Our moral stone tablet
Things were going swimmingly the past couple decades for Ellen DeGeneres, the iconic comedienne/actress/social justice pioneer.
That was until she sat next to former President George W. Bush and his wife at a Dallas Cowboys football game, creating a Twitter earthquake among those who disapproved of this display of friendship. Apparently liberals and conservatives are not allowed to socialize.
Things were going well for Texas Judge Tammy Kemp in her management of a trial in which a Dallas police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing her neighbor in a mistake of circumstance.
She gave the victim’s brother permission to hug Guyger and followed that up with a hug of her own – and a Bible.
Never mind the defendant wished to discover God and seek forgiveness. Her sentence for public compassion was a request from one group for a judicial misconduct investigation.
Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey was a successful, widely respected NBA executive – until he dared to tweet support for the seven million people of Hong Kong who are fighting – literally – to maintain their deserved freedom from mainland China.
Megastar LeBron James – that noted history and foreign policy guru – classified him as uninformed. The NBA genuflected to China, where its teams were playing preseason games, fearing backlash from a country that has funneled millions of dollars in the league’s direction.
These incidents and the attendant uproars reflect what happens when self-appointed social justice truant officers — we are talking to you, Hollywood, sports stars and Twitter addicts — apply their groundrules based on whether views or actions fit their hypocritically narrow views.
It’s wrong. It’s unsettling. It needs to stop.
The weaponry against this damaging madness can only come through correct responses.
Ellen correctly told her audience she and the former president are longtime friends, and, no, she is not apologizing for being seen with what one Hollywood actor labeled a war criminal, and, yes, we should be kind to everyone, not just those who agree with us.
The judge said she believed her Bible and hug were appropriate actions since the trial was over and the former officer was asking for help in seeking God’s forgiveness.
The NBA, whose initial response was commercially self-serving — we’re talking to you, Lebron and Commissioner Adam Silver — has started to recover. Silver turned down China’s request that Morey be fired. We should hope so.
Lebron and Stephen Curry and Coaches Greg Popovich and Steve Kerr, who run to a microphone regularly to criticize the country where they have made millions and the president they love to hate, were hypocritically hesitant to back Hong Kong’s quest to maintain freedom and avoided any criticism of China’s human rights violations.
So much for their credibility.
Backed into a corner, they would tell you the coarseness of today’s social dialogue is all the fault of Trump — purposely leaving out his title. And their mainstream media brothers and sisters would settle for that explanation.
President Trump makes my eyes roll and head spin daily with things he says and tweets and his abrupt manner. But we don’t elect presidents to set a social example. Social grace from them would be great, but it’s not a job requirement. Their job is to get things done and protect this country and there is a mountain of evidence that, hate him all you wish, Trump is doing that.
Whether you agree with that observation or not, blaming our mistreatment of each other on him is a cop out.
Six decades ago, we elected President John F. Kennedy, who remains a standard bearer of that generation. He also was a known womanizer. Was that a permission slip for American males to embark on extramarital pursuits?
In the 1990s, we elected President William Jefferson Clinton, who remains revered by millions of Americans following eight years in office that many regard as successful. He also had a longstanding sexual encounter in the White House with an intern, lied about it and was impeached. It was behavior that would justifiably get the manager of any other business in this country booted out the door instantaneously upon discovery.
Would it have been okay for every male to embark on similar actions to Clinton? Well, we have found out way too many people did and hopefully the past few years are the beginning of the end of such behavior.
We should not look to presidents to blaze our moral trail. And we should not blame them for our missteps.
Our behaviorial compass should be in the mirror and our souls. And on the day we stop making our political mindset the basis for how we treat people, the country will be the place Ellen wishes it would be.
David F. Troisi is retired as editor of the Sun-Gazette.