Ed Moore: The Current Headlines of the Day Remind Us Character Matters in Politics

With President Joe Biden’s and his family’s deal-making and former President Donald Trump’s legal counsel paying a large sum of money to a porn actress dominating our airways, we have descended so deeply down the gradient of what is tolerable in those who seek higher office that character is no longer a variable in how we vote.

Behavior no longer seems to matter. Using a more rigid grading scale no longer seems to matter. We have succumbed to Marshall McLuhan’s famous line, “the media is the message.” We digest whatever we are fed. Of late, the meals the media feed us have become as biased and divided as our politics. Does life imitate art, or is it the reverse? Frankly, we should expect more. We don’t need Father Knows Best, but it’s a far gap between when that show ran in the 1950s and now.

I remember when my kids were young, and we had to explain the context of the Clinton/Lewinsky issues. Clinton survived all that with no lasting consequences for him but real consequences for us. The bar for acceptable behavior in our public officials seems to have been lowered or even removed. Remember when Jimmy Carter got grief for his brother’s antics? Now, family behaviors of the worst sorts–disgusting pictures and videos, foreign entanglements, and drug issues–just do not seem to resonate.

When our leaders face trouble, their partisans circle in defense. One side focuses on a nonsensical DA seeking to charge a former President with a financial violation with little, if any, mention that the “violation” involved paying an “actress” in porn movies to ostensibly be quiet about her “relationship’” with that president before he took office. I remember when consorting in any manner with porn actors would have likely been an issue a politician could not overcome. Fanne Fox and Wilbur Mills, Bob Packwood, Barney Frank, Robert Livingston, Gary Hart, and many other long-faded politicians come to mind.

The other side seems so hungry to tarnish the former president that they turn a blind eye to the shenanigans and malarkey emanating from both the current occupant of the White House, the publicly paid staff in the White House, supporters of the president and large segments of the supplicant media, in print, and across the airwaves. The records seem pretty clear that money from nefarious sources, huge amounts of money, has been given to more than one member of the president’s family. For what, how much, and who received it all seem relevant and should be of concern to every American, regardless of political persuasion.

The bar of acceptable behavior needs to be reset. We cannot erase the pasts of people who seek to lead. We can create acceptable standards and use those to guide our choices. There are very good and decent office holders, although these days, they seem more plentiful at the state level. Washington has become so poisoned by politics that good policy lies on the side like a pod of suicidal whales on the closest beach.

I remember Howard Beale, the troubled broadcaster in Network, crying out, “I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore!” It’s a refrain we all need to adopt as our own since character matters.

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