I've spent much of the last few years trying to be a reasonable person. That has meant looking for plus signs instead of minus signs in the political environment, hoping for silver linings when none are obviously present. It's been a daunting process, especially after Cheeto found his way into the Oval Office. But it pre-dates him, too, back to the days of Pat "Duke Energy" McCrory and the GOP mob family in Raleigh.
In the past few weeks, though, my resolve has wavered. Today it reached a tipping point when Trump lifted the ban on importing elephant trophies from Africa. You read that right. Trump has determined that massacring elephants, who are absolutely sentient beings, is a fine thing to do. And so I find myself convinced that Trump and his enablers are devoid of basic human decency.
For that, they've earned my deep contempt.
I read a David Brooks column recently that cautioned against having contempt for Republicans, who remarkably believe they are under siege from godless liberals. He was writing about another darling of the right, Roy Moore. On the New York Times op-ed page, Brooks asked, "How should one respond to the siege mentality, to the Alabamians now rallying around Roy Moore? Well, it’s right to be disgusted, and it feels good to be contemptuous. But contempt only breeds contempt. Contempt for the conservatives in Alabama will just justify their siege mentality and make the social disorder that flows from it worse."
Brooks may have a point about contempt in Alabama, but when it comes to killing elephants, I simply can't find a way to see it as a defense against the so-called siege mentality. Some things are just plain evil and don't warrant any benefit of the doubt.
Instead of looking for shreds of goodness in the actions of Trump and his fan club, I find myself hoping that more people accept reality and choose contempt. If we as a society can't stop the most predatory instincts of our species, we should be ashamed of ourselves. Whether it's shooting elephants or tolerating pedophiles, it's time to draw some lines we will not cross.