Are you still wondering “What exactly is ‘Political Correctness?'” Today we can put that question to bed with some significant historical perspective from none other than President Harry S. Truman.
What follows comes directly from the Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri.
73 years ago, President Truman defined one of today’s most divisive terms: Political Correctness. And he defined it when speaking of “The Press.” (Who today would think that almost 3/4 of a century ago that term was being used the same way it is today — AND with similar results?)
These 4 telegrams were between President Harry Truman himself and General Douglas MacArthur on the day before the actual signing of the World War II Surrender Agreement in September of 1945. In these the President speaks volumes about political communication and messaging between Americans then that still hold true today.
The language, words, and spelling in these 4 telegrams are exactly as they were written by the President — not a word has been edited.
Telegram #1: Tokyo, Japan at 0800/September 1, 1945
To: President Harry S Truman
From: General D. A. MacArthur
“Tomorrow we meet with those yellow-bellied bastards and sign the Surrender Documents, any last minute instructions?”
Telegram #2: Washington, D. C. at 1300/September 1, 1945
To: D. A. MacArthur
From: H. S. Truman
“Congratulations, job well done, but you must tone down your obvious dislike of the Japanese when discussing the terms of the surrender with the press because some of your remarks are fundamentally not politically correct!”
Telegram #3: Tokyo, Japan at 1630/September 1, 1945
To: H. S. Truman
From: D. A. MacArthur and C. H. Nimitz
“Wilco Sir, but both Chester and I are somewhat confused, exactly what does the term politically correct mean?”
Telegram #4: Washington, D. C. at 2120/September 1, 1945
To: D. A. MacArthur/C. H. Nimitz
From: H. S. Truman
“Political Correctness is a doctrine, recently fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and promoted by a sick mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of crap by the clean end!”
Pardon the reprint of the coarse words of General MacArthur and President Truman. They had just completed a war that took the lives of thousands of their fellow-Americans. Emotions were a little heightened at the penning of these telegrams — understandably so. The emotions of America’s leaders today are in a similar emotional state — not because of just finishing a war, but from leading a nation that before our very eyes is being torn at its fabric.
The enemies that have had their way with our country are not those who speak foreign languages or hail from European or Asian soil. “We have met the enemy, and the enemy and he is us,” a quote attributed to an American Naval officer. That is NOT the quote of that Naval officer. Those words actually came from a comic-strip character named Pogo in a newspaper comic on Earth Day in 1975. (The real quote was “We have met the enemy and they are ours” by American naval officer Oliver Hazard Perry in 1813 after defeating and capturing British Royal Navy ships in the Battle of Lake Erie.)
The truth is that there are abundantly more attacks on American democracy today from the inside than from those outside of America’s borders. Whether those attacks come from political parties or from those with informal divergent political perspectives, the principle attacks on our nation are from within, and from “Us.”
Yes, sadly, many of those attacks come from the Mainstream Media who do so using the justification of “Free Speech” — the First Amendment.
I do not want to get into an argument about speech and/or expression of thoughts and ideas. There is NO successful argument against Free Speech. Without that right retained by the American people, this nation would not exist.
The illustration from today that parallels the obvious disdain of President Truman for the 1945 Mainstream Media is that of so many Americans today — especially President Donald Trump. 1945’s MSM had apparently taken up the cause of propping up Japanese people who lived in the U.S. making any words written or spoken of those Japanese in a negative light as “politically incorrect.”
Isn’t it deplorable for anyone today (just as then) to use words as ammunition to denigrate others who may not hold the same opinions and values as those who are speaking rather than using an educated and knowledgeable perspective from which to speak?
Oops, I used the term “deplorable.” Ms. Clinton made that a politically IN-correct word for anyone other than her to use.
Apologies to all those that own that title: don’t want to be politically incorrect!