Doing what we must
It's sad that all this prurient business about Trump has come out. Though it's all from his pre-president days, it's not the sort of chit-chat that contributes to good citizenship. Imagine saying to your kid, "You can grow up to be anything you want! You can even be president!" The kid's eyes light up. "Like Bill Clinton? Like Donald Trump? Man, those guys have all the luck!"
It could be worse, I suppose. He might want to grow up to be like Mick Jagger, with eight kids by a whole gaggle of wives. Or an NBA player with an unknown but substantial number of kids by an unknown but also substantial number of partners, none a wife – his or anybody else's.
Part of me recoils at all this. And part remembers growing up with dogs, horses, bulls, and sheep procreating in our faces. I mean, you want your kid to approach marital relations on her wedding night with innocence, but if you get right down to it, there was nothing innocent about what was going on out there in the pasture. Kids could sneak a peek and learn about the birds and the bees by analogy.
Today, they hear it discussed and celebrated in the popular culture – which may be worse. Much worse.
I'm convinced that the unraveling of Western civilization started with language. As the language coarsened, images followed. Where once bad words were verboten in print, we now regularly see and hear the vilest language online, in magazines and newspapers, over radio, on TV, in movies.
An unspoken responsibility of a free press used to be guardianship of language. Self-censorship once kept vile language, even just foul language, out of the news and off TV and radio. Boy, have those days ever flown! I hold that the press has let us down by so lowering the bar of acceptable language that we no longer have a sure feel about it. Not just the press, of course. Hollywood was right there, pushing ever harder on the envelope, perhaps starting with the bikini in 1946. Only seven years before that, censors agonized over whether Rhett got to tell Scarlett he didn't give a damn.
It used to be a fighting offense for a man to swear in the presence of a lady or of kids. If you objected today to some lout using foul language in public, there's a good chance you would be the one accused of being a public nuisance. We've come a long way, baby, to arrive behind where we used to be.
Uncivilized times doubtless precede us, where foul language was the norm, but that does not excuse us today. Frankly, without God prominent in our daily lives, we have no guide to what's acceptable and what isn't. Not for nothing did the Founders say the Republic they laid out could work only with a moral people.
This is all part and parcel of the culture war, ignited by the left so people could do as they wished sexually while degrading the culture. It's all mashed together, but the lead-in has always been language. The left knows this, which is why we get to suffer political correctness. Totalitarians understand that to control what people can say is to control what they can even think. This is the insidiousness of political correctness, which we've had with us now since about the eighties.
Inappropriate language is an issue not of the 1st Amendment, but of manners, and a healthy part of fighting back is simply to speak up about it, to let it be known that we object. We can't always win this fight, but we need to try. After all, our kids and grandkids are watching.
It isn't just about public figures and thugs doing whatever they wish. It's also about us doing what we must.