Last week, a nuclear kerfuffle erupted over release of 2005 video showcasing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s gynecologically oriented repartee with then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush. Legions of Trump supporters were rocked — including not a few high-profile GOP types who expeditiously un-endorsed him. Others indignantly leapt to the real estate magnate’s defense, generating what I can only categorize as weird – and downright distressing — briefs for dismissing the whole pornographic matter. Below, a sampling:
— Sure, what Trump said was disgusting, but … “Hillary! Hillary!” Her awfulness antiseptically neutralizes his awfulness. In times past, she’s reportedly launched linguistic fusillades of her own, as vile — or more vile — than Trump’s. She’s enabled her lecherous, hound-dog of a husband for decades. Said hubby has done far worse than Trump, etc.
Terrific. So now, barely not being Bill and Hillary Clinton is Conservatives’ and the Christian Right’s de minimis bar for acceptability. An odd development to celebrate in faith-cherishing, honorable-government-enshrining, Constitutionalist circles. The party once touted as the alternative to Democratic corruption and sleaze has come a long way since the 1990s, hasn’t it: Our repulsive guy is slightly less so than yours, so we’ll stick with him!
— A variation on the above is the much burbled “Everyone’s a sinner” pabulum (favored by many of my fellow Bible-thumpers). This allegedly profound assertion is frequently followed by reciting a roster of former politicians, significant historic figures, even scriptural characters who were “flawed”.
Stipulated: Every politician appearing on Fox News or showing up on a Republican stage — forever onward — grapples with his/her shortcomings. Does that mean there’s nothing they could do which would disqualify them for elected office?
As Trump whitewash, humankind’s universal sinfulness is significantly irrelevant.
I was under the impression “Well, he did it, too!” was unacceptable, even when it’s a panicky eight-year-old whining it. It’s starkly even less tolerable when hoisted in the cause of a seventy-year-old man standing for leadership of the free world.
— Another spin on the “everyone sins” non-excuse: “All men talk like this” (i.e., the quickly-becoming-tedious-cliché “locker room banter” line.)
This one manages a two-fer: it’s factually blockheaded and viscerally insulting in one swoop. First, while lots of XY-chromosome human beings do, regrettably, traffic in this kind of smutty raillery, there are multitudes who DO NOT. For instance, myself. Ever. (I know, that makes me “self-righteous” and “holier-than-thou” according to some of my Christian brethren who’d prefer I, instead, pretend I’m just like Trump.)
Further to that, I know loads of other males who never speak that way. Never. It’s the notion of being a “godly man” — and there are those who, by God’s grace at work in their lives, succeed in consistently walking it out.
Second, I resent being — along with others whose granite decency I greatly esteem — glibly grouped with those who talk like feces-spouting punks. Even if they’re entrants in a presidential race.
Trump booster/actor Scott Baio turned up on Judge Jeanine’s program over the weekend, sneeringly informing viewers: “[L]adies …, this is what guys talk about when you’re not around. So, if you’re offended by it, grow up, okay?”
Yeah, it’s the stupid broads who are the problem — not scuzzy men or a sewer-mouthed candidate.
One of The Donald’s myrmidons responded to my objections by implying a mutual acquaintance of ours — someone I regard a devoted family man and honorable gentleman – privately yaks like Trump notoriously did. My reaction: a) Color me skeptical on that accusation, pal; b) Thanks for soiling my impression of somebody I can never approach about this slur without violating a confidence and poisoning your own relationship with him. Classy.
In the bygone Bill/Monica era, the “all-men-are-dogs” excuse was routinely trotted out to shield the then-Chief Exec’s glandular misbehaviors. Now it’s Ronald Reagan’s party resorting to that retort in the cause of their guy.
No matter who wins the White House, that’s called losing ground,
— Here’s one lately gaining bewildering currency all over the Trumpist opinionate: Since when is the secularist, sex-obsessed Left — individual ideologues, vocal activists, the Mainstream Media — offended by salacious chit-chat? They’re hypocrites, suddenly feigning scandal over Trump!
It so happens there’s some legitimacy to this rebuff: indeed, over the past couple generations, religion-ridiculing, fornication-flacking, morality-mashing Liberals have pretty successfully distorted American society into a godless, libertine hothouse of depravity.
But this has exactly what to do with justifying Trump’s grossness?
For years, the “Christian Right”, Tea-Party, “Social conservatives” have chided impious progressives for forsaking the nation’s Judeo-Christian roots in order to snag political advantage. Then along comes a toilet-tongued, self-absorbed, mean-spirited Reality TV billionaire — who’s newly a Republican, suddenly parroting a handful of long venerated, more traditional policy positions — and the Right abjectly adopts the same approach?
Shhh, don’t mention Trump’s alarming defects! Pretend they’re nothing to fret over or we’ll lose votes!
The other side long ago threw in the sponge on reinforcing public dignity. So, traditionalist culture warriors ought to follow suit? Now there’s a recipe for rejuvenating a cankered and crumbling civilization.
And the imposter, Hillary-favoring media? Of course there’s a double standard in the way they’re covering this Trump incident: most journalists and talking-heads are shameless, ignoring Clinton malfeasance, fixating on Trump, failing to do their job with integrity and consistency. It’s nearly criminal and should be denounced passionately.
That doesn’t sanitize Donald Trump’s coarseness in any way. It does show up the establishment media as a gaggle of unreliable phonies. There are three five-hundred-pound-gorilla-in-the-room problems in this entire, ugly scenario: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the American news-reporting community. All demand unsparing exposure by a responsible media – if we can find any.
A bunch more weird, distressing, but slightly more obscure, “BillyBushgate” rationalizations are making the rounds.
To be continued …