Letter to the Editor

Switch the channel

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

In a recent Letter to the Editor titled "Trump: Protect my friends, punish my enemies" the writer agonizes over things that President Trump says. If you donít like what President Trump says, turn the channel, turn the page or stop listening. It is like the old expression "it will feel better when you stop beating your head against the wall."

William McGurn made some interesting comments in a Sept. 10 Wall Street Journal article:

ďYet the civility offensive is not without contradiction. How is it that those who presume they posses the moral standing to preach on Mr. Trumpís incivility are so conspicuously blind to the equally glaring outrages of his critics? Was it civil, for example, for Hillary Clinton to dismiss half of Trump voters as 'deplorables' who were also 'irredeemable?'

In the past few months alone, after all, Americans have watched press secretary Sarah Sanders and her family hounded out of a Virginia restaurant while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife were harassed by young men.

Talk about incivility and norm-breaking. Leave aside the disruptive audience members. When Democratic senators weren't interrupting Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, they were attempting to smear a decent and respected husband, father and jurist. Surely the proposition that Mr. Trump has a monopoly on rudeness and incivility took a beating from the antics of Sen. Cory Booker.

Of course, the New Jersey Democrat's conscious defiance of Senate decorum is but the latest in a long line of progressive norm-shattering. Anyone remember when the New York Times announced on its front page that the journalistic norm of objectivity shouldnít apply to Mr. Trump? Or the reporter who used the F-word in a tweet accusing the president of incest with his daughter, and yet has not been rendered morally unfit by the world of journalism?

Or, less salaciously, those who illegally unmasked national security adviser Mike Flynn? Those who have leaked the presidentís phone calls with foreign leaders? What about Sally Yates, the acting attorney general who refused a lawful presidential order?

On top of this, anyone even vaguely familiar with how respectable Washington defamed Judge Robert Bork and grossly distorted his record during his Supreme Court hearings further appreciates that incivility didnít start when Mr. Trump came to town. It wasnít all that long ago when Republicans were ó falsely ó blamed for a nutjob's shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011.

None of this justifies Mr. Trump's own excesses. But it may help explain why so many on the receiving end of today's civility sermons arenít buying."

Phil Petersen