There’s an interesting thing about the people who rant about “political correctness,” such as Donald Trump. They’re not against political correctness, exactly; after all, “political correctness” is just a term for standards of public behavior that are expected in order for you to not be considered rude or worse.
They’re very much for political correctness when it suits them—they just don’t call it that. Their war against the term “political correctness” is actually just an attempt to co-opt the phenomenon itself in order redefine social standards. The end goal is to enforce their own version of what is and is not socially acceptable as the new status quo.
So when conservative talking heads rant about “liberal snowflakes,” the projection is staggering. They use the word “triggered,” a term used in psychology to describe something that makes a patient recall trauma, to condescend to those on the left when they feel upset about social standards they do not believe should exist, or that they should be beholden to.
Yet it’s pretty easy to show how hollow and hypocritical the “free speech, I hate political correctness” ideology is on the right—and the #TriggerAConservativeIn2Words hashtag is proving it by highlighting topical issues that have conservatives frothing at the mouth. After #TriggerALiberalIn4Words trended this morning, it was immediately drowned out by the responding tag:
We should start a hashtag #TriggerAConservativeIn2Words
Gun Control. Planned Parenthood. Happy holidays. Climate change. Gay marriage. Women's rights. Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama, Political correctness, etc. It only takes two words.
— Nicole #BoycottNRA 🚫 (@Nicks_P_) March 4, 2018
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) March 4, 2018
Hillary won. #TriggerAConservativeIn2Words
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) March 4, 2018
— Deep State Boss (@602Erik) March 4, 2018
— J Brokaw (@Julesitter) March 4, 2018
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) March 4, 2018
— Political Fire (@JailTheTrumps) March 4, 2018
Immigrants welcome #TriggerAConservativeIn2Words
— Amy (@PrplMnkyCupcake) March 4, 2018
— Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) March 4, 2018
— Katie (@katorade27) March 4, 2018
— кαу ιи тнє fяαу (@tngsmama) March 4, 2018
— Janet (@JanetThoma) March 4, 2018
— Patrick Woulfe (@PatrickLimo) March 4, 2018
Black President #TriggerAConservativeIn2Words
— Cyrus McQueen (@CyrusMMcQueen) March 4, 2018
— Dr. DaShanne Stokes (@DaShanneStokes) March 4, 2018
— ELIZABETH le FEY (@globelamp) March 4, 2018
– Barack Obama
– Hillary Clinton
– Gun Control
– Universal Healthcare
– Equal Rights
– White Privilege
– Food Stamps
– Black People
– Powerful Women #TriggerAConservativeIn2Words
— Nate Roy (@natehoIe) March 4, 2018
— Trumpette (@Trumpetteco) March 4, 2018
— Mueller Time🗽 (@pavel_mitov) March 4, 2018
— Bimmerella🌊 (@bimmerella) March 4, 2018
— Mara Jade 🌊🌊🌊 #BoycottNRA ☠️ (@MaraJade_2017) March 4, 2018
Woman President #TriggerAConservativeIn2Words
— 🐝 RC McEntire (@RCMhere) March 4, 2018
A few more that #TriggerAConservativeIn2Words
Democrats advocate & defend them.
Republicans oppose them all.
— Trinity (@TrinityResists) March 4, 2018
#TriggerAConservativeIn2Words Teenage Activists
— Brian Coady (@boxsterman77) March 4, 2018
— Jaime Lopez (@Lopeezie) March 4, 2018
Democratic socialism #TriggerAConservativeIn2Words
— Trump can't read 🤡🚫📖 (@StraightOutta16) March 4, 2018
— 🛡️Tommy Juanso🌊 (@TomJuanAtty2018) March 4, 2018
— NT Herrgott (@NTHerrgott) March 4, 2018
Gay Cake #TriggerAConservativeIn2Words
— Very Stable Genius Viking Cat (@jasonpowell77) March 4, 2018
#TriggerAConservativeIn2Words MUELLER'S COMING
— Country Simple (@CountrySympl) March 4, 2018
— Covfefe *Doc* Filange (@GreysGirl32) March 4, 2018
Spell check #TriggerAConservativeIn2Words
— CTL (@Leetoddchris) March 4, 2018
It’s laughable that conservatives think that liberals are easily “triggered” when their entire movement is based in whiny angst and anger. Berating others and ranting about the state of existence, how things were better in the old days, that the world is changing and not for the better, etc., is pretty much cornerstone content for the entire conservative media establishment, and has been for decades.
Beyond that, the media is a mirror for the people who consume it. If Fox News didn’t get viewers and Breitbart didn’t get clicks, they wouldn’t exist. The Republican base craves outrage about change. It’s the national party of “Get off my lawn and take your gay cake with you!” How can someone possibly be eternally mad about things and somehow come to the conclusion that it’s everyone else who is thin-skinned? The world may never know.
When Donald Trump blames political correctness for something, he’s actually expressing frustration that our current system of social values will result in him being held accountable in media coverage and public opinion for saying certain things he thinks, which makes him feel disliked and alone. He wants to be able to say those things and not feel that way. Yet saying racist and misogynist things is not acceptable, and the battle has already been lost in the court of public opinion on whether overt hate is okay (it’s not). So instead of directly trying to make a case for why he should be able to say those things, as that case has been lost, he rants about “political correctness.” Pretty simple.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images