During his presidential campaign in 2016, Donald Trump said “I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness.”

Tony Gutierrez / The Associated Press 2016

While out on the campaign trail, then-candidate Donald Trump spoke often on what he considered to be a fanciful bit of nonsense perpetrated by the liberal media. He was talking about being politically correct.

He said, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.”

The emergence of political correctness in the 1980s came about because American people were becoming more acutely aware that in so many ways we were actually insulting and degrading fellow humans by using insensitive terms and slogans. And although it was intended to serve as a correction of these fractures in our society, it became a lightning rod for political parties on which to hang their ideology. In many ways it lost its true meaning and there were those who found it conflicting with their beliefs.

In all reality, political correctness isn’t political. It is simply being correct.

Within that correctness comes the basic, expected norms of society that, if practiced in their entirety, would make this world a much better place. That is because being correct is being highly sensitive to the nature of others. It’s being “tuned in” to who other people are, along with their background and culture.

Being correct means being concerned for the health and well-being of others; of making sure our world doesn’t become polluted and destroyed by selfishness. If we are to be concerned with the plight of others, then we will automatically do what is correct and we wouldn’t need the “guidelines” of political correctness.

The term “political correctness” appears to leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths. There is an apparent reluctance to embrace its purpose. This obvious struggle with the underlying elements of this common-sense movement reflects, perhaps, a form of anti-societal independence; that to embrace it is to surrender some kind of precious autonomy. To refer to someone of a different race by a vulgar term or categorize and marginalize groups of people is somehow separating oneself from others, elevating the individual into a class of elitism, making them far superior.

Today, more than ever, we need people in leadership roles to set good examples and create a pattern of behavior that others can proudly emulate. We need the application of political correctness to become an automatic, daily staple and get encouragement from these leaders through their examples.

Without this kind of true leadership, we are destined to become a nation of hurtful, spiteful and uncaring individuals bent on having everything our way and disregarding the needs of others.

If that happens, then we will experience the same consequences of every other dynasty and empire that crumbled into dust because of a lack of self-respect and humility. As we look around, we are reluctant to ask. Is it too late?

Robert Nordmeyer is a freelance writer and author. Contact him at rnrnord@gmail.com.