Political Correctness Dies Hard
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published January 1, 2017 by The Washington Times.
President-elect Donald Trump said he would get rid of political correctness (PC), and it couldn’t come too soon.
But the Trump Era has not quite begun, so we’re still saddled with some PC, big and small.
On the big side, we’re being told over and over that Mr. Trump did not actually win the election, but stole it with Russian help and —- get this —- media complicity. If you don’t go along with this PC view of the election, you are some sort of cave dweller.
The Russians are said to have been behind the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee that exposed the party leaders’ contempt for everyday Americans, especially Catholics and evangelical Christians, a majority of whom voted for Mr. Trump. The Obama administration has even imposed sanctions against Moscow, and one can only wonder if that would have happened if the emails had embarrassed Republicans instead.
The media complicity charge is based on the fact that Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns or operates 173 stations, arranged for local anchors to do interviews with candidate Trump, (unlike the Big Three networks), so the fix was in. Sinclair executives say the Clinton campaign got the same offer, but the Trump campaign was more receptive.
Speaking of the “legacy media,” they’re now charging up the hill of Mr. Trump’s charitable foundation, looking for evidence of perfidy. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s neighbor, the mountainous, $2 billion Clinton Foundation, doesn’t seem to be as fun to climb, judging by the lack of media interest. Since we’re just past Christmas, there’s another example of political correctness that begs a mention. In recent years, “happy holidays” supplanted “Merry Christmas” over PC concerns that the merry greeting was not inclusive enough in our evermore diverse nation.
But since President-elect Trump declared it safe again to say Merry Christmas, more people —- even store clerks —- have been emboldened. However, old habits die hard, and some scribes at The Washington Post found a way to show their disdain not only for Mr. Trump but for the yokels who openly celebrate Christmas.
Reporting on Mr. Trump’s “thank you” tour following his election, Post writers Philip Rucker and John Wagner filed a story from the fever swamp —- Mobile, Alabama. They noted that Mr. Trump spoke in front of a 50-foot cedar tree “which aides installed behind his stage with a crane.”
The tree, they reported on the Post’s front page, “was decorated with Christmas ornaments larger than human heads.”
Say what? Why not volley balls? Or basketballs? No, “human heads.” This was a way to inject a grotesque element into the Trump story and trumpet their Beltway sophistication, PC savvy and contempt for middle-American culture.
Like-minded colleagues in the newsroom must have given them a high five. More thoughtful ones probably held back, wondering how far they can push this stuff without losing even more readers.
On the small side of political correctness, a couple of the Rockettes’ refusal to perform with their troupe at the Trump inauguration reveals standard PC hypocrisy. The same liberals who are defending the aggrieved Rockettes as if they were Soviet dissidents have no problem with Christian bakers, florists, photographers and wedding planners to violate their faith and conscience by being forced to provide services for same-sex weddings.
Finally, there was comedian Steve Martin’s tweet this week about Carrie Fisher. Following Ms. Fisher’s death at age 60 on Tuesday, Mr. Martin sent out a tweet that he obviously considered a tribute to the actress who played Princess Leia in the Star Wars films:
“When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher she [sic] was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen,” Martin wrote on Twitter. “She turned out to be witty and bright as well.”
The big, honking buzzer indicating a PC violation sounded immediately, and Mr. Martin removed the post. Never mind the “witty and bright” part. He actually said she was “beautiful.”
New York Magazine’s Claire Landsbaum took particular umbrage, writing that, “[Martin’s] characterization of Leia —- as a [fantasy] for prepubescent men —- is something Fisher spoke out against her whole career.”
Well, you can read a lot into someone’s tweet, especially if you write for New York Magazine.
There is a serious discussion to be had about the misuse of sex in cinema and the exploitation of young actresses. But the silly PC part is that Mr. Martin was thrashed for saying something that millions of women would love to hear —- that they are “beautiful.”
Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, it comes in many forms. Proverbs 31 warns that “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,” but that “a woman who fears (reveres) the Lord is to be praised.”
Unlike PC, this wisdom has stood the test of time.