Trumpism’s straw man war against “political correctness”


Skittles. It had to be Skittles.

In his 18-month quest to ruin everything that is good and laudible about America, Donald Trump’s campaign has finally come for my favorite fruit-flavored candy. And not even the apocryphal pastel ones.

Yesterday Donald Trump Jr tweeted an analogy comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles.

It’s not a new analogy, but it’s also not even close to proportionally correct either. In order to accurately compare the threat of Syrian refugees to the total US population, you’d need more than 3 billion Skittles in a swimming pool. And now I’m hungry.

There’s a more fundamental problem with Trump’s argument, though. A “politically correct agenda” is not what drives our refugee program. We accept refugees from war-torn countries because we are a good and moral people, and it is the right thing to do. Especially when we’ve been meddling in those wars and making them worse.

But we don’t do it blindly. We have a two-year vetting process to weed out potential terrorists or criminals. It’s a pretty good system. It’s not foolproof, of course, but no system is, especially in the federal government. That doesn’t mean we shut it down completely.

“Political correctness” is the primary bogeyman of Trumpism. It is used to rail against all kinds of inherently American things, like the Sixth Amendment, the asylum and refugee programs, proven policing techniques, even immigration iself. All these things have valid, moral, and utilitarian reasons for being supported, none of which has anything to do with “political correctness”.

There is some legitimate grievance Trump and his supporters have with political correctness stifling speech, especially on college campuses over the last decade. People get tired of being told their seemingly innocuous speech or jokes are offensive, so they move even further in the other direction. That doesn’t excuse “political correctness” becoming a catch-all dog-whistle for everything you oppose, no matter the cause.

There’s a line between being free to speak your mind without political correctness and just refusing to be a decent human being reflexively. Trump crossed that line long ago.

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