It is not shitting on America to explore institutional problems the deserve our attention any more than it would be shitting on your children to suggest they learn to clean their rooms, and find at least one subject of study they can pursue with excellence at school. Certainly no more than it would be shitting on America to suggest “we let too many immigrants in,” and “liberals have destroyed our values.” I agree with neither statement, and I tire of hearing the tropes, but shitting on America?

No.

Shitting on immigrants and liberals, perhaps.

Probably.

Umair exagerrates in some instances. Not as to the merciless abuse employees face in the workplace, but the fact that other civilized countries don’t experience the same conditions, if not worse. But he makes a reasonable, well considered argument. American enterprise and success are built, at least in part, on a model of bullying. You can’t succeed in school without learning to cope with bullying, and it is merciless. And, far too often, the administrators determined to protect the bullied, do so by bullying other students into submission. Only they see their actions as protecting, not bullying.

What is at the heart of Trump’s bugaboo, “political correctness?” It’s bullying to people into accepting, or not challenging, the political manners of the bully. I’ve witnessed bullying by right wingers, leftists, feminists, Christians, school officials, bosses, co-workers, and any one else who believes their flavor of political or social expression should be compulsory (a distinctly unAmerican idea).

And Trump uses bullying as his primary weapon. You won’t cave in to my demands. I will scorch the earth with your flaming skin. Pretend to accept my terms? You’re my best friend and get to play with my diplomatic toys.

Americans who can’t reflect upon and examine their personal (and the country’s) shortcomings have abandoned their responsibilities as citizens. If they choose to do so, fine. But don’t then point the finger at the person who is willing to reflect and examine and blame him for polluting the system.

Whether you believe it or not, whether you like it or not, they’re defending your freedom more than you.

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Living metaphor. Follow me @stephens_pt.

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