Cruel and Vindictive are not Requirements for Being Politically Incorrect

Written by Jill Chapin. Posted in Opinion, Politics

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Published on January 09, 2016 with No Comments

Facebook/Lalo Alcaraz

Facebook/Lalo Alcaraz

By Jill Chapin

January 9, 2016

I’m a big fan of candidates telling hard truths to a public who really would prefer not to hear them. Besides being refreshing, you get the unfamiliar sensation that your intelligence is not being insulted with platitudes and pre-packaged sound bites.

This is a tremendous reason why much of Donald Trump’s appeal has resonated across the country. He can finance his own campaign so no one is directing his message and, no matter our party affiliation, we are nevertheless impressed by how much more a candidate can deliver when he or she is unshackled by their handlers.

When he criticizes Washington, he is pummeling his own party, because both houses of congress have an approval rating hovering around nine or ten percent. This is the kind of political incorrectness that is like a breath of fresh air.

But when he turns petty and mean and hits below the belt, the air turns fetid, and too often we are left squirming in our seats, wishing he had not taken that malicious turn.

When he goes after physical flaws with gusto, attacking someone with physical disabilities, or someone’s weight, or skin flaws, or hormonal fluctuations or phantom criminal backgrounds or bathroom breaks that have absolutely nothing to do with running our country, you start to wonder how his schoolyard bullying would play out in our living rooms, much less the world stage. Would we be comfortable watching a President Trump spew out hateful personal attacks with our children watching, after spending so much effort trying to teach them to be kind? Would a President Trump understand the nuances of political diplomacy and the ramifications of even one misplaced word? How would the world react to his wildly inflammatory campaign promise that “I will absolutely use a nuclear weapon against ISIS”?

Does he not get that all presidents have undoubtedly wanted to speak in unfiltered terms to our enemies, but understood the catastrophic possibilities of unintended consequences if they did so?

But more importantly, do voters get this? Venting and being politically incorrect can be constructive without being personally denigrating. Just listen to Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. How much more politically incorrect can one be in asserting his socialist credentials in an American presidential election? He goes after insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and big banks – those who are inflicting massive economic havoc on us voters. Why go after someone’s appearance when it would not benefit one voter to do so?

Donald Trump reminds me of a safety valve that relieves the pressure and frustration of feeling that we have lost control of our lives. I wonder if he could be as effective a candidate if he could shutter his mean-spiritedness and just focus on real and relevant issues.

Here’s a good test to see if he could. Read one of his stump speeches and black out all the cruel and petty comments and then see what is left. If people prefer the speech with the personal attacks included, then our country has a bigger problem than this spiteful candidate; we have a problem with ourselves.

Jill Chapin

Jill Chapin has been a guest writer and columnist in several Los Angeles area papers for over fifteen years. She has written a bilingual parenting book titled, "If You Have Kids, Then Be a Parent!" and a children's book entitled, "My Magic Bubble."

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