I have listened to several friends go on about how the incredibly boorish and self-centered Mr. Trump has led us into an atmosphere of rude, crude, and incredibly biased behavior.
While I agree that we are living in times that are characterized by animus toward anyone who would dare to challenge our beliefs or support a belief or cause that we oppose, I do think that for all his faults, this is not the product of our latest President.
We have all heard the maxim that a democracy will get exactly the government it deserves (which is widely and incorrectly attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville. It actually came from Joseph de Maistre “Every nation gets the government it deserves,” de Maistre said). I wonder if we are getting in President Trump what we have created and deserve.
As I try to objectively observe our collective behavior over my lifetime, I note a steady degeneration in civility, tolerance of another’s position, and the ability to objectively weigh issues.
Instead there seems to me to be a prevalent attitude that can be summarized as “what I believe is correct and the people who hold office and share that belief must be forgiven their foibles. And what you believe is not only incorrect, it has its origins in the biased, prejudicial, and racist beliefs you and your fellow believers share. Your and their behaviors are deplorable.”
Lest you think that I am over reacting, let me just point out as one example the question that is often raised as to how the moral right can tolerate the indiscretions and infidelity of Mr. Trump. While this is a valid question that might be answered by those folks labelling themselves evangelicals, as “we will tolerate those behaviors because he is changing the judiciary to reflect our preferences”. That seems to be an almost Jesuit argument that the end justifies the means and might compromise the beliefs of those supporting anyone just to further their agenda.
While the question is being posed to the right, I hear no similar question posed to the left when a womanizer like any of the Kennedy brothers or President Clinton or the ex-Klu Klux Klansman Byrd and others are excused their foibles because they embrace key issues that are favored by the left.
I would submit that Mr. Trump is the symptom of what we have become as a nation. Much like when Mr. Clinton was caught in his indiscretions, he did not begin the atmosphere of sexual tolerance that would have appalled our parents. He was merely the symbol of it and the excuse most heard was “his behavior has nothing to do with his ability to govern”, so this offense is irrelevant.
The right is busy echoing a similar defense of its President Trump in saying that his boorish, self-centered rants and tweets are irrelevant as long as he is pushing our agenda, whatever that may be. I think we have the government we deserve, for better or worse.