Although it appears to have substantially eluded our political pundits, one of the major reasons Donald Trump’s presidency would be a disaster for the culture is that he would further degrade political discourse by validating vulgarity, boorishness and bullying as legitimate and acceptable conduct by elected officials. That contagion will spread to the public at large, decreasing the likelihood of substantial communication and persuasion, and increasing bitter divisions with a likelihood of violence.
In fact, the process of rot is starting already.
Nevada’s GOP state representative Michele Fiore—she’s the one who sent out the Christmas card with her whole family, including toddlers, holding guns—is running for a Congressional seat. Her opponent, Annette Teijeiro, criticized Fiore for her comments about “flying to Paris” to shoot terrorists there herself. This prompted the honorable rep to stand up and challenge Teijeiro, saying, “You want to have a fight with me?” She challenged Teijeiro to put her microphone down and acted like she was ready to rumble.
A video of the incident was posted on Facebook, and Fiore is getting encouragement, presumably from Trump fans…you know, morons.
Admittedly, Fiore is a wacko, but I doubt that she would have tried a bullying stunt like this if she hadn’t seen a man running for President indulge in one brutish tactic after another and be rewarded for it by screaming throngs and constant media coverage. One that sensor in the culture’s ethics alarms is disabled, and Trump is disabling it already, just as he has already brought civility in Presidential debates to an all-time low, we will see spontaneous wrestling matches on the floor of the House, teachers picking fights with students, supermarket debates escalating to fist fights, and an across the board acceptance of violence. The nation that once mocked the Jerry Springer Show will gradually adopt its values. After all, the President represents the highest standard of behavior, by the nature of his job.
Imagine a nation where the gutter conduct of Donald Trump is the highest level of conduct our children aspire to.
Hey, it will be worth it if angry tea party types can express their frustration with Republican “elites.”