Donald Trump has hijacked the virtue of political correctness as being a simple act of respect, wrongfully making it out to be an impossible standard for debates.
Political correctness is the ability to not be a jerk when approaching delicate issues.
In a recent interview with NBC News’ Katy Tur, Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, said that he doesn’t plan to make any changes to his campaign strategy yet, except for possibly being more politically correct.
Despite his newfound sensitivity, Trump credits some of his success in the polls to his lack of political correctness, and said that America does not have time to focus on being politically correct.
“Being politically correct takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of effort,” Trump said.
Trump’s misguided ideas on what it means to be a politically correct person shows that he is not right for the White House.
Trump said that he sees many of his opponents falling victim to political correctness, and are too careful with their words as to not offend any potential voters.
Trump’s interview with Tur wasn’t the first time he has claimed that he doesn’t have time to be thoughtful.
He said the same thing in response to the infamous question asked by Megyn Kelly during the first GOP debate on Fox News. The question was about a litany of disparaging comments the candidate made about women’s looks, including a comment he made on the television show Celebrity Apprentice about a contestant being on her knees.
“I think the big problem in this country is being politically correct,” Trump said. He went on to say, that he doesn’t “have time for total political correctness,” in his NBC interview.
Trump’s comments are indicative of a larger movement within the conservative ideology to move away from thoughtful speech that is perceived as debilitating to open discourse.
Republican candidate Bobby Jindal told Jenna Lee of Fox News that “the reality is we need a president who will stop being politically correct.”
If there’s one thing that Americans should feel free to demand of their leaders, it’s that they be thoughtful.
Being politically correct does not mean that all talking points are immediately off the table because something might be said that would offend someone. It means presenting ideas in a thoughtful and considerate way when talking about sensitive issues.
Issues like immigration are highly complex and need to be discussed, but perhaps when talking about people who risk everything to be in this country, politicians can take the few extra seconds to say “undocumented immigrants,” as opposed to “illegals.”
In their approach to complex problems, in their discourse with world leaders and in their everyday communication, politicians need to understand that every decision they make has far reaching implications. That’s why they call it diplomacy.
It’s time for politicians like Trump and Jindal to stop acting like political correctness is somehow a terrible inconvenience, and for them to start being honest as to why they really don’t use it: They’re lazy.