Speak up from a social conscience

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

Who is it I know who lacks a sense of moral responsibility and social conscience?
Not anyone I know personally, but I fear I read about a person like this more often than my health can tolerate. But there is something compelling about watching self-serving people and how they get away with it.

Reading about scurrilous characters is akin to slowing down on the interstate to watch the leftovers of a bad accident.

This particular bad accident that’s infringing on my health will go down in history as the biggest car wreck I’ve ever slowed down to be horrified by.

What is it about the bad that intrigues us? Why are we drawn to read about or watch on TV a person of low moral capacity? I have many friends who love “The Sopranos,” a TV series about American Mafia bad guys (is that redundant?). My friends are in fact hooked on it and continue to watch episodes on rainy Sunday afternoons.

As are many of us hooked on the movies about the ruffians of the Russian Mafia. Those folks have dead eyes, too.

We humans who watch such things avidly…what is the fascination? Pity that they weren’t loved enough as babies? Compassion because they act boorish? The vicarious wish that we could be like them and not have to care about anyone but ourselves?

It’s always one of my questions with the current liar, con man, cheat who dominates all ways of current communication.

The fellow is of questionable masculinity, for he is thin-skinned and cannot take a joke (he never got over Obama joking about him at the Press Roast, where every president for decades has been dissed, and laughed about it); and his jokes aren’t ones that are funny, for he makes fun of others.

Many of us don’t think he’s ever told a joke, but thousands were on the laugh track for two hours last week as he spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in DC. The CPAC “speech” became less and less coherent, so my only take on the participants, the grinning, roaring, chanting, clapping attendees, is that they were all on something. Or were they laughing at, not with, his nincompoop-ness?

It is the suck-ups like Michael Cohen and clappers-at-rallies and bumper-sticker advertisers who are the subjects of many a discussion. We are compelled to watch out of the side of our eyes the odd and dangerous behaviors of this person who lacks a sense of moral responsibility and social conscience but has a seemingly adoring following.

Do you want to be like him? Crabby and mean-spirited? Calling people names? Are you already like him? Do we have many of him running around the country?

I cannot see that he is kind or gentle, smart or articulate, thoughtful or a good dancer (I don’t really know this, but the way he carries himself makes me think he’s a little rigid to be a dancer). He can’t for the life of him string five sentences together that make sense. And he forced a tax break not for the whole country but for the one percent, of which he is a member (or so he brags). I am at a loss to explain how to think him worthy. Of anything. When he announces that the economy’s in good shape, for example, I have to doubt it.
I’d really like someone to explain to me his appeal.

And I don’t want his claptrap that he’s the smartest in all ways — knows the most science; knows everything about terrorists (although this could be true, as he is a moral terrorist); knows all things financial (especially how to file for bankruptcy); knows more than his generals; knows how to get women (grab our you-know-whats); knows climate (not climate change, just climate; he’s usually talking about weather when he thinks he’s talking about global warming).

Do loyal followers think he is as he says he is? The smartest at all this stuff? What does one think when he brags about knowing everything in the world but can’t pronounce ‘precedent’ and despite hundreds of photos to the contrary, insists on many more millions at his inauguration compared to his predecessor’s?

He’s kind of a weenie. He can’t really say to anyone’s face what he thinks of them. He has to be on Twitter or behind a podium speaking to his base people;}. While he talked to former President Barack Obama at the changeover of administrations, he was quiet, nervous, sitting with his hands hanging between his knees as far down as his necktie; but after he was outta there, he began the long bombast – continued birther stuff, the Oval Office being wired, Obama having ruined our foreign relations and how often Obama played golf.
When was it he quit talking about the latter? Six months into that first term of his, spent at Mara Lago?

This weirdly weird person is at his most laughable when he attributes his antagonistic behavior to somebody else. Does he think we don’t get the transference when he’s calling everyone he doesn’t like a liar? And he’s at his most frightening when he’s praising someone because I know in a week or so he’ll be making fun of the person, whether he’s a Vet or a heavy-set woman or a foreign leader who used to be a friend of America.
Can he read? Or is it simply that he prefers not to?

I can’t ignore him. I have to write what he does, says and gets away with because I do feel that it is all of our duties to speak out when we are disturbed by the bad, embarrassing, lying, cheating, con-man behavior of someone elected by us. To hold back is a disservice to honesty. Because of him, I am worried about the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Judicial System, the Education Department, HUD, and the rest.

I fear for the free press. It is the only thing that keeps government and private enterprise leery of sneaky attempts to lie, cheat and steal. It is that fear of getting caught by reporters snooping around in places they should always be – in the halls of power – that keeps so many honest. Would that it did him; and the millions who believe what he says and distrust the press because of it. Like belligerents before him, he plays a very dangerous game with democracy each time he lies with a “fake news” comment.

I think the media have a lot to answer for when it comes to some individuals making it as far as they do because of media waiting too long to tell the truth about them. In the long run, it is a free press that is our first defense against the unscrupulous and worse, the amoral.

When “truth” is attacked again and again, and when too many people speak lies and say they are truth, we become confused, we lose faith, cynicism sets in. If we are told enough times that action, character and utterance which transpire from moral responsibility and social conscience are actually lies, it becomes difficult for a true free press to help us.

So, speak up.

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