When basketball legend and prolific bestselling author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in a comprehensive Washington Post editorial yesterday, he perhaps didn’t anticipate that Trump would come back swinging in a hand-written note.
But the Republican leader did just that, posting a hand-written response that embodied a lot of the language and vitriol that Trump used against Megyn Kelly and Jorge Ramos in previous months—both journalists who carry their own tremendous issues, yet were not criticized on any logical grounds—that said the following:
Now I know why the press always treated you so badly—they couldn’t stand you. The fact is that you don’t have a clue about life and what has to be done to make America great again!
Abdul-Jabbar swung back in another post, saying that Trump’s note was the best support for his claims:
Trump’s response to my piece is the best, though inelegant, support for my claims. Here again, he attacks a journalist who disagrees with him, not by disputing the points made, but by hurling schoolyard insults such as “nobody likes you.” Look behind the nasty invective and you find an assault on the Constitution in the effort to silence the press through intimidation.
For Abdul-Jabbar’s part, his original essay dealt primarily with Trump bullying journalists who dared to ask him difficult questions, while also comparing Trump’s approach to that of Bernie Sanders. While Sanders’ reasons for introducing a racial justice platform might be up for debate (Abdul-Jabbar said it had nothing to do with the two interruptions by Black Lives Matter activists, though many are inclined to disagree), the fact that he did address criticism instead of resolutely shutting it down as “PC” formed the general base of Abdul-Jabbar’s comparisons:
Trump’s rationale for avoiding Kelly’s debate question—that neither he nor America has time for “political correctness”—taps into a popular boogeyman. The term “political correctness” is so general that to most people it simply means a discomfort with changing times and attitudes, an attack on the traditions of how we were raised. (It’s an emotional challenge every generation has had to go through.) What it really means is nothing more than sensitizing people to the fact that some old-fashioned words, attitudes and actions may be harmful or insulting to others. Naturally, people are angry about that because it makes them feel stupid or mean when they really aren’t. But when times change, we need to change with them in areas that strengthen our society.
It’s no longer “politically correct” to call African Americans “coloreds.” Or to pat a woman on the butt at work and say, “Nice job, honey.” Or to ask people their religion during a job interview. Or to deny a woman a job because she’s not attractive enough to you. Or to assume a person’s opinion is worth less because she is elderly. Or that physically challenged individuals shouldn’t have easy access to buildings. If you don’t have time for political correctness, you don’t have time to be the caretaker of our rights under the Constitution.