Ethics Alarms must now designate the collective freakout following Donald Trump’s victory and the massive national rejection of the Democratic party as an Ethics Train Wreck, distinct from the two candidates’ individual train wrecks that engulfed their campaigns. So far, most of the passengers leaping onto the metaphorical rambling wreckage hail from the progressive and Democratic ranks, not helping their crumbling national stature at all.
Coming up in four posts are four recent screeds and missives that demonstrate various degrees and kinds of ethics rot. The rot is wide and deep, and helps explain why so many young American think that pointless chanting, shouting and violence is a rational response to a disappointing election result.
I. Nevada Senator Harry Reid
Senate minority leader Harry Reid released this statement about the election of Donald Trump:
I have personally been on the ballot in Nevada for 26 elections and I have never seen anything like the reaction to the election completed last Tuesday. The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America.
“White nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear – especially African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, LGBT Americans and Asian Americans. Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America.
“I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics. Hispanic Americans who fear their families will be torn apart, African Americans being heckled on the street, Muslim Americans afraid to wear a headscarf, gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands. American children waking up in the middle of the night crying, terrified that Trump will take their parents away. Young girls unable to understand why a man who brags about sexually assaulting women has been elected president.
“I have a large family. I have one daughter and twelve granddaughters. The texts, emails and phone calls I have received from them have been filled with fear – fear for themselves, fear for their Hispanic and African American friends, for their Muslim and Jewish friends, for their LBGT friends, for their Asian friends. I’ve felt their tears and I’ve felt their fear.
“We as a nation must find a way to move forward without consigning those who Trump has threatened to the shadows. Their fear is entirely rational, because Donald Trump has talked openly about doing terrible things to them. Every news piece that breathlessly obsesses over inauguration preparations compounds their fear by normalizing a man who has threatened to tear families apart, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and who has directed crowds of thousands to intimidate reporters and assault African Americans. Their fear is legitimate and we must refuse to let it fall through the cracks between the fluff pieces.
“If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans. Donald Trump may not possess the capacity to assuage those fears, but he owes it to this nation to try.
“If Trump wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately.”
1. Never before has a party leader so openly attacked the result of an America Presidential election, and so unprofessionally impugned the character of a newly elected President. As usual, Reid uses rumors, insuendo, unsubstantiated accounts and unfair assumptions to instill fear and anger among those foolish enough to trust him, despite a long career of hateful and hyper-partisan tactics.
2. Like so many Democrats in the wake of Trump’s victory, Reid’s hypocrisy is breathtaking. He is inciting violence with this statement. It is the antithesis of healing. It violates the traditions of the Senate, and undermines the functioning of the three branch Constitutional government. Those who swallow the narrative that Republicans obstructed legislation at every turn need to consider: this atrocious, vicious, vindictive,ruthless man was the one they had to trust and negotiate with.
3. How can Democrats reconcile their vocal revulsion at Donald Trump’s character when they allowed this man to lead them in the Senate for so many years? What message has that sent? How many potentially ethical Democratic Party members did he corrupt?
4. If the Democratic Party was interested in presenting a unifying and responsible image to the country at a crucial time, it would repudiate and rebuke Senator Reid. President Obama, as the leader of the party, should do so. Nah. So far, only Senator Joe Manshin, a moderate Democrat who seeks reelection in two years, has objected, writing,
“Senator Harry Reid’s statement today attacking President-elect Trump is wrong! It is an absolute embarrassment to the Senate as an institution, our Democratic party, and the nation. I want to be very clear, he does not speak for me.
As difficult as it is for anyone to lose an election, the American people have spoken and Donald Trump is our President-elect. Senator Reid’s words needlessly feed the very divisiveness that is tearing this country apart. Now, more than ever, it is time for us all to come together as Americans. We must as Secretary Clinton and President Obama so graciously said, have an open mind and give President-elect Trump the chance to lead.
To be clear, as I have always said and believed, I will work with anyone, no matter their party, to improve the lives of West Virginians and all Americans. Just as I will oppose anyone who may propose policies that hurt our nation; we are Americans first, not Democrats or Republicans first.
Unfortunately, there are some who forget that at times like these it is wrong to put party and politics above our country.”