Editorial: In ‘Age of Disgust,’ posing and lying are the new norm

05/12/2018 6:00 AM |

Every week, it seems, a new scandal is thrown out into the public space that involves powerful men and the women they abuse, or have their way with and then kick to the curb.

The latest involves horrific allegations against Eric Schneiderman, who resigned as New York State’s attorney general less than three hours after The New Yorker magazine published a piece reporting that he had physically and verbally abused four women.

“Abused” doesn’t seem to adequately describe the violence to which he allegedly subjected these women. One claims she was choked and slapped so hard that her ear bled long after the blow, and another says she suffered from bouts of vertigo after being slapped hard by this man. He reportedly called one of his victims his “brown slave.” He was the master, she was his “property.”

If proven true in a court of law, and if these incidents occurred within the statute of limitations, Mr. Schneiderman should be tried, convicted and sent to prison. Maybe he could share a cell with Charlie Rose or Harvey Weinstein or Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri, who continues in office despite the allegations against him.

We are truly living in an Age of Disgust, where posing as a great public figure while lying through your teeth every day is the new norm.

Mr. Schneiderman joins a growing list of men in powerful and influential positions who have been exposed as full-blown predators leading remarkably double lives — one thing in public, something altogether different — and nightmarish — when the public isn’t looking.

Recall the scandals around New York’s former governor Eliot Spitzer and former congressman Anthony Weiner, and former “Today” show host Matt Lauer — men in government and the media with big egos who acted as though they could do whatever they wanted without consequence for the simple reason that they were Important People and their victims didn’t count.

We also shouldn’t forget that, in just the past week, former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani said that his client — the president of the United States of America — reimbursed his longtime fixer for a $130,000 payment the fixer made to a porn star days before the 2016 election to keep her quiet.

Our tribal politics are such that one side makes excuses for the inexcusable. Go back and read the hypocritical statements of evangelist Franklin Graham blasting one adulterer who held public office while making excuses for a current one.

We are so broken in this country right now that we don’t stand up for the country as a whole, or for the rule of law — for some kind of standards. Instead, we stand up and defend whatever clown we voted for who is now being exposed as something else altogether. We believe all of the allegations against the people we don’t like; we scream foul when allegations are made against the people we support.

The recent televised funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush was a great reminder of what class looks like, what living a life of gratitude and public service looks like. With all the accusations and allegations now piling up against people in public life, we have to wonder if her funeral in that Houston cathedral will be the last of its kind this country will ever see.

If it is true that Sen. John McCain’s family has passed word to the White House that they don’t want President Trump at the senator’s funeral, then truly we have entered a New Age of politics in America, one where a public figure can pose as a hero of the #MeToo movement during the day, as Mr. Schneiderman did, while allegedly choking a woman at night.

Meanwhile, we sit in front of the television and wait for the next scandal to erupt on the public stage.

Cartoon Credit: Clay Jones

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