Decency

One could hardly justify allowing children to listen to the news these days with the incessant and escalating references to sexual acts. Even more damaging to the moral development of the next generation of Americans than the introduction of terms like “pussy” or “blow jobs”, is the justification and normalization of misogynist attitudes and sexual assaults. It communicates to little boys and girls that these are normal things for adults to engage in (so long as they occurred in the past). Consider the lessons being taught when bragging about sexual assaults is dismissed as “locker room talk”, that women who claim to be victims of sexual assault could be used as political props or dismissed as “opposition research”. They may call it not being “PC”, but it is hate speech that is intended to offend and shock. The media is just as complicit in the rush to destroy what little is left to the standard of decency in public discourse. Conservative media which have self-righteously flown the flag of “family values” and “respect for life” dismiss the immorality of Trump’s actions and words, and attack the women who claim to be his victims, while simultaneously attacking Hillary on her “enabling” of her husband as a sexual predator. Liberal media relish in the details of the mud bath as though it is their responsibility to broadcast every lecherous detail.

This has been the most enduring damage of the Trump campaign – a coarsening of the body politic and the normalization of the degradation of people. Hillary is not above the fray either. Her “deplorables” comment was degrading and dismissive, even if it was a reaction to the relentless debauchery of the Trump Campaign. Now we have children not only seeing insults, bigotry and fear-mongering as a political norm, they are also being taught that sexual degradation and assaults are also a norm (not just in locker-rooms).

Ultimately, it is the monster of the cable “news” 24 hour cycle that is the catalyst that has produced this civil catastrophe. There are tens of thousands of disturbed men like Trump in our society, but the media has elevated him (enabled him) and forced political campaigns to focus on the political race instead of the political issues. The more vulgar and scintillating the story, the more it is amplified in coverage which puts pressure on the other side to respond in kind. As the Republican primary progressed and most of the candidates tried to focus on issues, the media focused on Trump’s insults and buffoonery. Ultimately even serious men like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and John Kasich had to devolve into the same tactic.

If Hillary wanted to contribute something positive to the process, she should simply turn the campaign into a referendum on decency.

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