The vortex around being politically correct

I don't know about you, but I see a lot of jerks on the Internet these days. The republican presidential candidate, in particular, is famous for "meeting a need of the American people" to have a presidential candidate who "tells it like it is." Under this guise, his words get a pass -- as if he's fighting some noble fight when he questions the contributions of a prisoner of war or mocks a disabled person. His offensive and hurtful comments seem to be glibly overlooked because, after all, he's making a point about how being politically correct has gotten out of hand.

Looking objectively at the issue, I can see situations where people have been a little overly sensitive and then embarked on a witch hunt, looking to accuse someone of being politically incorrect. I think a renewed sense of humor would do us all a bit of good.

If we take a quick look at what people are seeking within the context of the political correctness vortex, they're not asking for much, really. I think somewhere along the way we let a core human value be perverted into political correctness. Whatever happened to:

Speak from your heart with good intentions. Apologize when your words cause injury.

I understand that it will be impossible to never, ever, ever offend or hurt someone with the way we speak. I know all too well -- sometimes things just come barreling out of my mouth. I've inadvertently said "That's so gay" in front of a gay friend. I once said "retarded" to a friend whose brother has down syndrome. And you know what I did when I saw their faces drop?

I apologized.

I had spoken carelessly, and regardless of my intent to harm, if I injure someone it's my responsibility to apologize.

I don't know where we got this idea that under all circumstances we're supposed to dig our heels in and insist on our right to say what we feel no matter what. It makes me wonder if people have confused what the First Amendment actually protects. (Quick tip: It protects you from being jailed by your government for expressing your point of view. The First Amendment does not obligate me or anyone else to entertain, condone or endorse that speech. In that same amendment, my right to tell you you're being offensive is protected as well. J.K. Rowling had a great defense of freedom of speech not long ago.)

Where the political correctness vortex gets fuzzier

The issue becomes more complicated when racists, bigots and the like shrug off sincere requests for an apology when they've acted in an injurious manner.

"You're so politically correct," has become the way we shrug off people shining a light on something ugly inside us. And that is really quite dangerous when you think about it.

This issue has become a toxic rallying point in the 2016 election cycle. I'm really interested to hear if anyone else has noticed the same things. I really wish that speaking with great regard for the person standing in front of us weren't so quickly labeled "politically correct."