In my opinion, everyone you come across on your way to/from work/school should be respected. Even if its a begger, or a transgender, or a business man, all should be treated equally- as a human being. And every human being has the right to be respected and treated with compassion, unless you're on court orders!
Society has values, and society has been forcing people to keep their behavior within the parameters of those values since time immemorial. One of those values is that disrespecting others is frowned upon: If I decided to call my black co-worker the N-word, I'd be reprimanded, ostracized, maybe even fired, and rightly so. The same would likely happen if I insulted a military veteran, a jewish person, or a member of any other group that our society's set of values deems worthy of respect. This is nothing new. We are forced to respect others everywhere we go. In our modern day debate around "political correctness," however, conservatives fail to acknowledge this simple fact, that social standards of respect have existed for a LONG TIME. Conservatives want you to believe that using a trans person's correct pronoun will CREATE these social standards of respect, when really, it will simply grant the same respect to trans people that we ALREADY afford to blacks, jews, veterans, etc. Conservatives, like always, want to hand-pick the groups we should be forced to respect and those we shouldn't. That is the essence of the conservative position on "political correctness."
People have the right to choose whether they want to respect others and if they they don't want to accept them (immigrants for example) then they shouldn't have to.
Political correctness is taking over and controlling what everyone is allowed to do and publicly shames them when they say something they believe.
Where has freedom of speech gone????
I too disagree with political correctness, but I don't think you understand what it is. Political correctness is the (usually exaggerated) attempt not to offend anyone. The reason I disagree with political correctness is because we need to respect the opinions of others, even if we don't like them, and our politicians should not be forced to mince words.
Now, touching on this topic more broadly. We are a nation of people with many cultures, backgrounds and viewpoints. You seem to feel as if accepting the opinions and views of others will alienate your own rights. Nobody is asking you to feel the same way as them, they are only asking that you accept them as a fellow American.
Regarding freedom of speech, you have the freedom of speech to denounce the views of somebody else, just as they have the freedom of speech to denounce your views. This is perfect freedom of speech as it is represented in America, so I don't understand what you mean by "Where has freedom of speech gone?"
This is a rather loaded question, and could be better split. U.S. may be best described as fostering an individual society where everyone is nationally linked by a very fundamental core values/rights. What some are trying to change is the "individual level" aspect of the U.S. to be group-oriented...This is dangerous as it forces conformity. From an individual perspective, your free to go "group", but would be extraordinarily difficult to go from group to individual.
So back on track... 1) Saying "forced" isn't going to sit well with American mentality. (I'm sure some will prefix the American part with "white") 2) Much to all contradiction, it is possible to not like someone or even hate, and yet still respect them (yes, really it is possible...If you can't comprehend this, congrats, you just self-discovered personal bias and a lack of objectivity). Respect is earned, not given. 3) You don't have to accept jack****...It's the unique quality of the U.S. (at least it was). Allowing freedom of thought, speech, belief, etc. is going to naturally conflict with others...Forcing to accept won't change anything...Just cause a very deep resentment, which will eventually erupt into hate/violence. Don't like someone or something? Fine, walk away...It's not like you'll run into this "whatever" constantly. (Yeah, this is a weak last line, but I've already failed at being succinct...So all I'll say is if you want to perceive something, then you will find it everywhere).