A Very Expensive Lesson

The best lessons come at the highest cost—or so they say.

If that’s true, I hope America is paying attention. We are about to learn a very expensive lesson.

As the parent of an autistic child, I am quite familiar with misdirected anger. Though I know that my son’s occasional outbursts and brain-numbing stems are a manifestation of a disability over which he has little or no control, I still allow them to get under my last nerve from time to time. Despite my best efforts I lose my temper from time to and raise my voice (actually usually just talk in an unpleasant tone). The very short moment of satisfaction I derive from venting my frustration comes at a price and is soon replaced by a lasting regret—lasting because my anger inevitably worsens the situation and delays its resolution. I’m learning but logic, patience, and common sense still elude me from time to time.

Speaking of misdirected anger…. Yesterday, a good friend and enthusiastic Trump supporter confided in me that he now believes the Republican nominee will likely be defeated.  Hillary Clinton, the second-worst presidential candidate ever, is set to become president. Who is the worst candidate ever, you ask? Three guesses; you’ll only need one.

Though my friend honestly assessed the damage done by the latest revelation of Trump’s character—or lack thereof, it didn’t take him long to veer into the land of rationalization. Trump only said words he parroted; Bill Clinton did actions.  Well. I’m not so sure Trump only said words, but even if that were true, remember, as a famous person once said: “Words matter.” Sorry Trump supporters, but most, if not all, of the greatest atrocities in history started out as words. Words have a nasty habit of leading to actions. They are often a way to test the acceptability of actions. If the words are okay, the actions must be also.

It’s just locker room talk, my friend repeated lamely.  Really?

I’ve been in many locker rooms and the language in them is indeed often lewd, crude, and otherwise colorful. In all those times, while I’ve heard many disgusting things about women, and, I’m ashamed to admit, laughed at them from time to time, I’ve never heard a father sanction or condone such talk about his own daughter. Of course, every woman is someone’s daughter and this is why men should cease such talk about any woman. Not just because such talk is disrespectful, but because talk leads to action. Not for everyone, maybe, but for some, maybe even many.  It is precisely why many conservatives have criticized hip hop music for its portrayal of women.  Should such talk be prohibited? Of course not. But understand, free speech has never been truly free; people who engage in the type of speech Donald Trump routinely uses, therefore, should not expect a pass from people judging them in life nor in the voting booth.

Such behavior also calls into question Trump’s judgement.  Sure, he may not have planned to run for president, but for a businessman to disparage women in such a way doesn’t seem very wise.  Wouldn’t he expect to need to do business with women from time to time? Rationalizing his bad behavior by pointing to the bad behavior of Bill Clinton is a weak effort to deflect from his own shameful behavior and not exactly the foundation upon which virtue is built.

The idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency literally scares the hell out of me. It should scare the hell out of anyone who loves America. Unfortunately, like my misdirected anger at my autistic son, the GOP electorate misdirected its anger at the Republican party and in doing so, has virtually guaranteed a Hillary Clinton presidency and a generation or more of liberal supremacy on the bench. The idea that the GOP didn’t fight hard enough to stop Obama is ludicrous.  GOP leadership did everything possible given their numbers to deter the president.  That is why Obama resorted to his illegal executive actions.  Now, those who complained about a lack of real opposition to liberal ideas are about to see what a real lack of opposition to liberal ideas looks like. With another four to eight years control over the executive branch, possible control over both houses of congress and a solid majority on the court, gun rights, religious rights, and even free speech will face the most serious threats in our nation’s existence.

It didn’t have to be that way. We knew who Trump was. But sadly, he wasn’t nominated despite his character flaws; to a large extent, he was nominated because of them. What were so-called conservatives thinking? Now, the same people who decried the establishment sticking by candidates such as McCain and Romney are invoking the same arguments to insist that Republicans stay true to Trump.  Rance Priebus, public enemy number one not so long ago and the very epitome of the mythical “establishment,” is now unwavering in his support for the party’s deeply flawed nominee.  Well.

Meanwhile, true conservatives, who stand by their principles and distance themselves from Trump are the new “establishment.” Give me a break. By any honest standard, Trump is no conservative, no matter how hard Sean Hannity tries to make him seem so.  Sorry Sean, you’re just not that talented. For Trumpeteers, it always comes down to one argument: He’s not Hillary Clinton. True. But really, how far must we follow this sleaze nominee down that road? Could Trump, as he claimed, actually murder someone and still retain his core support? I can hear it now: “What’s one innocent life? We’re talking about the future of our country here.”

Hillary Clinton is such a horrible candidate and was so easily beatable. Any of the GOP candidates—Cruz, Rubio, Walker—hell, even Rand Paul or Jeb Bush—could have easily trounced her, given all the dirt that has come out. Instead, out of anger, thirty to forty percent of the GOP electorate, propelled by Hannity, Coulter, and other loons, foisted this idiot upon us because for a brief moment it felt good to jab their fingers in the eyes of the “establishment”.  Now, that moment has passed, and we are left with only regret. It is likely to be a lasting regret—lasting because it will inevitably weaken if not destroy the republic. If the republic does somehow manage to endure, maybe in the future logic, patience, and common sense will trump (pun intended) the anger that got us into this mess. After all, the best lessons come at the highest cost.

Or so they say.

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