Sunday, October 09, 2016
My Sunday Feeling
As I tell the kids, when it comes to writing, "beginnings and endings" ("ledes and walkaways" in the parlance of journalism) are important. And I confess that I don't quite know where to begin when it comes to the latest revelation about Donald Trump, the Party Formerly of Lincoln's nominee for President. But we have to start somewhere. So here goes.
As the whole world knows by now, last week a tape was leaked of a conversation between he and the amazingly named Billy Bush as they were en route to Trump making a cameo appearance on the soap opera "Days of Our Lives" in 2005. These tapes were made for the reality show "Access Hollywood" of which Mr. B was a host. Or something.
Suffice it to say, his remarks about women and his prowess with them (for lack of a better word) were shockingly lewd and juvenile for an (alleged) gentleman of his age and station. They will not be repeated here as you can easily find them elsewhere.
I am no prude. I am not one to be offended by coarse language or the off-color joke. Lord knows I am perfectly capable of making the air turn blue, particularly on the golf course. And while I try to be thoughtful in my choice of words I occasionally make a mistake, as I did a couple of weeks ago.
And I have been in the company of all manner of men in my youth and adulthood. In the locker room. On the golf course. In the stands. In the tavern. In the hallway outside the courtroom.
I've been with them when they were drunk, when they were angry, when they were under stress, and when they have tried to hit on women.
I have been with men when they are unhappy with women in general or with their woman in particular. I've heard the "b" word. I've used the "b" word.
My point, and I do have one, in the words of Ellen DeGeneres, is that I cannot recall anybody ever talking about women in general as Trump is heard talking about them on the tape. You might expect that sort of attitude from a poorly socialized 15 year old boy. You don't expect to hear that from a reputed business icon, one whose wife was pregnant at the time.
But I will let others explain the gravity of those words from the female perspective. I cannot possibly do them the justice this moment requires.
But my biggest issue is not the words he used, vile as they are, or the attitude of superiority over women they convey. It is Donald Trump's blind eye to place, circumstance or surroundings. And/or possible consequences for his acts.
He was en route to tape a show. He was in the presence of a TV personality whom he was favoring with his insights into the relationship between the sexes.
Did it not occur to him that there might be a "live" mic somewhere capturing these pensees for all eternity? Or did he just not care? Was it a momentary lapse of judgment? Or was it hubris?
I have my grave doubts that there was ever a proper time or place for such reprehensible words. But we may all agree wherever such a place might be it was not en route to a taping of a soap opera where audio recording technology abounds. You would think that a person with his mostly self-hyped intellect and media experience would comport himself with a modicum of restraint and dignity in mixed company as the old expression goes.
But he did not.
Trump has apologized. Sorta. And he says that those comments made 11 years ago do not reflect the man he is today. Perhaps. The task of judging men's hearts has not been delegated unto me in any event. So I will not do so.
But do the American people really want to give the keys to the military and the apparatus of diplomacy to a man who exercised such monumentally poor judgment in 2005?
Are we really willing to bet something that stupid won't happen again? Over something that matters?