For Republicans, it may not be about being conservative

political-correctness-610x400-zSurprise, surprise, those Republican candidates who drone on about Donald Trump not really being a conservative may be right. But the perplexing question for them becomes, “So what if Republican voters really don’t care about that?”

Trump is popular, much more popular that any of the candidates pleading for conservative purity in their nominee. This is a shock to them as well as conservatives, including those on Fox News, the man named “Rush,” and “the conscience,” Glenn Beck.

Greg Sargent writes on-line for the Washington Post on Friday, January 29, 2016, “What if a lot of GOP voters don’t really care if Trump is a ‘real conservative’?” He writes:

Trump supporters aren’t particularly ideological. They are frustrated because they think America is in decline economically, culturally and militarily, threatened by other nations on the world stage and by foreigners here at home. They don’t care about economic arguments in favor of free trade or constitutional arguments for executive restraint. They don’t bat an eye when Trump touts the importance of government seizures of private property for non-public use or the virtues of single-payer healthcare….

A recent post on CNN politics, focuses on the words of Trump supporters. For many, the first thing that they mention is that he is the anti-Political Correctness figure in America. Actually, I’m not quite sure how many of these Trump supporters even know what political correctness is. I have a sense that they are feeling more of a visceral opposition to so much of what is considered proper, or “the right thing to do.”

I have previously written about how our schools and the educational system that we have in the United States tend to be Standardized-Educationfactories for conservatives. Maybe I should have better said factories for alienated and disenfranchised people. For so many in our society, school meant being told what to do, when to do it, and actually what they should think (perish the thought of student’s own critical thinking or creativity). All the teachers in the schools who put down students for being “stupid” or just not knowing “how to be” may have created a “revenge movement” which Trump may be riding to the Republican nomination. This is not the revenge of the nerds; it’s a kind of backlash from the former students who were angry on a daily basis at the teachers and administrators at schools who wanted the kids to fit into a tight rigid box. All this sounds a little like rebelling against political correctness.

Oppression is school is much more of a common experience for students than anything else that may move students to be politically conservative or liberal. Frankly, I don’t know why it has taken so long. Perhaps it has been with us for fifty years or more, but it took a Trump to bring the water to a boil. He is showing a side of the American people, of our body politic, that has not been previously visible.

If you don’t like this apparent direction that our country is moving in, you might want to talk with teachers and administrators in schools about letting up on the homework, the humiliation, and the invisible pressure. Liberals are as much responsible for this as conservatives. We all have to clean up this house so that we don’t have runaway Trumps.

  • Stacy Mergenthal

    My 3rd grader brought home a bushel of school papers today, as he does every Friday. Many of them are assignments given in class or homework that has been returned to the student. I was shocked to see that on one of his papers his teacher had put a big red ‘F’ on it. The in-class assignment was incomplete. When I asked my son about it, he burst into tears. He felt that he wasn’t given adequate time to complete the worksheet and was deeply ashamed of that ‘F’. There doesn’t seem to be any wiggle room for these kids. They are given an assignment and a set time and if they don’t finish it, they are graded accordingly. It’s so discouraging to kids. It’s a wonder they keep trying after so much negative feedback.

    It is easy to make someone feel like a failure when they are given a rigid and unreasonable set of parameters to worth within. Though I personally think Trump is a ridiculous side show, in some ways I am rooting for the people supporting him. They may be disillusioned and misinformed, among other things, but they are rejecting the establishment, as liberals are with Bernie Sanders. Good for them.

    That said, we definitely have work to do on the education front. Critical thinking seems to be going the way of cursive handwriting: it is not being taught, encouraged, or enhanced. Too much of school work is simply busy work that accomplishes very little in terms of actually learning something. It is simply stressful for everyone. And the feedback teachers are giving students can actually do more harm than good.

  • Arthur Lieber

    Stacy,
    thanks so much for the comment. I think that we’re really in accord and
    I’m so sorry that your 3rd grader needs to be among the current
    recipients of the insensitivity and nastiness. Like you, I’m kind of
    rooting for the Trump supporters, though that’s hard to say. As I said, I
    think that progressives have created this problem as much as others, so
    we have to take the lead in cleaning it up

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