anne mikolay 2012 120The Merriam-webster dictionary defines double standard as “a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than another…”

In 1998, Linda Tripp, a civil servant in the Pentagon’s public affairs office, blew the whistle on the inappropriate relationship between President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The scandal dominated the media; every American had an opinion on the President’s adulterous behavior. The public wanted investigation and action. In December, 1998, the House of Representatives initiated impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton, citing perjury and obstruction of justice. The five week impeachment trial resulted in Clinton’s acquittal. Nevertheless, the Lewinsky scandal (and Gennifer Flowers) continued to haunt Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Fast forward to January, 2018. The Wall Street Journal reports that in 2016, Michael Cohen, lawyer for then presidential candidate Donald Trump, established Essential Consultants LLC in Delaware for the sole purpose of sending $130,000 in hush money to the client-trust account of a lawyer representing Stephanie Clifford, aka adult film star Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had an affair with Trump back in 2011. Apparently, Cohen did not conduct thorough due diligence; in a 2011 interview with In Touch magazine, Stormy Daniels detailed her encounter with Trump, a seedy narrative now repeated ad nauseum by television’s talking heads and late night comics. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the indignation and outrage faced by Bill Clinton in 1998 is largely absent. The Stormy Daniels saga, it seems, doesn’t matter much.

Why was Bill Clinton taken to task for his unscrupulous behavior while President Trump jets off to a gala at Mar-a-Lago in Florida? Is this a double standard? Do Americans regard Democrats and Republicans differently, or is the public’s lukewarm reaction to the Stormy Daniels tale a manifestation of our jaded attitude? Could it be that we are no longer shocked by anything Donald Trump says or does? Has the endless controversy surrounding this administration rendered us immune to its effects? Have Donald Trump and his minions so polluted and divided the nation that we now dismiss their antics as just so much absurdity?

There should be no division here. Reaction to this Stormy Daniels debacle and all it implies should not be dictated by political affiliation. Trumpsters and Resistors should be on the same page; the leader of this country should represent a higher moral standard than what is currently evident in the White House and the Senate. Transgressions, whether derogatory comments about other nations, accusations of collusion with foreign governments, or amoral behavior, should be addressed. This double standard, this apathy, this complicit cast of characters, must be corrected.

That’s what will make America great again.