Opinion Columns & Blogs

Trump backlash not just about political correctness

When I ask people who say they support Donald Trump what they like about him, I usually get only slight variations on the same answer — they like the fact that (unlike most politicians) he always speaks his mind. They often follow that up by complaining that the mainstream media has unfairly cast him in a bad light simply because he is not “politically correct.”

I think that term is being overused these days. Politically incorrect speech generally refers to something that is true but upsetting to some disadvantaged group that has come to expect some deference to be paid to them by public figures.

Some of the things that Trump has said on the campaign trail could be accurately characterized as politically incorrect, but some of the things that come out of his mouth go way beyond that and should be offensive to any rational person. Let me cite a few examples to illustrate my point.

In a recent speech, Trump called out the Democratic Party by saying that they have “failed and betrayed the African-American community” by pandering and talking down to them to get their votes. That’s politically incorrect and will certainly offend every loyal Democrat and their cheering section in the liberal press. It’s not a bad strategy either.

Going back further in time, let’s recall one of Trump’s first controversial statements about Mexican immigrants, when he said that Mexico is “not sending their best people.” He went on to mention drugs, crime, and rape as things being brought into the country by the people Mexico is “sending” us across the border.

We might call that statement politically incorrect, but it’s a lot more than that. The contention that our neighbor to the south is somehow intentionally rounding up criminals and herding them into our country is wholly without factual support. In fact, first generation immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than native-born Americans, which means that Trump’s statement amounts to a xenophobic falsehood.

On another occasion Trump made a big splash by announcing that if he is elected he will enact a ban on allowing people from Muslim countries to enter the U.S. until we can “figure out what’s going on.” That offended many people, but there was nothing untrue or scurrilous about this statement, and it brings up a valid point of discussion about our immigration policy. I’m willing to award that statement the politically incorrect label.

And then there was the time when The Donald talked about getting tougher-than-tough on terrorists. “You have to take out their families,” he said on more than one occasion. That statement also goes way beyond political correctness. It’s immoral, unethical nonsense that should have immediately disqualified him from any position of leadership in our country.

It’s true that most of the media (excluding Fox News) is biased in favor of the left and tends to be more critical of Republicans than Democrats for gaffes and lapses of behavior, but to claim that media bias and political correctness are wholly to blame for the distaste that many Americans on all sides of the political spectrum feel for Donald Trump is nonsense.

Don’t get me wrong — I am not suggesting that Hillary Clinton is a better alternative. She’s as crooked as a mountain road and probably wouldn’t even have won the Democratic nomination if it had been a fair and, well, democratic process. We should all be disgusted and embarrassed at the candidates that the two major parties have produced in 2016.

And so as I do every four years I’m going to recommend that you check out the Libertarian candidate (former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson) before you decide who to vote for. I mean seriously, how could he possibly be worse than the walking nightmares that the Democrats and Republicans have offered up this year?

Bill Ferguson is a resident of Warner Robins. Readers can write him at fergcolumn@hotmail.com.