Hypocrite is a woefully underused word in our society and that’s a strange phenomena, considering the fact that so many abound. That’s not ‘liberal bias’ or ‘hatred’. If a person says “I’m gluten-free”, we would be rightfully surprised to see them scarfing down wheat rolls. Even if we didn’t call them a liar, we would ask the obvious question: what changed? That two-word phrase has been resonating in the minds of a lot of people, since the shocking victory of Donald J. Trump— and by shocking I mean not-really-surprising-considering-the-stuff-America-has-okayed.
You see, I’m fortunate enough to recall certain things about the 2008 election that make me wonder what changed between then and 2016. These supposed transgressions—things so horrible that it made it morally impossible for them to select Barack Obama in the ballot box—appear to no longer be an issue. As such, I’m asking all of America: what changed? Here are the three most egregious points to which I’m referring:
- Inexperience. As we recall, one of the main things voters expressed concern with was candidate Obama’s inexperience. Despite the fact that he was a sitting U.S. Senator and had spent years in the trenches building his community, they didn’t think he knew enough to assume the office. So fast-forward eight years, and we have a man in Donald Trump whose only held office was that in Trump towers. Even Washington and Eisenhower, the only two presidents without government experience, had served in the military—Trump had not. What changed? How could so many Americans feel perfectly comfortable trusting a reality TV star when we had, just eight short years prior, distrusted a sitting Senator with a slew of prestigious degrees?
- Birth Certificate. Even though the birthplace of an American candidate had never been seriously called into question in years prior, the entrance of Barack Obama brought many questions to the surface. Had he really been born in Hawaii and not Kenya or some other foreign nation? Had his 18-year old, white, single mother been part of a grand conspiracy as she lay birthing a child she had no clue would be Commander and Chief? Calls came from all over the nation, pressing for Obama to release his birth certificate—the long form, “real” one. As polls showed from the time, there were demographics who would not accept his legitimacy if he didn’t assure them he was American. Donald Trump even furthered the issue, calling for college transcripts as well and kept this farce up until the months of Obama’s second term. Imagine if Obama had refused to release anything, as Donald Trump did (and still does)…
- Past Transgressions. There is no partisan nature to political attacks, and that’s why politics requires thick skin. You can rest assured that if you run for public office, the people will find every single piece of dirty laundry you have hanging. Many candidates for public office have had to resign or face humiliation and steep drops in the polls for their transgressions coming to light. Imagine, for a second, what would happen if a tape of candidate Obama leaked to the media showing him bragging about grabbing a woman by the crotch? What if he insulted the parents of a United States Veteran? What if Barack Obama mocked a disabled reporter? What if he incited violence at his speeches and called for a woman in attendance to be punched in the face? What if it was found out that Michelle had posed nude for a magazine spread? Remember the hot water they put Obama in for having attended controversial sermons by Reverend Wright and smoking weed in college…
I could go on for ages, but the point I have made is crystal clear. All of these things that we crucified candidate Obama for are things we looked past for Donald Trump and elected him anyway. What changed in just eight short years? What is so fundamentally different? Obama was a highly qualified candidate with plenty of experience in the community, a clean track record and a heart for the people. Trump held no public office or military experience, has a history of bigotry, was unrepentantly offensive and refused to release records that many, if not all candidates before him, freely shared.
Most importantly, what is our line in the sand? If we have elected, and continue to tolerate, the behavior of Donald Trump then what makes a candidate unelectable? This is a question that we have a little under four years to figure out and I’m not sure that we as a nation want to come to grips with the answer.