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Killing the Myth of Perfection in a Gotcha World

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

There is no question that we’re living in a “Gotcha World” where anything said in public, on social media, or in private with someone recording is open game for outing and for outrage. Disney CEO Bob Iger quickly fired Roseanne Barr for her outrageous racially laced comment on Twitter. Others shout double standard for TBS not firing comedian Samantha Bee for calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless c**t.”

Politicians are always open game for leaks of inappropriate comments. The public was shocked when tapes of private comments by both Presidents Kennedy and Nixon were eventually made public. There’s less surprise today. Now, the public thrives on sharing such inappropriate comments and shaming them endlessly on social media. Inappropriate sexual comments by President Donald Trump made and videotaped more than a decade ago are all the ammunition the “MeToo” movement has needed to label him an incorrigible sexist for life.

If you want to find an inappropriate comment from any politician or public figure, you can most likely find one or manufacture one that they would have a hard time proving was not true. Instead of airing important dialogue on issues our country needs to address, exposés about “inappropriate” statements fuel hours of coverage on cable shows and online forums. People you support are defended; people you dislike tend to be attacked as “racists,” “sexists,” “bigots,” and more.

Just because we can see into the private lives of the rich and famous does not mean we are served by being preoccupied by attacking what they say or do.

Among those who support the president’s policies and priorities, few support all of his more outrageous tweets. But most knew they weren’t getting a choirboy; they were getting an outsider and pragmatist who was committed to delivering on his campaign promises. We ought to be having more thoughtful conversations across our divide on the issues we most need to address—immigration reform, dealing with the deficit, Social Security viability…to name just a few!

But maybe it’s time that we as citizens do a little reality testing and looking in a mirror. The only places that perfect people exist are in campaign ads, educational films, and employee resumes. Seriously, all of us work hard to portray our best public self to those we meet. We are more careful on what we say when others are listening or watching. If a private investigator were to keep a video log of your life for a month, would you want your worst moments shown on Facebook or the nightly news? Of course not.

Oscar Wilde once said, “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” We’ve all made mistakes and had moral lapses. Over time, we tend to grow from our failures and mistakes. Presidents from both parties have done some exceptional things that made America better. Each has had moments he wished he could have taken back. The same could be said for all of us.

Unfortunately, life gives us no retakes. You can’t go back to do over. We have rearview mirrors but no reverse! You can apologize and hopefully learn, but the next day just keeps coming.

The next time you want to call another person a racist, bigot, sexist, Nazi, elitist, pathological liar, ideologue, extremist, or any other vile name, take a look in the mirror. What is the recipient likely to call you in return?

It serves no constructive purpose and adds to the coarseness of our culture. In that world, it’s the yellers and the name caller who get the coverage. It’s time for the good on both sides of our divide to humbly challenge all to find a new way to treat each other!

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