“Character counts,” they said

I really, really wish the people who for my entire life have insisted character matters, even and especially among our leaders, would stop sharing their rationalizations for the utterly repugnant behavior of the candidate they’re supporting or planning to support. I sincerely don’t begrudge or look down on anyone voting for whomever they choose, but this is not about my opinion on who people are voting for. It’s about the minimization and defense of the kind of stuff you’d discipline your kids for or fire an employee for or oust a teacher or principal for. There’s a difference between soberly voting as you decide you should vote and joining a public apologetic for unrepentant ugliness. Be released – you don’t have to defend that garbage. Just vote.

But please stop telling us we aren’t electing a preacher in chief. I’m aware. (I’m a preacher, and I’d be less likely than most to vote for one.) But we weren’t electing a preacher in any of the previous elections or administrations when you (and sometimes I) lamented and lambasted the immoral attitudes and activities of candidates you (and I) opposed. We said then that integrity mattered, politics be damned, remember?

Please stop telling us that no one is perfect, as if that applies to your candidate but not the other. As if none of us have the intelligence or discernment to know the difference between imperfection and belligerent contempt for decency.

If you’re done with all of that – if power and money and whatever else are the measures that actually count now instead of character and respectability – just say so. Cash it in. But be clear about it. Don’t play the game and minimize the childish nonsense, irresponsibility, and disregard for “lesser” people, and then circle back to preaching about character when it seems convenient again. It will be a resounding gong, a clanging cymbal. And our ears are already bleeding.

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