I grew up smack in between the era of never leaving the house without lipstick and Gloria Steinem. I liked being in the middle. It was – and is – a good place to be because there are people on both sides all the time so I am never lonely. It taught me that everyone has their own way of doing things, and to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
So when President Obama said of California Attorney General Kamala Harris, “She’s brilliant and she’s dedicated…She’s tough. She also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general … It’s true! C’mon.” I, for one, was not offended. In fact, I may have been just a smidge jealous. If, for example, I was about to take the stage to offer a keynote address to Congress (yes, this is a hint, Mr. President), I wouldn’t be the least bit upset if the leader of the free world tossed in a little “best-looking keynote EVER” (yes, this is a hint, Mr. President) during my introduction. In fact, I’d be thrilled. And then I would tell all of my friends. And my husband. And then a few well-chosen strangers. But that’s me.
Are we too politically correct these days? The president later apologized to Harris, and all is well. What many don’t know is that President Obama and Harris have been long-time friends, making the banter even more understandable.
The bottom line: know your audience and choose your words well. But don’t let overzealous political correctness get in the way of allowing your true personality and wit to shine through. What would life be without a few sincere compliments and a bit of humor? Pretty ugly, don’t you think?