President Trump awakened the moral arbiters in all his critics the day he announced his bid for the presidency. Those who were silent of the celebrity billionaire’s character flaws or personal sins prior to his entering politics have now experienced a sudden onset of self-righteousness that has sparked a quasi-moral revolution.
Many have used the President’s questionable moral behavior to attack the religious right; arguing that no Christian could support Donald Trump while also maintaining they follow the Word of God. These charges have been applied generally to all Republican voters in an attempt to question their virtue. In an increasingly irreligious society that celebrates “you doing you” and advocates for a judge-free and shameless culture, why then, is our president not extended the same secular courtesy?
A common argument is that it’s because the leader of the free world is held to a higher moral standard, and that voting on character is just as important as voting on policy. Is it? Historically, this is not the case. Of course, we would like the individual holding the highest office of the land to have irrefutable moral character. However, I can name every morally pure president on one hand – if I was missing all of my fingers.
Since the birth of our nation, politicians have displayed some of the most egregious character flaws, especially when they’re thrust into a world that operates on lust, greed, and power. Politicians have never been our moral role models.
Ideological alignment has always trumped character. An alignment of political beliefs is a powerful tool of forgiveness. Not to mention forgetfulness. From John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, people tend to put on rose-colored glasses for the society-hailed thought leaders despite their moral shortfalls.
The entire Kennedy family was notorious for their philandering, drug use, and inability to shy away from scandal. Ted Kennedy was dubbed “The Lion of the Senate” despite driving a car drunk with Mary Jo Kopechne off of a bridge and leaving her to drown.
The beloved John F. Kennedy had a laundry list of condemnable actions including, but not limited to, routinely engaging in affairs with women other than his wife, including high-class prostitutes, going so far as hosting them in the White House. He also used White House aides as drug mules and made a habit of using his secret service as watch dogs to protect the secrecy of his objectively immoral rendezvous.
After the White House saw the abuse of drugs and prostitution, it could have used a little moral character to spruce up the place. In comes JFK’s successor Lyndon B. Johnson to do the exact opposite. In fact, LBJ openly bragged about having sex with more women than JFK and was known to be a serial flasher. I would also be remiss if I didn’t name drop Bill Clinton among those who had a hard time separating business with pleasure while in office.
Sexual malfeasance isn’t the only thing that has historically occupied the White House. Bigotry was very much alive and well. Woodrow Wilson advocated for a homogenous Caucasian population, Lyndon B. Johnson didn’t shy away from the n-word or his segregationist history, and the Clinton’s have had their fair share of racially charged rhetoric.
Let’s not forget about lies and scandals that plagued the Oval Office of Trump’s predecessor. Barrack Obama’s legacy was littered with corruption including the lie, “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it,” Fast and Furious, the IRS abuse, lying about the cause of Benghazi, illegally intervening in Libya, and lying about side deals and United States’ bank access in the Iran Deal.
These scandals have been conveniently forgotten by the mainstream media and the political left. Why? Because integrity, morality, and honorable character aren’t leading factors in how a political figure is viewed by their ideological allies. Agreeing on policy is the golden ticket to exoneration in the court of public opinion, which creates an inconsistent standard when measuring character.
It’s ok to desire a president that embodies a moral persona, however, to use it as a basis for a political endorsement makes for poor rationale. Our country’s foundation was built for a moral people, but our standard for morality in the highest office of the land has long been shattered.
The true testament of morality when it comes to assessing public officials is the content of their actions as a result of their word. Making promises and keeping those promises has been a rarity in public life. After all, overselling and under-delivering is the bread and butter of campaigning. If we want to present an honest and objective standard for measuring character in the White House, look to what was said versus what was done.
Love him or hate him, Trump has been delivering on his campaign promises. From repealing Obama era regulations to moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the President has stuck to his word. You don’t have to agree with the man’s policies to recognize this reality. Trump does not operate under the inconsistent standards of the faux moral revolution; he is operating under the premise of following through with what the American people hired him to do. He sold promises, and he delivered. That’s the integrity that matters in politics.
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