My cronies and I were sitting in a local cigar bar, posing inappropriate questions to Siri on our iPhones when the topic switched over to the presidential election.
“How can you possibly vote for Hillary when she can sit there on national television and tell a bald faced lie about what the FBI said about her?” demanded a voice.
“Well, how can you vote for Trump when he insulted the mother of a hero who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan?” shot back similarly outraged retort.
Both of them were right. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are equally appalling individuals, of the kind that our parents warned us against associating with when we were starting out in the world. When Trump bragged several months ago that he could commit murder in Times Square and his supporters would not abandon him — he was right! Little did we know that the supporters of Secretary Clinton have an equal tolerance for intolerable behavior. Now, instead of denying that she committed a certain action with her emails, Clinton is denying that we SAW and HEARD the director of the FBI say certain things about her. Are we going to believe her or our lying eyes?
Someone reminded me the other day about the scathing statement that Robert Welch delivered Senator Eugene McCarthy that delivered him up to the American public with an apple in his mouth: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”
One could very easily imagine someone, say an FBI director, or the parent of a person killed in Benghazi, delivering that line to Secretary Clinton (with a ma’am instead of a sir.) Just as it is easily imaginable to hear it delivered by an angry Gold Star Mother to Trump over his remarks about the Muslem father of a soldier who died in the line of duty. No they have no sense of decency or shame, and neither do we voters.
For years it was common for voters to say, “I don’t vote for the party, I vote for the man (or woman.)” Voters used to take into account the characters of the people they voted for. As recently as three years ago Anthony Weiner was forced to resign as a member of Congress for texting inappropriate photos. Today, I’m not sure Weiner would have to resign. Not in this political climate. His supporters would simply shrug and say, “He’ll vote the way I want him to, who cares if he has any character? Nobody’s perfect.”
For centuries the name of the great philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli has been routinely slandered because, among other sins, he was a realist who believed that in politics and rule of “the Prince” that the end justifies the means.
Behold the rise of the end justifies the means voter.
We still have 90 days left to go before our long national nightmare ends — only to begin a few days later. What atrocities will we see and hear committed in the next three months?
What will we forgive and forget and sweep under the rug in the name of the end justifies the means?