Who expected Donald Trump to be a choirboy? Wasn’t his past history of womanizing common knowledge? Why then were so many people shocked when they heard his locker room banter? Did listening to his words make such a difference?
My first reaction was to recall the movie Casablanca. In it, the French police chief expressed shock that gambling was going on in Rick’s cafe. Meanwhile he was collecting his winnings on the side. Who among us was truly shocked by Trump’s words?
I also thought about the movie Patton. One of the episodes recounts how Patton was relieved of duty because he slapped a soldier for cowardice. The Germans, on the other hand, could not imagine that the Americans would hold back their best commander for so trivial a reason.
Nonetheless, there were calls for Patton’s scalp. His affront to American democratic traditions was considered more important than winning the war. Although our egalitarian heritage would have been destroyed if Hitler triumphed, this consequence was disregarded.
Next, I tried to imagine the repartee between Trump and Bill Clinton when they played golf together. Would they have recounted their amorous conquests? Would they have done so in pristine language? I can even picture them laughing about these things.
Then I thought back to the nation’s reaction to the Nixon tapes. Millions of voters were distressed to learn that their president used foul language in the oval office. So offended were they that when the transcripts came out they were riddled with the phrase “expletive deleted.”
Apparently Americans are more concerned about the words people use than the deeds they perform. No, let me take that back. They are more troubled by what conservatives say than by what liberals do. Thus, when Bill Clinton was caught with his pants down with a White House intern, we were urged to “move on.”
Back when Bill engaging in indiscretions, the liberal establishment told us this was a matter exclusively between the president and his wife. If she was okay with it, so should we be.
So let us turn to Hillary. It is now clear that she was aware the Russians and Chinese were hacking into privileged communications. Nonetheless, she ordered that her official emails be transmitted by way of a personal server. How could she not have known this was extremely dangerous?
Hillary currently tells us this was a mistake. If so, it was a mistake she deliberately tried to cover up. Let us remember that Nixon was driven from office for something more trivial. He was scourged for eighteen minutes of missing tape, whereas she deleted over thirty thousand messages.
People have been calling Hillary’s behavior illegal. It was much worse than that. It was treasonous. Had she hand-delivered her communiqués to the Russian embassy, this is exactly how it would have been branded. Why then was intentional carelessness—about vulnerable secrets—any less treacherous?
So here we have somebody—in an official capacity—exposing our nation to peril and the pubic is more outraged by private peccadillos. Trump’s temperament is deemed unacceptable, whereas her judgment is okay.
But it is worse than that. Hillary has assured Wall Street insiders that her private beliefs differ from her public pronouncements. What she essentially said was that she endorses lying to voters. Because she knows that if she tells people the truth, they will turn elsewhere, she deliberately deceives them.
We already knew Hillary is a liar. We knew it just as much as we did that Trump is irreverent. But now we are stunned by the Trump revelations, yet take hers in stride.
Where is our sense of proportion? Don’t we understand what is important for our national survival? Shouldn’t treason and habitual dishonesty count for more than sexual talk? As has been said, we are electing a president, not a pope.
Let me be clear. I too find Trump’s behavior distasteful. But Hillary has harmed our collective security and may do so in the future. She is so corrupt that she might not hesitate to sell us out on the altar of her ambition. This really scares me!
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Kennesaw State University