The Trump presidency ran on lies and deceit. Now we may have to reaccustom ourselves to truth.
Just when we were growing accustomed to our nice binary universe—you know, the one where Trump was evil and anyone who opposed him was good—along came Andrew Cuomo and Seung Min Kim and upset everything.
Because of them, we liberals will have to think on a non-binary level and discriminate between people who deserve our support and adulation because they believe in the same progressive policies we believe in, and those whose only saving grace is a distaste for Donald Trump.
That well-placed and well-earned revulsion, hard-won as it may have been, is no longer enough, not when we learn that public figures like Andrew Cuomo apparently slept through the blunders of Al Franken, Matt Lauer, and Harvey Weinstein. Of course, one legislator referred to Cuomo as a monster, an intemperate statement that accomplishes nothing. If he’s a monster, we no longer have a word for people like Jeffrey Epstein or Richard Speck. Let’s just admit that he acted like a dope and that the action surprised no one. His initial explanations about his attempts to counsel these young ladies threatened to make counsel our newest euphemism. But now that he’s issued a meaningful non-apology apology, we can move slightly forward.
The story of Seung Min Kim is more problematic. Kim is the White House correspondent for the Washington Post, a newspaper that over the past four years has been highly critical of almost everything Donald Trump did, said, or gave a passing thought to. This led many of us to believe the Post was out to get Trump, when really the Post was actually out to uncover the truth. And so when a tranche of acerbic tweets attributable to Biden-nominee for budget director Neera Tanden was uncovered, Kim pursued them as any competent journalist would. Eventually, the reporter asked Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski to comment on one of the cruder tweets, thus beginning a groundswell of ill-feeling toward Ms. Tanden. Ultimately she withdrew her name from consideration.
Then came an avalanche of vitriol directed toward Kim for her “betrayal” of Democrats. Apparently her detractors would have had no particular problem with Kim's betraying her position as a journalist, or flouting one of the first rules in the journalistic code of ethics: seek truth and report it. Kim is not employed by MSNBC or Fox News. She is not paid to pander to one group or another. We should be defending people like her, not showing our disdain, especially after four years of lies from the White House that went unchallenged and unpunished, . (It’s interesting to not that many of us progressives had no difficulty resorting to racist insults when we felt betrayed. It was not a good look.)
I know...what about the hypocrisy? After all, the same Republicans who turned a blind eye to Trump’s tweets for four years were awfully quick to jump on Ms. Tanden’s sometimes indelicate language. No argument from me, but if we spent the past four years laying the ground rules for what’s offensive and what isn’t, we have to play by them also. And if we learn that the written word will follow us around forever—forever—maybe we can all exercise a little wisdom before, like Ms. Tanden, we accuse a U.S. Senator of being too high to make an informed decision.
We wanted a change in leadership and attitude. We have it. Let's honor it.