Donald Trump and his enablers have used their disdain of political correctness as an excuse for disrespect and cruelty towards women, people of color, and anyone else they want to demean. But for me, the kind of political correctness I’ve always had a problem with is when candidates and politicians speak in poll-tested euphemisms that are designed to challenge no one and wind up communicating nothing.
What I’ve been noticing about a lot of the Democratic candidates who are running for various offices in these midterms is that they’ve eschewed that kind of political correctness. That, to me, is what authenticity is all about. It is also how they’re fighting back.
Wednesday night, Andrew Gillum gave a master class on all of that during a debate with his Republican opponent in the Florida governor’s race. Ron DeSantis had gone on a rant in response to a question about his association with known racists. Here’s how Gillum responded:
That’s what it means to fight back. There are those who would say that Gillum’s response violated Michelle Obama’s maxim, “When they go low, we go high.” But I would suggest that anyone who thinks that didn’t pay attention to her entire speech at the DNC Convention where she made those remarks. Without uttering Donald Trump’s name, she obliterated everything he stands for. It was also Michelle Obama who gave the most powerful response to the president’s “pussy-grabbing” remarks. The former First Lady knows a lot about how to fight back. She was simply reminding us that we don’t need to get in the gutter with people like Donald Trump.
Fighting back doesn’t need to be divisive and cruel. Take a look at Gillum’s closing remarks in that debate.
.@AndrewGillum: "In Trump's America so many of us have forgotten that we're all in this thing together. On November 6th we have an opportunity to send a loud, unapologetic message that common sense and decency still prevail." pic.twitter.com/mt7WVqAVjh
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) October 25, 2018
“Bring it home” is Gillum’s campaign theme, which was explained in this video:
As the ad says, his grandmother’s admonition was a reminder that “if we were going to get anywhere in life, we would get there together.” That is the quintessential liberal message articulated in Gillum’s own personal way, which is what makes it so authentic.
For further evidence of how Democrats are fighting back, take a look at this:
— Eleven Films (@Eleven_Films) October 22, 2018
With scenes from both candidates and the resistance, it highlights that Democrats are using all of this country’s most treasured forms of engagement to stand up for what they believe in. Because that threatens people like Donald Trump, the opposition is referring to this as “mobs.” But the correct term is democracy.