The culture of political correctness that the left so adores is both the reason for Trump’s election and the division that exists today.
Chastised by his innumerable critics while silently applauded by his supporters, President Trump has been deconstructing the politically correct culture that has become prevalent in today’s society. From the very first days of his campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump was unafraid to speak his mind, whether his opinion was popular in the press or not. This eventually led critics on one end to use his supposed inability to refine a clear message as a way to attack his temperament, question the implications of his message, and warn of his demagoguery. Despite the numerous rescinded endorsements, calls to drop from the race, and talk of a Hillary Clinton landslide, Donald Trump won the presidency. His unexpected victory is attributable, in no small part, to his rejection of the overly sensitive “politically correct” culture. He gave a voice to those who had lost their own, having been stifled by the coddling culture of political correctness that had contributed to the rise of “safe-spaces,” demonstrations against “hate-speech” and facilitation of “trigger warnings.” Those who had propelled Trump through the primaries to the Republican nomination were tired of playing nice and those same people, in addition to those who found Hillary abhorrent, helped to propel him to the presidency.
In office, President Trump has not abandoned his off-the-cuff approach to a single controversy, using his Twitter feed to voice his opinion and fire back at his detractors. His firebrand presidency stands in stark contrast to the refined presidency of Barack Obama, a skilled orator who took care in phrasing his statements so they pandered to the broader public. Since taking office, President Trump has kept the gloves off, firing back at Morning Joe hosts, slamming Hillary Clinton (numerous times), criticizing Senators Murkowski, Collins, and McCain for voting against the GOP’s health care repeal bills, and railing against the football players who refuse to stand for the national anthem. The press, especially CNN (an outlet consistently blasted by the president as “fake news”) has been swift in issuing criticism and questioning whether President Trump truly wants to “heal the wounds of division” and unite the country or, as a recent CNN article proclaimed, whether his intention is to “Divide not Unite.”
In the storm of media coverage, tweets, and celebrity virtue signaling, it is easy to overlook the eroding of PC culture. Both left and right, invigorated by the rhetoric of both President and candidate Trump have decided to drop all pretenses of pleasantry. The idea of political correctness is, in essence, a way to avoid offending anyone’s sensibilities, regardless of your own opinion. Under President Obama, this culture flourished as everyone believed they were a winner but, under President Trump, it is an uphill battle as Democrats try to recover from their overwhelming losses from 2012 and onward. Meanwhile, Republicans fight to keep their right to voice their opinions. The left, champions of political correctness that they are, have now engaged in that which they once despised; name calling, protestation of the president on any grounds, obstructionism, demonization of the president’s supporters, and even physical violence and property damage. On the right, the free-speech enthusiasts who felt silenced by the influx of liberalism under number 44, are fighting even harder with President Trump as their leader in the war on political correctness, countering the left’s tactics at the ballot box and with their wallets as well. While the left maintains its media monopoly, the right retains the silent majority, holding the power of viewership and voicing their opinion through changing the channel. President Trump’s supporters made their displeasure known by boycotting the Emmy’s, leading to an all-time low in viewership, the NFL seems doomed to the same fate.
Ironically, as the left fights against the “bully” President Trump and seeks to maintain the beliefs and lifestyle that they had enjoyed under the former president and hoped to enjoy under a second Clinton administration, they undermine their own efforts and further chip away at the block of political correctness that they established. Through their calling conservatives “fascists,” “Nazis,” “white supremacists,” and “deplorables,” the left smashes a basic pillar of political correctness, the belief that everyone is equal and we should all coexist without offending one another is completely forgotten as they wage war on a new enemy, unbridled speech. What is better, after all: convincing the other side of what you believe is right, or lambasting them as alt-right caricatures?
For eight years Republicans and conservatives were rebuffed in their crusade to end the pervasive political correctness while the left sought to undermine the First Amendment (as it still does), but now, those Republicans are finally in the driver’s seat. What does the left do in this situation? They wage war on Free Speech rallies (not in the same vein as that of Charlottesville), silence conservative speakers on campus, and wage war on even the ACLU to redefine its definition of “free speech.” Ironically, through their own actions, the left is acting as a chauffeur, channeling and keeping the right on track as they seek to undo that which they were complacent in creating. In rebuffing the right, the left has presented itself as a common enemy and given the opposition a common goal, igniting a fire where only a smolder once existed.
Devon Spiva is a freshman studying political science. He is a new contributor to The Arch Conservative.