Telling It Like It Is

Donald Trump’s victory is, among other things, an indication of the frustrations around so-called “political correctness.” Over the course of the election process, I talked with many Trumpsters who insisted that one of the things that they like most about their man was his willingness to say what he feels. He tells it like it is! Early on in the process Mike Tyson observed that much of Trump’s popularity was due to the fact that, like Tyson, The Donald lacks an internal censor and tends to blurt out whatever is on his mind or his id.

But now that Trump and his throng of followers have repealed the informal strictures of political correctness, we all ought to be open to telling it like we think it is. And so I feel safe in assuming that Trumps epigones will not take offense at my candor.

Yesterday in his victory speech, Trump stated, “Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and Independents across this nation, I say it’s time for us to come together as one united people. It's time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me.”

The man who only a fortnight ago told us that he might not accept the results of the election if he lost now tells us, “It’s time to come together.”

The unity that Trump is suddenly advocating for would of course involve my having a respectful attitude toward the many millions of fellow citizens who supported a candidate who, among other things, repeatedly and unapologetically made myriad racist and misogynist statements.

If a colleague of mine were to do this, and not express remorse, I would find it difficult to look him or her in the eye. Now that we have surpassed the era of political correctness, I can come right out and confess that I am perplexed as to how I am to understand or respect those who ardently support someone who spews the kind of garbage that parents have to apologize to their kids for.

Did he ever offer a sincere apology to the Khan family? To Senator McCain? To Megyn Kelly? To the disabled reporter he mocked? Of course not! Though he was the champion of evangelicals, when asked, Trump could not recall a single deed that he repented for. And we are supposed to make peace with this man and his followers? At the risk of seeming politicalIy incorrect—I don’t think so!

Gordon Marino is professor of philosophy and director of the Hong/Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College. His most recent book is The Existentialist’s Survival Guide: How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age (HarperOne).

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