In a recent interview with CBS News’ correspondent, John Dickerson, President Donald Trump unsuccessfully attempted to sidestep questions regarding the alleged Obama wiretapping. Dickerson pressed on and did not yield to Trump’s fancy footwork; Trump abruptly ended the interview and rudely dismissed the journalist. The impropriety did not stop there. Rising to Dickerson’s defense, Late Show host, Stephen Colbert, promptly dedicated his opening monologue to trashing the president and stirred controversy with a vulgar oral-sex one-liner about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. In retaliation, Trump supporters are calling for Colbert to be fired.
There’s a double standard here. If Donald Trump’s lewd comments (made eleven years prior to Access Hollywood reporter, Billy Bush) released during the presidential election were forgiven, why should comedien Stephen Colbert be nailed to the wall? If Trump suffered no consequences for his “locker room banter”, why should Colbert be penalized for his monologue? Trump trash talked and won the presidency; Colbert trash talks and loses his job? The standards of impropriety and the consequences for violating such standards should be the same for everyone. Period. That being said, Colbert crossed the line. Unlike Billy Bush, who offered a sincere, humble apology for his behavior (and was still removed from NBC’s Today show), Colbert admittedly has no regrets for his crude remark and said he “would do it again.” Bush, a lesser known television personality than Colbert, lost his job because of his reaction to the misogynistic remarks of business mogul Donald Trump, but Stephen Colbert faces nothing more than the #FireColbert twitter backlash. Another double standard!
While such double standards are concerning, our society’s arrogance is far more worrisome. The polarizing Trump administration has unleashed a pervasive “I’m better than you” attitude, a troubling perspective Trump is not entirely responsible for. We are at fault. Each one of us. As Americans, we are so accustomed to expressing ourselves freely that we disregard the rights and feelings of others. Donald Trump didn’t think about women’s reaction to his crude remarks. Billy Bush did not care that his laughter would lend credence to Trump’s attitude. And Colbert did not consider that his vulgar quip might offend people. Instead, he tossed sensitivity and decorum aside in pursuit of ego and ratings-boosting laughter.
Granted, during tough times, we survive via laughter. Laughing and not taking ourselves too seriously is healthy. But what Colbert said was not SNL satire. It was something else, some unnamed representation of what’s wrong with our country today, a cautionary sign that we are headed down the wrong road. The anti-Trump movement can’t hide behind the “he’s not my president” mantra. Like it or not, Donald Trump IS our president. Employing the very arrogance Trump is criticized for accomplishes nothing positive. As Michelle Obama once said, “when they go low, we go high”. When people are rolling around in muck, you don’t jump into the gutter with them.
Colbert, get out of the gutter.