Lance Scranton: Defining indefensible
How do you defend the indefensible?
Someone asked me that after the now infamous “hot mic” remarks made by Donald Trump. My answer is pretty simple: I don’t, I won’t and never will. But then I asked how they define indefensible, and down the rabbit hole we went! What makes something truly indefensible is a conversation America needs to have with itself. I don’t live in Donald Trump’s world, nor do I have access to his intent but I do know that what he said was demeaning to women and objectified the fairer sex.
Two grown men on their way to some big social event get into a discussion about pretty women and the conversation turns barbaric. “Locker room banter” is how our potential next president described his off-the-cuff, personal, private remarks to a giddy, giggling Billy Bush. The only unremarkable thing about the whole episode is how truly pathetic both men sound. But, does it rise to the level of indefensible?
When public people say things out of earshot of listening ears or microphones, there is an expectation of privacy. Just as politicians close off some of their meetings to reporters and the media. They are seeking privacy because not everything said is meant for public consumption. Sometimes people say things that are crass, gross, and disturbing, but a conversation in private is often an opportunity to vent or say something you would never say in public — it’s what we call gossip, but does this make it defensible?
I’m not the arbiter of defining the indefensible because as I have learned over the past few years of my professional life that doing what is right can be construed as indefensible and reason to be fired. What people say is way less indicative to me than their actions — I lived through Bill Clinton’s eight years in the Oval Office. More people than I care to count were shocked and ran to the closest open mic they could find to make a public statement about their position on Trump after the comments from 11 years ago hit the news cycle. I listened, considered the timing, thought about who Trump was before he entered politics, watched the debate Sunday night, listened to his answers, listened to her answers and decided that I could stay on the train.
But, that’s just me. Not a defense of his words but a determination about who I think would best make our country a better place and a great opportunity for all of us to consider what we say in those moments when we think nobody is listening. Could you defend everything you’ve ever said in private? Something to think about as we enter the home stretch this election season.
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