I have to adapt, with acknowledgement, a long-running gag wielded by Prof. Glenn Reynolds on his iconic conservative website Instapundit thus:
“I wrote if Donald Trump was elected President, we’d have a nation of assholes, and I was RIGHT!”
The problem is that the joke isn’t funny in this case. It’s tragic. What I am seeing in the news, watching on social media and reading on the web and in editorial pages shows me that the last eight years have done even more damage to American unity and ethics than I had realized.
First, a brief defense of the word “asshole.” It is a vulgar term, and I fully expect President Trump to use it in a press conference or rant some day. I first employed it here in 2010 to describe Julian Assange. I trust nobody will take issue with that decision. ( “Assange’s real priority is Assange, and everything and everyone else is secondary. Luckily, there is a word for such people, a useful label that will help us assess his actions and motives. Asshole.”)
Next was Rev. Terry Jones in 2011. Remember him? He was the self-righteous pastor who announced that he was going to publicly burn the Koran, knowing that the act would incite anti-American riots abroad, and probably get people killed. I wrote,
“What do you call someone who pours gasoline on a brush fire to get attention? Jerk is too mild. What do you call someone who intentionally makes a difficult problem of international perception even more difficult—intentionally? Fool is too kind. Unethical, my staple, is too abstract. There just is no civil term for someone like Jones. He is an asshole. There are others running loose right now—Julian Assange, Michael Moore, Charlie Sheen—but none come close to Jones.”
Frankly, I don’t know how Donald Trump escaped that last sentence.
Last year, as part of my plea to get the Republican Party and its primary voters to be civicly responsible Americans and prevent the nomination of Donald Trump—in my most fevered nightmares, like the ones where my son’s head has turned into an eggbeater and he is dating Miley Cyrus, I never conceived that Trump would actually be elected—I explained that having a President, always the nation’s most influential role model, who spoke and acted like Trump did would transform the culture of the U.S. and give us a whole generation of boorish, mean-spirited, impulsive and self-righteous young citizens, of which misogyny would only be the tip of the metaphorical iceberg. I still fear that this will be the effect of the Trump years, even if he proves to be a popular and successful president. Especially, if he is a popular and successful president.
What I did not fully comprehend is how the divisive actions and rhetoric emanating from the White House, prominent progressives and the complicit popular culture and news media have already turned a substantial segment of the public into assholes. There have now been four days of violent tantrums across the U.S. as “disappointed” progressives, Democrats and illegal aliens “protest” the results of the election. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, an old-school Democrat and unabashed lover of the political process, was gobsmacked, despite his network’s official derogation of Donald Trump.
“What kind of a statement is it really there to make?” Matthews asked. “They lost!”
Of course, there is no statement, just self-indictments, like “We think we know what is best, and will scream and set fires until we get it,” “We have no respect for anyone who disagrees with us,” and “We only believe in the institutions of the nation we live in when they do what we want.” Most obvious of all: “If you don’t fall into lockstep with the policies and rhetoric of the last eight years, you’re a racist.”
Or perhaps “We’re assholes” is clear enough. They are assholes nourished and encouraged by the Obama/ Democratic party culture of arrogant and intolerant progressivism, the demonization of sincere dissent, and the ends justify the means.
1. Social media progressives, too old or burdened with jobs to actually hit the streets, are showing that it is not just the young whose ethical instincts were melted away in the last eight years. I have read rant after rant by nice, friendly, respectable alleged adults who were civil, if smug, during the campaign, furiously declaring anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton to be seeking to make pussy-grabbing the National Pastime and declaring anyone who wants to give the newly elected President a chance–a chance!—before he is removed from the White House by force is a racist and a traitor. Every such rant is followed by scores of “Likes.” Kids read these posts. Other posts by African-Americans, Muslims, Hispanic-Americans, gays and other minorities declare that they are terrified of midnight knocking at their doors, as the Trump Storm Troopers haul them away to god knows where. Sure, it’s free speech…it is also dangerously close to falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater.
2. The fear and the riots are being “justified” by alleged reports of an outbreak of hate crimes against various minorities by white thugs emboldened by Trump’s election, which would mean my prediction from last year was coming to pass in record time. So far, the reports have been exaggerated, fabricated, or wrong. This, of course, doesn’t matter on social media. The idea is to spread fear and hate.
3. I know I have recently written about this, but my amazement grows apace. What hypicrisy! The hypocrisy is so glaring and undeniable that I don’t understand why Democrats everywhere aren’t declaring their embarrassment and apologizing on behalf of their partisan colleagues. All of the attacks on Trump for inciting violence and intemperate rhetoric and refusing to accept the results of the election and trying to deny the legitimacy of the President apparently were expressing no genuinely-held principles or values. These were just opportunities to denigrate Trump, like making fun of his hair. The second that Trump won, it was all, as Newt Gingrich once said after he was caught brazenly lying and had to retract everything, “inoperative.” So Democrats and progressives set out to incite violence and spewed out intemperate rhetoric and refused to accept the results of the election and tried to illegitimate the President Elect, mostly from a sudden realization that we have an Electoral College, and do not directly vote for Presidents. This now means that, contrary to the Constitution, Trump wasn’t elected.
4. Double standards have been infused into the culture. At this point, after eight years, progressives think double standards are rational and fair. Those who have not been ethically warped resent and fear double standards, and voted against them.
5. More head-exploding hypocrisy: Several pundits, including Clinton supporter Geraldo Rivera, have wondered how many of the protesters actually voted. It’s a good bet that many of them–most of them?— did not. After all, the message that they were hearing was that Obama’s “third term” was assured. Why bother? Imagine burning cars to protest the results of an election they couldn’t be bothered to vote in! Why aren’t such angry protesters burning their own cars?
6. Residents of California and Oregon are blathering about secession on social media (in California, there is an effort to get it on the ballot, a la Brexit) because a single election is sufficient to make them abandon the nation. This is the grand scale version of the threats by celebrities to leave the country if Trump won (to date, no word from any of them that suggests they are going to make good on their promise), and equally redolent of arrogance, ignorance, and assholery. Unlike the riots, there was a lot of this from the conservative side in 2012, mostly from Texas. Jon Stewart of The Daily Show mocked the silly sore loser Republicans mercilessly, as did Ethics Alarms. Oddly, no similar ridicule is being directed at the current protestors from Stewart’s successors.
7. One of them, TBS comic Samantha Bee, hilariously summed up the election and spread the fearmongering and hate this way:
“It’s pretty clear who ruined America. White people. I guess ruining Brooklyn was just a dry run. The Caucasian nation showed up in droves to vote for Trump so I don’t want to hear a goddamn word about black voter turnout. How many times do we expect black people to build our country for us? White people, this is the worst.”
Let’s see: Dishonest (52% of whites voted for Trump), Double Standard (97% of blacks voting for Obama isn’t racial bias, 52% of whites voting for a white man as opposed to a white women proves racism), Racist (If Bee said that “black people” had ruined America, she would be pinked slipped withing minutes) and Not Funny, just vicious.
8. Accountability, one of the core ethical values that the Obama administration emphatically rejected during the past eight years, is at the nucleus of the asshole virus spread by Obama and Democratic leadership. Reports coming out various Democratic leadership meetings indicate that they will continue the society-corrosive trend. They blame “racism” for their loss. They blame James Comey. They blame voter-suppression. They, incredibly, blame the news media, which was colluding with the Clinton campaign, and so biased it was apparent to all. They blame everything but the fact that they had a corrupt candidate who pushed group identification (“The First Woman President!”) over policy, and was defending an administration that had failed in every significant area, with its “signature achievement,” the Affordable Care Act, looking less affordable by the day. It’s all everyone else’s fault. No wonder their young supporters are throwing a tantrum.
Finally, where is Barack Obama? Where is the popular leader whom the rioters revere? How many days of rioting and violence before he deems it worthy of his time to address them directly, and say,
‘I’m ashamed of you, and you disgrace me, the nation, the party, our ideals and yourselves. This is not how our nation works, or how Americans accept electoral defeat. There is no excuse for this, and the history and traditions of our nation reject it utterly. President-Elect Trump prevailed in a hard-fought election, and should not be insulted in this manner, nor should I. We have a duty to support him, his office and our Constitutional government, and to oppose his policies forcefully, civilly and a responsibly when it is appropriate. Do not make my final days in office an ugly display of bitterness and hate.’
It is his absolute duty to do this, and now. Unless, of course, he’s enjoying the riots.
You know what that would mean.
73 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The Post-Election Freak-Out, or “A Nation of Assholes” Reconsidered”
Let’s make a deal. Obama and Trump together issue a joint stament much like the one your post here ends with.
Otherwise, watch out for the coming freight train. http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1580000/images/_1582058_trainap300.jpg
A joint statement now might create an issue as to who is the current President. Trump needs to stay away from creating the impression that he is co president. I do think he can do more to address issues of concern. There is far too many fictional stories fueling the discontent from Macedonian click bait sites. He must work to refute the claims and discredit these sites.
Obama needs to address his followers and Trump should focus on discrediting sources of fictional info.
” Trump should focus on discrediting sources of fictional info.”
Tricky, since he’s supported InfoWars and Breitbart.
But I’m sure he could manage it, and should manage it. So should Obama. Both should tell their followers to cool it. No more riots. No more mostly verbal harassment of minorities.
Not that the anarchists engaged in criminal activity would listen, and I doubt either the KKK nor nazis would either. The vast majority of the sane might though.
Why would Trump urge his followers anything? he’s President elect. Same with Obama. There are citizens, and they are national leaders. Those who don’t follow are rebels, traitors, or criminals. Neither should ever speak of “followers.” The nation is their constituency.
If Obama even got that, the US would be much better off.
Because Trump supporters are unlikely to listen to Obama, but Obama supporters are. And vice versa.
Whatever works to stop the immediate violence, relatively mild though it’s been. Then you can start thinking of yourselves as Americans again, or even just decent human beings who are not obnoxious assholes. Or try not to be.
Example. – here am I, being given the privilege of commenting on Jack’s site, often taking him to task, sticking my beak into your country’s issues. That’s pretty darned arrogant, no?
Yet it’s apparently the American Way to allow such as I to do this. Not just American, you guys have set an example others have followed. Self critical. Actually tolerant. Diverse even. Also taking no… Used food.
Often polite. Respectful.
You’ll remember that again soon.
Me? I’ll try not to abuse the privilege Jack has given me.
Example. – here am I, being given the privilege of commenting on Jack’s site, often taking him to task, sticking my beak into your country’s issues. That’s pretty darned arrogant, no?
No. I’m a great believer in the power and value of culture, but those from another culture can often see pollution that is literally impossible for the fish swimming in the water to detect.
” Yet it’s apparently the American Way to allow such as I to do this. Not just American, you guys have set an example others have followed. Self critical. ”
” those from another culture can often see pollution that is literally impossible for the fish swimming in the water to detect.”
You prove my point. And yes, I can see this even if you can’t. It’s not just the flaws invisible to you that some outsiders can detect. It’s the virtues you either don’t see, or take for granted.
Now if only my own country got a bit more outside critique… a target rich environment in some ways.
Or its virtues that your fish-water distorts to make them look like flaws. Germany thinks free speech is a flaw.
Also true. Given their history, I can see why they feel that way. I just vehemently disagree.
Even when faced with some of the vilest mendacity, true hate campaigns, with lots of money behind the lies. Like this one. We expect far, far more of these in the post-factual era.
The law in question is one in force in over 200 cities and counties, 17 states, and by no stretch of the imagination is this depiction accurate.
Just very very effective propaganda.
Too soon maybe, but you might have to add a Trump election ethics train wreck tag.
Just to declare myself, I completely agree with you about the breathtaking hypocrisy of all the lib-dems out there protesting – many of whom, I suspect, failed to vote. It is precisely the kind of behavior that they would have condemned on the part of Trumpsters had Trump lost.
Good to see you, Charles!
I know right? I was worried that valkygrrl was gonna have to pull all the weight in the “spin everything you can and grasp every straw you can” corner of the left.
Wonder where deery is?
If I were a dedicated liberal, Democrat or Hillary supporter, I’d be hiding my head under a bag. So far, only Joe Manshin, who is only a wan Democrat, has had the guts to condemn this display.
But you have shame.
Charles – agree on all points. Just as I’d take the same view if the political positions were reversed. The Boston Tea Party was a bad precedent you’d do well to abandon.
“The Boston Tea part was a bad precedent you’d do well to abandon.”
What does that mean? Could you elaborate?
The Boston Tea Party was an act of destroying property to protest political policies. She’s suggesting that people shouldn’t do that.
People shouldn’t. But the property being destroyed had a clear nexus to the political issue involved. It has no relationship to the current violent freakout. What message does THAT send? “Our tea taxes are an outrage!” Got it. “We’re morons!”? In most cases, we already knew that, thanks.
I dunno, sounds like special pleading to me.
If some of Trump’s buildings were burned down, that would be a clear nexus then?
Duh, well, yuh! How is that special pleading? These are no protests, it’s like kicking the dog.
“It is precisely the kind of behavior that they would have condemned on the part of Trumpsters had Trump lost.”
Do be honest charles. It’s worse than that as the entire left essentially pre-condemned “trumpsters” for this very behavior…with little evidence that it would actually occur.
In fact the Left also went so far as to make explicit demands that “trumpsters” had better damn well get on board the Hillary presidency and better not make a peep.
You can’t ever just make an honest observation free of making sure you feel a little better about how one sided this appalling spectacle has been can you?
There’s also the lack of right-wing rioting in 2008 and especially 2012 to consider.
I’m not too sure it’s safe to be a member of the Electoral College or in their immediate family these days; I fear some serious voter intimidation is coming their way and if the intimidators don’t get their way on December 19th I suspect outright physical violence will erupt in the streets shortly thereafter.
The hate and the rationalizations are taking hold. This is going to get way out of hand real soon.
It’s going to be a long and eventful couple of months, guaranteed.
Oh, fine. Soon I will be as afraid of the loser Democrats as they say they are of the Trump voters. I was not one, but believe the Democrats and their candidates did deserve the poke in the eye they received.
What next? Really: Federal protection for the Electors? Will it really go that far?
I like this guy. I just wish he would distance himself from Alex Jones.
Liked the video, though he did go on at least a bit longer than he needed to. Especially liked the Tweet: “Yay! It’s World War TWO all over again!” Soros, or no Soros, these people are certainly prey to whatever charlatan got to them last… and say a great deal about the population supporting Hillary. It’s the end of the world. Kidding, just like to echo that…
What I find fascinating is that the Civil War liberals predicted from the conservatives and Tea Partiers is now coming from LIBERALS. I rather suspect that a serious legal movement to secede will fail in SCOTUS, where even Ginsburg knows this is a bad idea.
Secession is a joke, and the ultimate grandstand. First of all, it’s unconstitutional. The Civil War was about that, but never mind: especially with a President Trump,the US would say to such a state, OK, fine: no more federal dollars for anything, and here’s the bill for our property. No treaty: if Mexico or Japan decides to invade, I hope you are a dead aim with slingshots. We’d close the airbases, and the taxes of everyone not on feed stamps would double. California, of course, would want to kill business with taxes increases, so they’d move out, along with jobs, along with millions of Americans who didn’t like losing their citizenship. California is already broke…all of this would ruin it. In short, it’s insane, and even the craziest Californians, if they have any brain cells left after all the drugs, know it.
Of course it is. It is just as much of a joke now as when the libs were accusing Texas of wanting to secede. If for no other reason than no single states economy would support independent existence. As far as it being unconstitutional, that has NOT been tested in court. No defined mechanism does not mean unconstitutional. All the Civil War proved is that an industrial North could defeat an agrarian South. No court decisions on the legality of secession. Might does not, in this case, make right. I stand by my contention, however, that SCOTUS would, now and forever, not look upon a secession petition fondly.
Lincoln maintained there was no right to secede, and the war is a pretty strong precedent. It’s all silly anyway.
Re secession : “It’s all silly anyway”.
That about sums it up, yes. Even more silly than Brexit. I’m talking about a practical details viewpoint, rather than a political one. The events of the 1860s should have put a stop to those ideas.
Much more silly! England existed independently for centuries—it knows it can do it. California, in contrast, is having trouble running itself as a state. It’s hubris.
England? You mean the UK? Its a couple of nations bolted together. England hasn’t existed as an Independant nation since 1707. The union of 1800 didn’t stick, that dissolved in 1920. The 1707 one may go the same way. Wales is splitting too, an ongoing process. The 1542 laws were never popular..
Irrelevant to the point. It has the infrastructure to exist independently and govern itself, with an army. The Golden State doesn’t.
Well, you just killed my dream of declaring my own nation-state.
Doesn’t work, you get deposed, your crown is taken away, you no longer get to use the royal we, your knights abandon you and you fall into a deep depression that you don’t know if you’ll ever manage to crawl out of.
That’s to say nothing about the extra dangers you’d face if you ever had dinner with Walder Frey.
100% correct. They haven’t a clue as to what would really happen if they were their own nation. And I’d love to see if they actually decide to maintain open borders and let Central Americans flood into the place without a plan to sustain them until they are back on their feet.
Wow, thanks. What a load of crap, and a despicable load of crap to boot. I’ll go over it in detail later, but I found an obvious lie immediately, meaning that the whole piece is manipulative and untrustworthy.
“California’s electoral votes haven’t affected a presidential election since 1876.”
REALLY? Wow, I thought. That’s amazing! Also wrong. I decided to check just one of the elections since 1876, just off the top of my head, since it seemed a good candidate to prove this wrong. In 1968, a three way race, California went to Californian Richard M. Nixon, who ended up with 301 electoral votes. Flip California, however, then 40, and Nixon only has 261…short of 270. Then the election goes into the House, where the Democrats have a HUGE majority. Humphrey wins, easily.
I bet there are others in there that contradict the statement, but that’s enough.
You and your contagious nay-saying. You forget that Jerry Brown is their leader.
Fascinating, predictable, and few seem to appreciate the irony.
Jail time is in order for those thugs!
Hopefully they’ll be caught, and hopefully it’s an isolated incident.
When did black kids start kicking people in the head?
This must be Chicago, where they’re not allowed to shoot people in the head.
Well I’m learning to hate the millennial snowflakes. If that’s the goal, thay are succeeding.
Yup. But it’s not their goal, that’s what’s so amazing. They are so blinded by indoctrination, ignorance and hubris that they don’t realize how repulsive and ridiculous they appear to anyone not under the same delusions and missing the same ethics alarms.
All my friends and family who were constantly quoting the Huff Post about “he incites violence” are now “protesting because america chose hate”
sigh… I’m so tempted to say “OMG you assholes!” but… I’m being kind. Thanksgiving should be interesting.
Jack did you see this?? you MUST watch it. It’s brilliant. Truly. (notice I am till using upper and lower case?)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLG9g7BcjKs (you will laugh i think!)
Oh, it’s absolutely true…if you’re not in lockstep, you are mocked and shunned.
That…might be the greatest video that I have ever seen. In my entire life.
I saw it this morning. Yes, quite good, brilliant even. I posted it on Medium.
This guy… he UNDERSTANDS why they lost.
Here come dat freight train… A Running List Of Reported Racist Incidents After Donald Trump’s Victory (updated Nov. 12)
1. It’s BuzzFeed.
2. What’s the comparable # in anormal week?
3. I stopped after 3. #1 isn’t racism. #2. Sounds like a hoax, or at least like some of the incidents that have been credulously reported by the news media and turned up as false flag operations.
4. How is #3 racist? It’s anti-Muslim, maybe. I guess it’s mean.
Telling unsubstantiated tales that are used to justify violent action and unfair assumptions—Donald Trump is not responsible for what jerks do, unless it is demonstrable that they wouldn’t do it without him. If Buzzfeed listed every alleged blowjob a boss got from a subordinate after Clinton was acquitted in the impeachment trial, what would it prove, exactly? And would it be remotely fair?
I’ll check the whole list when I’m more awake, but the first 3 are not encouraging.
One more thing: this is a confirmation bias trap, either way. That’s why such stories need to be vetted and qualified.
The two I saw reported a few days ago involved people being robbed. Since when do hate crimes, so called, involve robberies? Aren’t those simply robberies? These people supposedly editing media re incompetent, at best.
We should seriously consider letting California go. Though instead of an independent nation – we just give it back to Mexico. Maybe the left would prefer that.
As liberals have frequently said of Texas and the South, and as the whole country has occasionally thought about New York City.
1) We’re all in this together. 2) It’s so crazy that it’s not worth talking about, even in jest. California can’t secede, but the talk about it is insulting to the rest of the nation, and intended to be. Rather than trying to secede, Golden Staters should be trying to grow the hell up. THAT may be possible, and a lot more beneficial.
1) All evidence is to the contrary.
That’s flat out untrue, but typical of the divisive attitude the last 8 years have encouraged. Thanks for the demonstration.
How ‘in this together’ of you. Want to cast some more blame to show just how strong the bonds are?
You are trolling. I point out ethical misconduct, not “blame.” It’s called accountability, and my job is to assign it. Being one country doesn’t mean there is no accountability.
It would make for an illuminating and entertaining experiment, though.
I agree with you, and Amen! Especially as regards Obama’s unwillingness to try to calm down the ‘demonstrators,’ and what his real legacy will likely be.
However, I think you should drop Number 5. You really don’t know the voting records of the demonstrators, and taking a cue from Geraldo Rivera’s question, or making assumptions of your own based on the polls now extant — and should we accept any poll at this point? — is not enough. In the interest of honesty, I’d delete #5, at least for this post.
Imagine this scenario: The idiots collect enough signatures in California to get secession on the ballot. It wins (likely?) and the Governor of California, now styling himself “President Brown”, sends a letter to the Secretary of the Interior demanding that all Federal property and personnel be removed from the “Sovereign Nation of California”. DOJ files suit against California and it is fast tracked to SCOTUS. The California A.G. argues that the 9th and 10th amendments give the states the right to secede. SCOTUS retires to deliberate and GALES of laughter are heard coming from the Chief Justices office. The court reconvenes and tells the California A.G. that he’s an idiot, his case has failed, and to go home and sulk. NOW, secession is unconstitutional.
Then Jerry Brown castrates himself, and all Californians take out alien abduction insurance and purchase Nike sneakers and large quantities of phenobarbital.
Haven’t you heard? Nike sneakers are a no-no, now.
Not Nike. New Balance.
Eh, NB makes sucky running shoes anyway. Brooks is where it’s at.