There is no defense. The danger of any comment on the video of Donald Trump’s lewd comments is that it will appear to defend him. What he said was gross. Full stop.
This post, however, is not directly about Trump the man or about what political action is called for from the GOP at the moment. It’s more me unburdening myself of a resentment. Forgive me if what follows sounds a bit self-righteous. It’s not my intent to scold, but to build to a different point.
I hate Donald Trump’s and Billy Bush’s conversation; it sickens me. But I’m equally sickened by everyone’s on-demand horror. When I was in high school, a large percentage of my friends, particularly my guy friends, listened to Howard Stern’s radio show every morning. I never listened, but I caught the gist in their joking comments, and later in life I caught a few moments of his cable TV show. I gather that abusive talk about women was the whole point of the show. Stern talked that way about women to their faces—evaluating their body parts and telling them what he’d like to do to them, and they submitted (the right word!) for publicity’s sake. When male guests visited, they joined Stern for, yes, “locker room” bragging about their sexual exploits. That was the show, and it was celebrated—enough for Stern to go from radio to cable TV to a movie about his life.
Rap lyrics celebrate the assault of women all day long, and our pop stars twerk for the precise purpose of attracting lewd attention, and some of these artists are fêted at the White House and elsewhere as role models for young people. My friends—even some of my pious Christian friends—watch and celebrate Game of Thrones, which if I understand correctly, features graphic depictions of the demeaning of women and everyone else.
Bill Maher, hero to the Left (and likewise to some on the Right for his straight talk about Islam), has a foul mouth and celebrates his hanging out at the Playboy Mansion, where people are known to behave in the way Trump describes, and that is perfectly cool. Even Ann Coulter wants to be friends with him.
President Kennedy joked about his presidency being like a golf course; I will spare you the foul punch line if you don’t already know it. Senator Ted Kennedy was caught in flagrante delicto drunk and palming waitresses. Bill Clinton is a known sexual predator. Joe Biden has often been shown on camera being far too handsy with pretty women.
The progressive culture advocates teaching kids to talk in vulgar ways about their sexuality from the time of kindergarten so they’ll be sex-positive. This administration has launched an all-out legal assault on chastity such that any instance of pure living must be wiped out—yea, verily, even unto the Little Sisters of the Poor: You, who are consecrated to being a sign in the world of the glory for which men and women were created and are destined? You will bend to the sexual revolution and finance it.
The Washington Post, on the very morning when it was tut-tutting over Trump’s words, also ran a piece lamenting the demise of a brothel, where women are treated as objects and assaulted and demeaned.
I hate this gross culture that demeans women and sex. It makes me feel sick to my stomach when I think about young men steeped in this sick culture going anywhere near my daughter, who is the most beautiful soul on earth—or anyone else’s daughter. For that matter, I hate the idea of my sons being surrounded by people who can’t behold them as persons, but only dissect them for parts.
But I hate even more the even grosser culture of The Lie where someone like Hillary Clinton or people like the editorialists at the Washington Post and the Formerly Grey Lady get to point their fingers and pretend they didn’t create and celebrate the culture in which Trump merely partakes.
These people who celebrate porn and abortion and make heroic figures out of small-souled, sex-deluded creatures such as Bill Maher and Lena Dunham and Sandra Fluke and lionize sick predator men like the Kennedys and Bill Clinton are not merely being hypocrites or playing politics when they denounce Trump. They are deliberately engaging in The Lie: the corruption of meaning itself. They aren’t outraged because they’re decent. They’re using our decency as a pawn in their quest for political power.
I don’t even have an expletive strong enough to express my contempt for what we’re witnessing this news cycle. All I know is I deeply resent being put in a position where denouncing the grossness of Trump’s remarks becomes playing into a larger Lie and everyone’s rightful disgust becomes a mere political tool.
This is the problem of the corruption of culture, as Harriet Beecher Stowe illustrated brilliantly in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. There, the good guys who defend human dignity are forced by the culture itself to become outlaws—to lie to hide runaway slaves, or break the law to participate in the Underground Railroad. They are forced to defend what they ordinarily would find indefensible in order to defend the greater goods of human liberty, human dignity, and equality before the law. In a corrupt culture, no matter what you do, no one escapes with his purity intact.