By Keith Koffler
Kelly Sadler, a White House communications aide, made a crack recently during an internal meeting about how Sen. John McCain's opposition to President Donald Trump's CIA pick, Gina Haspel, didn't matter because McCain is "dying anyway."
Once the remark was leaked, presumably by someone who doesn't much like Sadler, the media — mainstream and social — exploded as if the stock market had crashed.
What a horrifying thing to say! Proof of the rottenness at the core of the Trump White House! Off with her head — that is, let's get her fired and ruin her career!
Of course, it was not at all a nice thing to say. And yes, Trump says many, many not nice things. And it could be that his rudeness and crudeness trickles down to the staff.
But Trump's directness has been a big part of his appeal, even to evangelicals and other "deplorables" accused of hypocrisy and obtuseness for backing a profane man. They were tired of being told what they are allowed to say and think. And nobody is going to tell Trump what to say.
There's something refreshing about that. Even important. Because it gores a useful wound into the stultifying and dangerous political correctness that is increasingly gripping the nation.
Trump's rude speech tells Americans it might just be okay to hold an opinion and not get handcuffed by the speech police who want to enforce their own — usually liberal — viewpoint. Because every statement that doesn't pass muster with the left now provokes a new Salem witch trial.
Today's strict political correctness allows no separation between words and sentiment. Between surface artifice and deeper reality. It bends uncomfortable truths into polite falsehoods. There are certain things you just can't say, because someone's feelings might get hurt.
Democracy pre-supposes a willingness to state unpopular, hurtful things. Otherwise, the path to reality, justice and sound decisions - the essence of democracy - is blocked like a coronary artery. You know, the one known as the widow maker, which redirects the patient's ambulance from the hospital to the morgue.
Sure, Trump goes too far. Sometimes way too far. And he makes of point of never apologizing. Sadler went too far as well — though she apologized to McCain's daughter Meghan. Meghan nonetheless pronounced, figuratively speaking, "Off with her head."
I don't know Sadler — and you probably don't either. But do you think she is somehow pleased that McCain has brain cancer and is facing a harsh, miserable death?
People are not everything they say at a given moment. If they were, we'd all be perp-walked straight from purgatory to a vastly overpopulated hell.
Political correctness has the ability to rapidly enforce change on society toward a liberal point of view. It's frighteningly effective. Today, you cannot in polite company say you oppose gay marriage without being branded a homophobe. And yet a few years ago, that was - at least publicly — the position held by a Democratic president and his vice president.
Last week, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said the majority of illegal immigrants are "not people that would easily assimilate into the United States into our modern society" because they are "overwhelmingly rural people," don't speak English, and "don't integrate well." Is that true? The word police don't care either way. Kelly had made a statement casting a subset of people of a certain ethnicity in a negative light. That's impermissible.
The rapper Kanye West voices support for Trump, and the author Ta-Nehisi Coates suggests not just that West is wrong to embrace Trump, but that he is not even free as a black man to hold this opinion because in Coates' view, Trump and conservatives are racists
As a widely-esteemed liberal champion once wrote: "At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right thinking people will accept without question. It not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other but it is 'not done' to say it... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness."
The writer was George Orwell, and the passage is from the unpublished introduction to his classic fable about creeping totalitarianism, "Animal Farm."
Trump has not fired Sadler yet. And he'd better not — because the ability to say something impolite is a big reason why he was elected. His base would likely be shocked and severely disappointed if he allows the thought police to take her away.
Yes, she is part of the character of this White House. One that provides desperately needed counterprogramming to our regularly scheduled episodes of political correctness. And that's just great.
This article was originally published on NBC News' Think. Opinions expressed in View articles are not those of euronews.