Last evening, while channel surfing for something to watch on television, nearly every news station I encountered was discussing Stormy Daniels and President Donald Trump. My initial reaction of “I don’t care!” gave me sudden pause. Should I care? Is the public’s apathy regarding this “stormy” situation (pun intended) justified? Does that apathy allow our President’s moral transgressions to slide? Should Americans pay more attention to what Stormy Daniels has to say, or has this chaotic presidency rendered us immune to scandal?
While Donald Trump’s alleged dalliance with Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, is indicative of the man’s weak moral fiber and lack of commitment to marriage and family values, Trump is not the first POTUS to walk that wayward marital road, nor is he the first to scramble to cover his tracks. Morally questionable presidents have effectively governed and protected our nation in the past by virtue of political acumen, intelligence, foresight, and a qualified support staff. Donald Trump, however, consistently flies by the seat of his pants without the benefit of such a strong political arsenal. As the veritable loose cannon, Trump has unintentionally created a clownish persona that consistently supplies news and late night programming with a wealth of material for satirical commentary. Quite frankly, it’s all become rather tedious. We’ve heard it all before. Change is not forthcoming, so why should we expend further energy on this sordid mess? Why should we care about Stormy Daniels or anything else connected to Donald Trump?
In many ways, the Trump presidency benefits from what I call the “O.J. effect”. The 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were examined and re-examined by the media countless times, most recently in Fox network’s telecast of O.J.’s “hypothetical confession”. According to Vanity Fair, only 4.4 million viewers tuned in to hear what O.J. had to say, less than half the number of viewers watching the return of ABC’s American Idol. Why did the Simpson hypothetical tell-all bomb? Because we’ve heard it all before! We have all connected the dots in the Simpson/Goldman murders; the outcome can’t be changed. There is nothing new to add to the tragic saga. Nobody is listening anymore.
Is anybody really listening to Donald Trump any longer? This morning, Trump announced via tweet that he had fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Whippee. Another firing. A former Playboy bunny accused Trump of sexual misconduct. Whippee. Another affair. Trump will meet with Kim Jung-un. Whippee. Another disaster in the making. Trump called NBC’s Chuck Todd “a sleeping SOB”. Whipee. Another insult. Trump’s 2020 campaign slogan will be “Keep America Great”. Whipee. Another calculated catchphrase. The “O.J. effect” is clearly at work for Donald Trump. Americans are weary of the Trump presidency. I’m not sure anybody is paying full attention anymore.
Turning a deaf ear to the media’s preoccupation with O.J. Simpson is understandable, but apathy must not overshadow the truth of that tragic night in 1994. Two individuals, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, lost their lives. That’s all that should matter. While similar tabloid hoopla surrounds Donald Trump’s every move, we must guard against our weariness and focus on what matters: our nation. Ignore Stormy Daniels and her salacious narrative, if you will. Regard her as what she is: a manifestation of a larger problem pervading the White House and a warning that we must not tire. We must not allow the abundance of “Trumpisms” and excessive jokes about Stormy Daniels, etc., to create apathy that turns a blind eye to the political disorder and moral corruption in our current government. Yes, it’s all tedious and our initial reaction is often a shrug of the shoulder and a surrender to what we obviously can’t control, but we must guard ourselves well.
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Ignorance and apathy go hand-in-hand in a dangerous circle. When you, like me, hear yourself saying “I don’t care”, stop and think again. Step outside the circle. Resist. Change must be forthcoming.