I admit it. I can’t keep up with all the progressive/Democrat/Hillary Corrupted/journalist and pundit freakouts over Donald Trump’s election, and I don’t want to. There is more to ethics and life than pointing out how completely so many have abandoned reason, fairness, proportion and their own previously stated principles because Donald Trump won the election. Well, that’s another beneficial effect of the result: Trump has inadvertently exposed how thin the veneer of decency and fairness was for a large number of institutions, occupations and individuals. Among the examples about which I could and probably should write complete posts, but won’t, are these:
New York Times columnist Charles Blow, he of the anti-Mormon slurs against Mitt Romney before the 2012 election. Remember how Rush Limbaugh was excoriated by journalists, progressives and Democrats for saying, after Obama’s election, that he hoped the new President would fail? Here is Blow, in my print Times this morning, declaring in advance his irrevocable hate:
I have not only an ethical and professional duty to call out how obscene your very existence is at the top of American government; I have a moral obligation to do so.I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, but rather to speak up for truth and honor and inclusion. This isn’t just about you, but also about the moral compass of those who see you for who and what you are, and know the darkness you herald is only held at bay by the lights of truth….
So let me say this on Thanksgiving: I’m thankful to have this platform because as long as there are ink and pixels, you will be the focus of my withering gaze.I’m thankful that I have the endurance and can assume a posture that will never allow what you represent to ever be seen as everyday and ordinary. No, Mr. Trump, we will not all just get along. For as long as a threat to the state is the head of state, all citizens of good faith and national fidelity — and certainly this columnist — have an absolute obligation to meet you and your agenda with resistance at every turn.
This is the theme of the unethical response of the Angry Left—which increasingly appears to include everyone on the that side of the political spectrum. The double standard reigns. Conservatives should accept election results with grace and patriotism in the interests of national unity, but liberals can scream, protest, attack the system and claim fraud indefinitely. Republicans shouldn’t use fear as a political weapon, but Democrats can. Americans should give elected leaders a chance to progress beyond the uncivil and excessive rhetoric on both sides during a campaign, with the exception of this President.
Montgomery County, Maryland, Schools. Students at high schools across the county, one of the most wealthy in the United States, walked out of classes for three consecutive days without consequences or even criticism from school officials, who mouthed platitudes about freedom of speech and peaceful protests. This was irresponsible and flaming political bias, as what was being protested was the usual civic life of the United States, nothing more. These children’s parents and teachers had simply convinced them that Trump is Satan, that’s all, as well as probably telling them that Hillary’s e-mail scandal was a “nothingburger” and that President Obama belongs on Mount Rushmore. Nonetheless, if a lawful election result is going to be regarded as a just reason to skip classes, what isn’t? The Baltimore Orioles being eliminated from the baseball play-offs? A Federal court knocking down another unconstitutional Obama regulation? What about students who—I know this is absurd, but it’s just a hypothetical–wanted to be educated for those three days? The message articulated by county administrators was “if it’s anything, real or imagined, that gets a progressive’s ire up, that’s worth skipping school for, and we salute our young leftists, since that’s what we’re trying to raise here.”
That is, this was the message until some of those good young indoctrinated liberals beat the snot out of a Trump-supporting student for expressing his rights. Then the students were ordered back to school, with this incredible statement by Superintendent Jack Smith:
“While MCPS supports everyone’s right to assemble and respectfully express themselves, these demonstrations have unfortunately generated validate concerns regarding the security of our students outside of our schools. When students are threatened or injured as part of a protest, it raises serious safety issues that require us to rethink the situation.”
Vassar College. Jon Chenette, the interim president of Vassar College, felt Thanksgiving was a sufficient justification to send this letter to the campus:
From: Office of the President
Date: Wed, Nov 23, 2016 at 2:18 PM
Subject: Message from Interim President Chenette
Dear members of the extended Vassar community,
With the approach of Thanksgiving break, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the texture of campus life in the wake of the recent election. There can be few more interesting places to be than a college campus in the face of such major change in our nation, and few more important tasks than helping our students, regardless of how they voted, chart a way ahead that aligns with their deep commitment to a more just and sustainable world.
I have been heartened by what I have seen. Within hours of the election, students engaged in debate, informal conversation, critical analyses, and also protest, in response to the social and political situation in which we find ourselves. Many faculty have created opportunities in their classes for talking about the concerns on students’ minds, offering the benefit of their knowledge as scholars and, importantly, their support as mentors. Students have expressed a renewed commitment to standing up – with each other – for what they believe in and for what they desire and expect of our community and nation. In all of this, I see resilience, courage, and strength.
For two days immediately after the election, we were blessed by a residency from Ysaye Barnwell, until recently a member of the Grammy Award-winning a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. Her Thursday night “community sing” had a filled Villard Room harmonizing in four parts to rousing protest and gospel tunes that had inspired and united the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, complete with instructions for adapting verses to the day – “ain’t gonna let no misogyny get me down…” Many other such serendipitous moments have graced our days these past two weeks.
Now, as the next chapter in our country’s history takes shape, many of our students, faculty, and staff have concerns and questions about the course the nation will be taking. And they worry about actions threatened, particularly against people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, and others. In this context, academic work and extracurricular projects have been infused with new meaning and energy, as you who know the college well would expect. But there is also confusion and anxiety, mirroring moods pervasive throughout our country.
As a college, a main source of our strength lies in our sense of community and in our commitment to having that community be as inclusive and empowering as possible. We believe strongly that people from all backgrounds and circumstances belong at Vassar. We commit whole-heartedly to the support and encouragement of our students, especially at a time when some in our country seem to be calling into question the rights of some groups to full dignity and respect.
We also have an obligation to speak out, and we are doing so. I have joined a group of more than 100 college and university presidents in writing to the president-elect urging him to condemn the hate speech and acts of violence being perpetrated across our country. It is a first step, one I know will be followed by continued debate, discussion, and activism on the part of our students, our faculty, and our staff.
I have also joined the historical Seven Sisters Colleges in an open letter to the president-elect’s appointee as chief strategist, who has a shameful record of homophobic and misogynistic statements and support for other hateful speech. And I have signed on to a statement calling on elected and incoming government officials to recognize the moral and societal value of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and to continue to uphold that program and expand it in the future. I have provided a link here to those documents.
As recent events make clear, much work lies ahead. But as this campus makes clear, there is much to be thankful for. I hope that all of you will find comfort and joy in your family and friends during the coming weeks. I hope further, for all of us and for those we care about so deeply, that as a country we can reaffirm our commitment to the rights of all people.
Universities and colleges are not political parties, political activist organizations, partisan organizations, or monolithic totalitarian indoctrination machines. If they behave as any of those, they are breaching their duty as educators. Chenette is welcome to his own views and opinions, but he is not entitled to impose them on his students, characterize opposing views as sinister, or engage in proactive partisan fear-mongering, all of which he is doing here. He cannot command the students as “we” or tell them what their political obligations and positions must be. This is indoctriination, and the chilling of free speech on campus. Who would dare openly make the case, in the wake of this letter, that the Left’s attacks on Steve Bannon are wildly excessive (which they are), or that the country is not “calling into question the rights of some groups to full dignity and respect,’ but only questioning the wisdom of ignoring the rule of law and reality? Universities may not ethically demand that either a student falls into line with anti-Trump cant or risk being a pariah and an outcast, yet this is exactly what Vassar and other schools are doing.
Hypocrisy is an inadequately harsh description of this kind of conduct.