Word of the day — desensitize: “to make less likely to feel shock or distress at scenes of cruelty, violence or suffering by overexposure to such images.”
To the list of cruelty, violence or suffering I might add such words as deceit, duplicity, mendacity, self-centeredness and blatant disregard. Yes, perhaps I have been watching too much CNN, and to be non-partisan, I am pretty sure FOX would have yielded the same result in this case.
Folks, we now live in a world in which it is common, so common that we hardly even pause to notice, that our president is publicly accused of having an affair with an adult film star shortly after his wife gave birth to their son. And we live in a world in which many of the voters who elected him are willing to turn a blind eye to this and previous morality charges against the president simply because they like his politics. Perhaps it was said best by a conservative commentator I heard on Bill Maher’s show the other night when he said religious leaders looking past these moments hoping to get what they want from the president will find themselves at odds with an angry God. Those aren’t my words, but I like them.
Let’s be fair. President Trump did not begin this desensitization. First, there was President Clinton with Monica Lewinsky who now admits to sexual activity in the Oval Office about which he lied under oath. And the liberals mostly turned our heads and said that was between him and Hillary because we wanted so much to preserve the liberal agenda he was promoting. We made it “normal,” but it should never have been normal.
I am not a real student of history, but I know that Kennedy had documented affairs and Roosevelt, and probably many of the others, but at least they tried to be more discreet about it. It doesn’t make it right, but it shows that they still had enough home training to know they ought to try to hide it.
When Prince Charles and Princess Diana had affairs which the media delighted to report, it was Queen Elizabeth II who took much of the heat for daring to show her displeasure at behavior which cheapened the monarchy to which she has given her life to uphold the dignity. Blame the victim. That just doesn’t seem right.
I am not the morality police. I am the live-and-let-live guy who is willing to let almost anything slide as long as it doesn’t harm children or other vulnerable people, or animals, and as long as it is consensual and not an abuse of power. I really can’t believe I am writing this column, but it comes down to this.
Our grandparents understood the value of a virtue called shame when they had done something which brought disgrace on their family or nation. I have largely dismissed shame as an old virtue, but I am reconsidering it a little more every time I watch the news.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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