otherwise crime will run rampant, and we also will have no way to rise up in armed revolution when Armageddon arrives and Satan takes over America.

It’s politically correct to protect the lives of unborn children, by requiring women to carry their pregancies to full-term. But it’s also politically correct to give women the right to choose what they do with their bodies. Because to do otherwise allows men to control women and helps maintain a patriarchal society.

You see? All you have to do is watch both FOX news and MSNBC news, and you’ll eliminate all confusion as to what is politically correct.

But here’s what I believe is the most important lesson in political correctness:

You may have noticed that some of the examples listed above tend to slightly contradict each other. Of course they contradict. Politics by its very nature is contradictory. Politics is about disagreement and debate. It’s about people thinking differently and expressing their differences. It’s a forum for hashing out issues, as humanity seeks answers.

And when you look at it that way, the contradictions above are not confusing, they’re enlightening.

Healthy debate enlightens and ultimately unites. It’s unhealthy debate that leaves us struggling endlessly for answers, over issues that could have been resolved long ago. And it’s unhealthy debate that divides and polarizes, and leaves us fearful and suspicious of each other.

Healthy debate makes every example I listed above, politically correct examples. But unhealthy debate renders them politically incorrect.

Healthy debate becomes unhealthy when someone says or does something we disagree with, and we take offense. Then we demonize that person. We act like victims and treat them as perpetrators. And we attack them personally and may even attempt to put their jobs and relationships in jeopardy.

This drives many who would debate, into silence. It slows the free exchange of ideas. And it makes everything that would otherwise be politically correct, politically incorrect.

But we, ordinary citizens, don’t do this alone. We get a lot of help from political pundits, who profit from unhealthy debate. They are the ones who publicly foster and encourage the demonization of those who hold views they disagree with. They are the ones who turn the politically correct into the politically incorrect. And they are the ones behind the schisms and polarization that currently paralyzes our politics.

Political pundits work in a big industry, for big money. And there’s so many of them, I can’t name them all. But here’s one or two that come to mind:

Rush Limbaugh
Al Sharpton
Gloria Allred
Sarah Palin
Howard Dean
Rachel Maddow
Glenn Beck
Sean Hannity
Arianna Huffington
Ann Coulter
Keith Olbermann
Laura Ingraham
Maureen Dowd
Alex Jones
Tucker Carlson
James Carville

Many of these pundits have their own separate talk show, column, or other forum. They’re lone wolves scavenging off the political landscape. Wouldn’t it be better if they were all put together to debate in the same venue?

Then they’d either kill each other or learn how to debate in a healthy, diplomatic manner. And if the latter came true, we’d have an example to learn from and follow. An example that could improve the health of public debate, and turn that which is politically incorrect into political correctness.

What might happen if all the political pundits had to debate each other in the same room. If they didn’t kill each other, instead.

[ Note: This post was inspired by a recent interaction I had with GP Cox. GP Cox has an excellent, well-researched blog about the Pacific Theater of World War II, which you might want to check out if you’re a history buff.]

Categories: politics

31 replies »

  1. I got it now! Thank you. To be politically correct, all you have to do is demonstrate double standards, rampant hypocrisy, be totally self-serving, and have a complete and total disregard for anybody else. Oh ………… and be so diplomatic that at least some people think you’re really good! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. You are very helpful in explaining the whole crazy world of political correctness. Unlike yesterday, I did not have to ask my unicorn to explain your post. Totally understood. Though I do have one question. Is it politically correct for me to ride and talk to a unicorn?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is excellent, Mr. Gnu. I find that so often I can’t discuss these things with others; I’ve heard more than once, “I don’t want to argue,” to which I’ve responded, “This isn’t an argument–only a discussion.”

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  4. On many political issues, the two sides are at an impasse. I am tired of trying to “have a conversation” with those whose intention is to convert me rather than understand my point of view. If your gesture is respectful, does it matter if it’s a hand over your heart or getting down on one knee? Do evangelical bakers really believe refusing to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple will keep them from getting married? I’m not against people owning guns if they are legally obtained and operated with care and discretion, but nobody really “needs” an assault rifle for personal protection, do they? I’m not 100% against abortion as there are valid reasons a woman might choose to have one. Pundits use this stuff as distraction… we’re so busy debating about whether it’s OK to write “Congratulations, Adam and Steve!” on a wedding cake that we forget that our ballot might have been tampered with by the Russians, or that the FBI might be monitoring our phone conversations and bank accounts, or that we have to buy a 3 oz bottle of shampoo and get felt up by TSA before we can board an airplane. Wake up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it does get tiring trying to talk with someone who only wants to convert, but not understand. I believe that mutual understanding is all that’s needed in a debate. After that solutions to issues tend to arise naturally, in a form of free exchange of ideas. But mutual understanding is required first. It’s an absolute must.

      I agree that the big issues are often swamped by the small issues. But if we can’t resolve the small issues, we sure can’t address the big ones effectively. To me it’s not so much the issues, but our ineffective approach to resolving them. And that’s why very little gets accomplished.

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  5. Yay! Someone who shares my opinion that all these talking heads in the media are responsible for so much of the vicious divisiveness today. It’s not their opinions that are the issue, it’s the language and tone they set. They leave no room for discussion. You either agree, or you are worthless, stupid scum. The problem is that we are all starting to emulate them because we think that’s a normal response to something we believe in.

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