First, to be clear – I loathe Donald Trump. I think he is vile, racist, misogynistic, opportunistic, fundamentally dishonest, and dangerous. But, for those who don’t understand why Trump is winning, it is not because his supporters are racist, homophobic, xenophobic, or agoraphobic (though some may be). This position of our Department of Justice that we can’t call convicts and felons “convicts” or “felons” because it hurts their self-esteem is a perfect example of why Trump supporters are angry. People are supporting Trump because of his blatant and vehement rejection of our hyper-politically correct society and the culture of victimism that it creates. People are angry about the way this hyper-politically correct world is destroying their vision of America, and so they want to “Make America Great Again.”
When the criminal justice wing of the Department of Justice won’t call felons, offenders, and convicts “felons,” “offenders” or “convicts” because it hurts their self-esteem, we have truly jumped the shark in the world of hyper-political correctness. This sort of overblown political correctness is infuriating to many Americans, and they turn to Trump as a rejection of this ideology. When we are more worried about coddling the emotional well-being of rapists, murderers, thieves and fraudsters than we are about the real victims of their rape, murder, theft and fraud, we have lost the heart of what it means to be Americans in pursuit of the American Dream. And people are vehemently angry that the American Dream is being stripped away by political correctness. That is why Trump’s “Making America Great Again” theme is working.
By the American Dream I mean the ideal that every American should have an opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. When following the American Dream, Americans are independent and innovative. Americans pick themselves up by their boot-straps. Americans overcome their personal challenges Americans are accountable for their own actions and reap the rewards of their own hard work. Americans understand that respect is earned, not given. Americans strive for greatness. When following the American Dream, people can be proud to be an American.
In contrast, the inherent victimism at the center of the pseudo-psychological Hyper-political correctness embraced by the Department of Justice is the antithesis of the American Dream. The position of the Department of Justice is designed to shame and blame Americans for somehow emotionally failing these criminals who prey upon our society, rather than holding the criminals accountable for their own actions. The idea that someone who has been convicted of a felony cannot be called a felon by the law-enforcement community because it hurts their self-esteem is absurd, and it angers Trump followers that our government is the center of this type of absurdity. These criminals are not children or people with disabilities who needs empowerment. These are adults who broke the American social contract for their own gain. These criminals broke the law and must deal with the consequences of their actions, including the recognition that they are criminals, convicts, offenders, and felons.
Is it good for society to help these people re-integrate once they are released from prison? Of course it is. It makes it less likely they will re-offend and promotes social harmony. But they do not get to shift the responsibility of their own actions onto others because their feelings are somehow being hurt hurt. These criminals are not the victims, they are the perpetrators. This blaming of surrounding circumstances for the purposeful failings of individuals is un-American, and this hyper-political correctness infuriates many people who are turning to Trump as the only visible alternative.
When Trump uses his bombastic, often offensive, language to reject political correctness it resonates because he is right. Political correctness is a destructive fiction that makes people believe that they have some sort of right to be protected from the harsh realities of life… Protected from having their feelings hurt. And Trump’s message is resonating because this hyper-political correctness is un-American and his followers see how it threatens the American Dream.
To put it simply, there is no American right to be coddled. There is no American right to be protected against insult or “micro-aggressions.” In fact, the concept of micro-aggression is absurdly un-American in its central theme of victimism. There is no American right to have your native country and culture be co-equal with America in our schools and society. While we should celebrate our differences, such celebration should be second to celebrating our unity as Americans. There is no American right to wealth, success or happiness. The Declaration of Independence cites the “pursuit of happiness” and the pursuit is all you are entitled to. Whether you succeed or fail in that pursuit is up to you, regardless of the various obstacles in your path.
If you find another’s words insulting or demeaning, your redress is to prove them wrong. Not to claim victimhood based on hurt feelings so have an excuse to not to achieve your part of the American Dream. If you don’t like being labeled a convict, offender, or felon, then work to make the label irrelevant. If the label is irrelevant, then people won’t use it. No one refers to Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, or Kweisi Mfume as convicts, felons, or offenders. They faced adversity and became greater for it. They continued their pursuit and succeeded.
If you are going to “achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative” then you need to be able to face adversity. The American Dream is achieving despite the obstacles in your path. This may include the fact that you were born into economic hardship, are a recent immigrant, or that others disagree with your religious beliefs. And if you are offended by the words and positions of others, that is another adversity that you need to be able to face to achieve your piece of the American Dream. In fact, what is American is freedom of speech. That includes having unpopular opinions presented to you from people you disagree with. That includes the public presentation of religious views that you may disagree with. That even includes Nazis marching in Skokie, Illinois.
This is not to say that certain norms of society that are not essential to civil discourse. Racism, misogyny, religious intolerance, homophobia, and discrimination are also utterly un-American. They erode the ability of others to pursue the American Dream and should be legislated against and scorned. However, discrimination occurs when your rights are infringed upon, not when your feelings are hurt by the words of another. Discrimination exists when a person in a position of power wields that power against another because of race, religion, gender, or disability. The mere fact that some people are racists, misogynists, bigoted against religious beliefs or homophobes is not a violation of anyone rights. Nor are public statements about their hateful positions, even if such statements are directed at an individual. That is free speech, and each person is responsible for their own reaction to such viewpoints. Jack McCain just showed us how to deal with small-minded individuals who spout hate and derision… You stand up strong and call them out. You don’t wilt and surrender due to “disempowerment” or cite your “lack of privilege” as an excuse for failure. You stand up and fight for your piece of the American Dream.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be polite. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respect others. It doesn’t mean that you should bloviate offensive inanities like Trump. It just means that impoliteness, and political incorrectness are not offenses against society that excuse an individual’s failure to succeed. If you are discriminated against seek appropriate redress, the legal system is set up to handle such cases and routinely does so. If your feelings get hurt, deal with it. Deal with it like Jack McCain did – call people out for their insults and offenses. Stand up for yourself and advocate for your own part of the American Dream. However, if you choose to become a victim to the emotional stress created by the words of others, that is your failure to pursue the American Dream and no one is to blame but you.
Of course, all of American Dream stuff is counter to society’s validation of victimhood through their hyper-political correctness, such as the recent Justice Department’s position on felons and convicts. Hyper-political correctness excuses people from pursuing their piece of the American Dream and shames those who to try to succeed despite obstacles. This is destructive to the core of what it means to be American because it makes people believe they have a right to happiness rather than the right to pursue their happiness. The Trump supporters are rejecting this destruction of their American Dream, and that is why they are rallying to the cry of Making America Great Again.