How about a Little Human Decency?

One of the remarkable things about the human brain is that thing that gives us the feeling that our thoughts are original and unique when, much more often than not, they are the same thoughts that many other people are having.  It’s the Ego, I guess.  I certainly plead guilty, knowing full well (but ignoring) that these essays seem original to me but often do no more than restate the obvious.

Thus, I apologize in advance for restating the obvious, but I’m compelled to comment on the Hartford Courant’s lead article on Wednesday, July 20, 2022:   Lumaj Calls for Cooling-Off Period

The article involves the three primary candidates competing for the Republican nomination to oppose Richard Blumenthal in the election for the U.S. Senate:  Peter Lumaj, Leora Levy, and Theodora Klarides.  What troubles me about the article is something that we could just as well see from three Democrats.

Klarides’s mother died a few days ago.  Levy’s campaign, apparently proceeding with a previously determined plan, released a statement attacking Klarides, as though they were unaware that some personal events had, for the time being, intervened in her life.  Lumaj, seizing what he would have us believe is the high ground, attacked Levy’s insensitivity in failing to respect a reasonable mourning period for Klarides.

I fear that the irony of Lumaj’s position is lost on the voting public.  To recharacterize, but not to mischaracterize, the true nature of what Lumaj said:  “We all know how to treat people decently and with respect, but as a matter of practice, we choose not to.  Levy doesn’t have the common sense to treat Klarides with decency and respect for a few days, after which we will resume treating each other vilely and with the customary nastiness.”

Put aside that even when the guy is asking for civility, the only way he can do it is by bashing his opponent.  Focus instead on the kind of human beings so many politicians demonstrate themselves to be – people who are willing, even eager, to trash other people for their personal advantage and gain.  That’s who these people are, and then they pretend they’re somehow good people because they declare a moratorium for a few days.

And more to the point, what does it say about the American electorate that we actually vote for these people, and in such numbers that they get elected?  Before listening to any statement from these people on the issues, shouldn’t a thoughtful American voter reject these candidates out of hand, based solely on their lack of simple human decency?

For me, perhaps the most memorable moment in the 2016 presidential election was an interview Lester Holt conducted with then-candidate Donald Trump.  Holt said something like, “Many people say that your behavior is simply unacceptable for a president of the United States.”  To which Trump responded something like, “I know how to behave.  Right now, I’m trying to win an election.  When I’m president, I’ll behave as a president should.”

Turns out Trump lied to Lester about that.  Either he didn’t actually know how to behave as a president, or he chose not to.  Actually, I can live with his lie – he isn’t the first candidate to have lied to the voters.

What has always bothered me about Trump’s statement was that he would admit to treating people badly, without respect or compassion, and without acknowledging any shame, regret or embarrassment.  Plenty of voters were okay having a president with those values.

Do we really want these people to be our governmental leaders, people who willingly and publicly flaunt their lack of respect for basic human dignity?  Shouldn’t we, as reasonable voters, reject these people as viable candidates?

One Reply to “How about a Little Human Decency?”

  1. True enough Mark. But don’t blame the voters. Blame the candidate selection process and social media hysteria/culture war climate. In this environment, virtually everyone who runs for office is of the same ilk that you describe. So how do we voters reject them?

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