You know how you start watching a movie or TV series--or reading a book--and you automatically give the story's protagonist the benefit of the doubt? Even if you see him sliding, making questionable choices that lead to worse ones that lead to disaster, you're kinda on his side.
Yeah, I'm not going to do that with Trump.
I'm a Republican, and I get the argument that, like any thoughtfully written character, no candidate is perfect. I get that Hamlet had issues, but, big picture: the Dane was right. But The Donald is no Hamlet--although he does seem to think he's fighting for his birthright. Trump, whose mission is all over the map, is tragically flawed, and the tragically flawed aren't supposed to finish with happy endings. So here's why I'm not going to do what Every Single Person I Know is urging me to do--vote for the lesser of two evils:
I don't wanna. Deep in my gut, I can't hold my nose and tick off that name, even if it does have an R next to it. I don't want to tell my daughters I did this dirty thing. I don't want to tell my future grandchildren. Saying yes to Donald Trump is not going to be a part of the book of me. I'm no angel, but I don't want to soil myself.
So what if there's a soiled dress to prove Bill Clinton did worse? At a level any kindergartener could intuit, this argument doesn't pass muster. The But-Bill-Did-Worsers sound freakishly like they're chanting I'm rubber; you're glue. Plus, I didn't ask for Bill to be naughty. I didn't sign up for Trump's "locker room talk," either. Bill did that; Trump said this--The Donald's failings are the ones now on ballots coming soon to a precinct near you. (Incidentally, Bill's not running, his wife is.) It's not Trump's fault that We the People ate up the R-rated audio, with the vocals being more damning than any amount of alleged he-said, she-said. But it is what it is, with an unprecedented ick factor.
Trump's talk is just talk, or is it? Here's what he was boasting about: sexually assaulting women just 'cuz he could. To grope or not to grope, that is the question--we're not going to sort out in the next few weeks whether Trump indeed had octopus arms. But this much is on record: Trump has a value set that says unwanted advances are badass. His comments weren't only creepy, they were aggressive.
For some lads, washing their mouth out with soap worked. I'm not going to disrespect the adult male population by classifying them all as no-holds-bar, sex-obsessed adolescents. I appreciate that men are, er, driven, but we're living in a society here, in which appetites are certainly curbed, with time and place taken into account. So I don't think I'm being naïve when I say there's a group of guys (hi, honey!) who conduct themselves, for the most part, like gentlemen. Gentlemen of a feather hang together, and, in these locker rooms, this particular brand of braggadocio is a no-no. These are the fellows, heroes really, who stay faithful to their wives--who don't betray their trust either in deeds or words. And yet even these good men are maligned when pundits place all dudes in the same so-called locker room as Trump's gold-gilded one.
A thousand wrongs don't make a right. Hollywood churns out some filth, they say, and have you listened to the lyrics of that song pumping on the radio? So isn't it hypocritical to hold a public figure like Trump to a stiffer standard? But neither is Eminem seeking the highest office in the land--at least during this election cycle. And what about the dangerous precedent of taking semi-seriously a reality TV personality, a deviant, a boor, a guy with skin so thin even Nobel-winning biologists can't explain it? Is it my imagination, or are most of us scratching our heads, wondering how we got here? Is the system totally broken? How did something in Denmark get so rotten?
If pigs fly on Nov. 9 and the Trump ticket somehow wins the day, would that be the best thing for conservative ideals in the long run? Picture two years from now--after Trump has worn us down with gaffe after gaffe and alienated this group here, that nation there. Won't the Democrats sweep Congress? After four years of Trump, it would seem SpongeBob SquarePants, if he had a D after his name, could crush Trump's reelection efforts so epically, even Jimmy Carter's head would spin.
It's a pity politics has become a blood sport--I think we all feel that. On Election Day, I'll go to the mats for local and Congressional candidates, but I'm not going to offer my--insert any body part here--as a presidential punching bag.