The other day I was watching the PBS series titled “Grantchester.” It is about an Anglican Priest and his relationship with a police detective, the girl he loves but who married another man, dealing with his parish and gay curate (assistant priest) and how he battles with drinking and dalliance with a woman of questionable reputation. In this particular episode, the last of the season, he is speaking about forgiveness and imperfection in his sermon. Now I was watching this episode shortly after NBC brought out the eleven year old audio of Donald Trump talking to a Hollywood Access reporter (Billy Bush) in the privacy of Bush’s trailer or so Trump thought. The microphone attached to him was “hot” that is picking up what he was saying and what he said was being recorded. What was being said about women was more than off color, it was something that was disgusting. And yet it was being said and now has come back to haunt him and virtually destroyed his campaign to become President of the United States of America. The October surprise from Wikileaks about Hillary Clinton was buried under the media coverage of this eleven year old recording and subsequent revelation, by several women accusing Trump of inappropriate advances, some of them having occurred over 30 years ago.
For some reason those lines spoken in that TV show struck me. I began to think about who we are as human beings and how we have managed to destroy the will of the people and the trajectory of the Presidential campaign so close to election day.
Let me present to you what I mean by all of this.
1. NBC had this tape of what Trump said for 11 years. One begins to wonder why they didn’t produce it during the Republican Primary. Certainly it would have had the potential to have knocked Trump out of the running. One begins to conjure-up conspiracy theories such as perhaps the media sources needed those ratings which Trump brought to them during the primary campaign. Then once he got nominated and was running neck and neck with Hillary Clinton they could bring out this damaging audio tape and find accusers as well if needed. Certainly the Clinton campaign emails and those of the Democratic Party clearly show how Clinton worked with party establishment and media against Bernie Sanders. It’s not a stretch to conclude that the Clinton campaign with her blessing did the same type of sabotage to the Trump campaign.
2. Does all of this make it proper for Donald Trump to have said what he did about women? Absolutely not! However to say, as President Obama did, that rating women a 2 or 10 on some kind of scale isn’t done and is unacceptable, is also a far-fetched statement. I grew up in Chicago, just like the President. I don’t know what locker rooms he entered but at my high school and college such ratings were common place. Now it’s true that we were much younger than Trump was in these tapes when he said those graphic words but then most of us didn’t continue our lives in the spotlight of Hollywood life style as he did after achieving enormous success in business.
3. Because we are imperfect beings is exactly why we sometimes fail or sin, (as we believers would say). It is that thought which made me think of what my mother said about Bill Clinton’s actions with women while he was married and even serving as President in the Oval Office. She would say that was his private life. She separated his public and private behavior and ideas as did many Americans of the time. Why then aren’t we doing that for Trump, I ask the American people.
4. Sex trumps political issues that’s why, is what I’ve heard. “Come on,” I retort. If America forgave Bill Clinton for his deeds and the media helped to make him the most popular former President since George Washington or Dwight Eisenhower, then why is this smothering coverage of something which happened over a decade ago and even 30 years ago so compelling…so unforgiveable?
It’s not difficult to see that almost no one is covering the Wikileaks Clinton campaign emails except to say that Russia is behind the hacking of them. The Democrats use only that response to address the emails; almost never answering the issues raised in them. They obviously demonstrate that Hillary and her aides plan to have public and private positions on issues such as trade, banks, Wall St., Catholics, Evangelicals, and so forth.
In any other year such emails would have destroyed a person’s campaign. But not this year, and that’s because powerful people are afraid of Trump. They are frightened that he will actually do what he says and shake up Washington. They are worried that he will tell it like it is, in plain language and that cannot be allowed.
“And so my fellow Americans,” as another admired leader, who was flawed, once said; I ask you to look into your hearts and find a bit of mercy. The type of mercy which people like William Shakespeare put into words.
“The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath; it is twice blest. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest…it is an attribute to God himself.” (Merchant of Venice: Act IV Scene 1). This sentiment rings true for us this election season. We have already accepted Hillary Clinton’s statement that she made a mistake in using a private server in her home to conduct government business and that she would not do it again. We have forgiven her husband for his indiscretions.
Now, shall we show mercy and forgive, not approve, and accept Trump’s apology to the nation for what he said over decade or more ago and in doing so refocus our attention on ideas, policies and issues which will affect the lives of us all in America for years to come?
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