When first starting in practice, I’d refer patients to a surgeon who had innovated a hand operation for carpal tunnel. Turns out, he beat up his wife. And then his second wife. And then his third wife. Once I knew about the abuse, I stopped referring to him but he had a very busy practice up until the end of his life anyway.
How important is it that one’s doctor be moral and upright or hold the same belief system as the patient?
What about politics? Where’s the line?
Start with Bill Clinton, who until the last two weeks, made even radical feminists swoon. Clinton is interesting because his sexual misdeeds were happening in real time with his career and the media and the Left chose to ignore it anyway. Paula Jones’ accusations came a year after Clinton became president. He had an affair with Gennifer Flowers a couple years after his marriage to Hillary. Monica Lewinsky happened while Clinton was well settled in office. George Stephanopoulos, now of ABC News, and James Carville, currently a college professor and political commentator, both vehemently defended candidate and then President Clinton and dragged the women accusers of Bill Clinton through the media mud. The women who accused Clinton were credible and, at great cost to themselves, have maintained their stories.
Bill Clinton is not alone. The list of Democrat malefactors is long and unpunished: anyone with the last name Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Chris Dodd, John Conyers, Joe Biden and his creepy touching of children, Al Franken, the pedophile mayor, allegedly, in Washington and on and on.
The Left is not moral and they’re not better. The Right has quietly acquiesced to the Left’s politically correct bullying. There was a suspicion among conservative Republican Americans that the Republicans in D.C. shared their liberal colleagues distaste for them and so went along not because they feared being maligned in the press but because they agreed with their ostensible opposition that the rubes in their base were racist, sexist, homophobic, closed-minded bigots.
Voters rebelled. First, Republican voters rebelled in the primaries and then, in the general election, voters rebelled again. Donald Trump, the thrice married, agnostic blowhard reality TV billionaire came bursting on the scene in all his crass glory.
Many elite Republicans still don’t understand how America elected Trump, and they don’t see how he’s doing the country good even while possibly being a not-so-good guy. They believe he’s a marauding moron who is irreparably damaging the Republic and especially the conservative cause by undermining the conservative values.
His voters see him as the last brake down the slide into moral oblivion. It seems counter-intuitive. Here’s a guy who cheated on his wife. Bullied his way through business and show-boated on TV. He’s like a cartoon villain.
How do Trump voters not see him this way? They don’t see a religious man in Trump but they do see a man who values tradition. They see a globe-trotting man who acknowledges American exceptionalism. They see a flawed man, but one who sees the value of esteeming godliness and aspiring to goodness. They see that President Trump is as alarmed as they are at the disrespect for common American values like standing for the anthem.
Trump voters hear his Pocohantas talk and see that it reveals the hypocrisy of the media’s opining on cultural appropriation. They see his jabs at a biased CNN as pushing back at the unfairness in coverage of them. They see him dismantling the executive branch as a good thing because the government had way too much power and, in some cases, very personally persecuted them. They see that he protects God-believers even as he doesn’t quite get the whole Jesus thing himself. And that’s okay because he’s better than the alternative.
They don’t all see a “good” surgeon (some do), but they see that he’s the most skilled at what is a very messy procedure. Right now, they’re interested in the American body surviving. Things have taken a radical turn which calls for desperate measures.
When Trump voters consider their options, to have voted for Hillary or to trust the media, or to support a faithless Republican Party (not faithful to principles), they still choose him.
Republican voters don’t want to lose an asymmetrical war. Republican voters will go back to booting the baddies from their party when Democrats boot theirs. Until then, and only then, evening the playing field with imperfect politicians who will vote for more moral outcomes and represent their interests is a better option than losing all hope of virtue because Democrats are in charge.
This isn’t about religion or God. This is about the transactional nature of a representative government. This is pragmatics. This is the conservative Right refusing to allow their commitment to God and values to be used against them. The guardians of freedom need to have teeth. They need to be able to defend and they cannot do it operating by one set of rules while the other side uses the rules against them.
Is there a risk to the moral fabric of the conservative Right? Yes. But these are folks who believe the moral slide is nearly irreparable anyway and it won’t be helped by one more Democrat spreading cultural cancer. Donald Trump was sent in with a sharp knife. The patient may be dead already.
Roy Moore will be the next elected Senator from Alabama. If the Republicans choose to not seat him, there will be hell to pay. Is it because Republican voters believe that Roy Moore is a paragon of virtue besmirched by false accusations? Well, some believe that. But most just believe that as long as these two sets of rules exist that the Democrats, and quisling Republicans, need to live with a Roy Moore. It’s their penance for protecting Bob Menendez and Al Franken and John Conyers and who knows who else. If Americans have to live with those guys, Congress can live with Roy Moore. Roy Moore is the very visible reminder of the hypocrisy within Congress’s ranks. The added bonus: Roy Moore will stand up for what these voters want.
Everyone has their line. Some doctors didn’t know or knew and didn’t care about the hand surgeon who beat his wife. Once I knew, I stopped referring patients to him. But if I was about to lose my hand and he was the surgeon on call, it’s not like I would have said no to his surgery. He was the best and I’d want to keep my hand.
Politics is about trade-offs. It’s about compromise and making deals and the least bad decision. And sometimes, politics is about bad people doing good things. In fact, it always is about bad people trying to do good things because humans are fallen creatures. Each voter must decide his line. How bad is too bad?
It brings to mind the Winston Churchill quote, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”