Cal Thomas

If you are the parent of young children, are you OK with your kids hearing former President Donald Trump’s language and putdowns, like the ones at his rally last Saturday in Wildwood, New Jersey?

One can hear a kid justifying his or her own swearing: “If Trump can talk like that, why can’t I?” Is this the way we want our children to be raised? They will learn swear words soon enough (and hopefully control their use of them or eschew them altogether).

There was a time when we were taught to respect those in authority and use acceptable language. I remember my grandmother once admonishing me when I said something “nice young men don’t say in public.” The words that offended her were “toilet paper.”

Trump’s cursing was the perfect finish to a week that included the salacious testimony by porn actress Stormy Daniels at his trial. I understand he is frustrated by a trial that seems to him, and many others, like a political hit, but that doesn’t justify a potty mouth.

On television, in movies, in certain mean and increasingly upscale streets, men and women are using language that in the words of Professor Henry Higgins “would make a sailor blush.” Where is what used to be called decorum? Need a definition of decorum? It is “ dignified propriety of behavior, speech, dress, etc.” Synonyms include politeness and dignity. None of these are reflected in Trump’s demeanor.

Decorum once included men who muted themselves in front of “ladies.” Now too many ladies are using curse words in public. Men and women chanted “bulls**t” at the Trump rally. Trump called President Biden a “moron” and mocked his way of walking. He said s**t more than once. You stay classy, Donald.

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Trump uses Hell as a curse word with increasing frequency. Does he believe in Hell? Does he believe in Heaven and know how to get there? His fervent evangelical supporters, some of whom bizarrely claim he shares their faith, should ask him.

The number of people who ignore, or justify, his behavior is astounding. They have made a bargain with the political devils for whom power and results, not character, are supreme. Yes, President Biden occasionally uses bad language and has his own character flaws. He disobeys teachings of his Catholic church on abortion and other issues, but his “absolution” — largely from the media — is different from what Trump receives from his followers.

Trump probably sees the tens of thousands who attended his New Jersey rally as justification for his behavior. Trump said President Biden couldn’t draw anything close to that number, railed against his New York City trial, and questioned for the umpteenth time the 2020 election results. Trump’s fans appear willing to believe anything he says. That also goes for Biden, who lied numerous times during a recent CNN interview.

Maybe it’s generational, but isn’t behavior objectively and eternally right or wrong? We seem to be trying to have it both ways. Curse words are bad when used by a politician we dislike but are ignored, even praised, when one approves of a politician. Here’s a test: Try cursing in church if you want to know if all behavioral standards have been abandoned.

Perhaps Trump should consult the wisdom of our first president. George Washington said: “The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing … is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense and character detests and despises it.”

According to the Association for Psychological Science, regular swearing “ is a defining feature of a Type A personality. It is negatively correlated with conscientiousness, agreeableness, sexual anxiety, and religiosity.”

That seems to accurately define Donald Trump.

Email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.


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