Kindness and the First Amendment can coexist

Photo credit: FreedomWorks

Photo credit: FreedomWorks

By Brittany Russell, Contributing Writer

The political turmoil and polarization of 2016 and this day and age of government has brought out some nasty words in the United States and the rest of the world. I’m appalled and deeply troubled by the things being said and blatantly ignored by people in our country in particular, and I think there needs to be an understanding between the two parties at this point.

I perused some of the opinion articles on the Gettysburgian’s website, and I was surprised that there were several mentions of “PC movement.” I hear the phrase “politically correct” come up rather frequently on campus, and not normally in a positive light. It’s an ugly phrase used to attack “snowflakes” and “SJWs” for speaking up and to attempt to silence them so uglier words can continue to be said.

You know, I want you to keep saying them. Keep spouting off your ugly words as much as you want, because that is your right to do so. The government cannot arrest you for saying it, because the First Amendment says so. I respect the Constitution. I respect the Bill of Rights. I respect the First Amendment that’s letting me type my opinion right now.

But do you know what the government (and you, and the campus administration as well) cannot do? They don’t have to make me listen. They can’t arrest me for asking you to go away or calling you out on it. Conversely, they’re not going to make you read this opinion piece or even read it to its conclusion, but I hope you will at least hear me out when I say that we should phase “politically correct” out of the conversation.

Anti-PC people, whatever you want to be called, I implore you to hear me out. When people advocate for being what you call “PC,” it’s literally just asking you to be nice. Show a little respect to people and their existence. We have different thoughts and opinions, and I’m okay with hearing them.  But when I say “that’s not okay,” I mean “that opinion you have is in blatant disrespect of the identities of people I care about or my own identity and we’re trying to be grownups here and not attack existences.” It’s not a personal attack. It’s a request to please, learn more about this issue and hear the stories of people who are affected by it. It’s not a silencer. It’s an invitation to return to the argument when you know more about it, and act like a decent human being with some degree of respect for the opinions and backgrounds of the others involved. It is a boundary that sets a tone of conversation, a conversation about preserving American identity and freedoms under an administration that doesn’t necessarily think about those.

I hope your parents/guardians taught you some manners as a child. I hope whatever god you worship taught you “treat people the way you want to be treated.” I hope Aretha Franklin taught you about respect. Right now, there are pleas for unity coming from an administration that does not show some basic respect and the people that follow it. There are people whose rights are in grave danger at this very moment, which threaten far more important parts of America’s soul than people asking you to stop acting rude. People are being hurt by the words that you are echoing. I refuse to unify with someone who cannot grasp that American society is progressing toward an era where people are actually nice to each other, and will not advocate for others beyond their own little bubble.

In conclusion, I want unity just as much as the next person. However, I want to be sure that people who are vulnerable under this administration are at least allowed to utilize their rights as American citizens before I’m willing to even think about unity. I want them to have their voices heard before I hear the inexperienced and disrespectful opinions floating around about “being politically correct snowflakes.”

Calm down, snowflake. No one is attacking your freedoms. I just want you to recognize that hatred and “not doing politeness” is costing the country money and lives, whereas being a decent human being costs you absolutely nothing.

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Author: Brittany Russell

Brittany Russell '19 is a Political Science major and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies minor. She is the music director for 91.1 WZBT Gettysburg and hosts a show Thursdays at 9pm. When she's not DJing or spouting off her opinions, she appreciates coffee, lipstick, puns, and corgis. Follow her on Twitter @supbruss.

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