The shame of politicians

Shameful Politicians

American politicians have lost a sense of shame.

It wasn’t always this way, but, unfortunately, in our current world, shame rarely exists anymore.

Infomercials sell get rich quick schemes. Just invest $300 dollars now, they say, and you can be a millionaire! One wonders why such peddlers can never afford to advertise in more expensive time slots.

American politicians will rarely step down of their own accord and will only admit to wrongdoing once they are facing criminal charges or full public exposure. Mark Sanford, Anthony Weiner, Newt Gingrich. One can do a simple Google search and find a plethora of disgraced names.

Richard Nixon stepped down after WaterGate. Some say he did it to avoid being impeached, but I think he still had a small hint of shame in his soul. He knew power had corrupted him, and he had been found out.

The Bible says your sin will always find you out, but politicians are slow learners. In this election cycle, we are faced with two candidates, neither of which possesses much shame.

Donald Trump’s plans are not completely outlandish. He wants to cut taxes for everyone, scale back American’s involvement overseas, and revitalize the American military.

On the other hand, he is very unapologetic in most of his more controversial statements, and, many times, he lacks a filter. Claiming he “wasn’t impressed” when Hillary Clinton walked in front of him, or that the women accusing him of sexual assault aren’t “attractive enough” to interest him, are disturbing indeed.

His comments with Billy Bush are disgusting. There isn’t hard evidence about whether he actually did break the law here, but his statements display a lack of respect for some women, not necessarily as a sexual predator, but in a general sense.

Trump claims he has found God. Time will determine whether that is true.

To his credit, he did apologize for his “locker room talk.”

Hillary Clinton though, is unapologetic about all of her actions.

She’s made many potentially offensive statements on her own. Much of the media doesn’t report it the way they do with Trump though. She once compared pro-life Republicans to “terrorists.” She referred to African American youth in the 90’s as “superpredators.” And, her most recent questionable depiction refers to all Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables” and “irredeemable.”

One can only imagine if Trump had referred to any large group as irredeemable.

Hillary Clinton has never sincerely apologized for any of her statements. She dodges and ducks. Instead of taking responsibility and claiming her heart has changed, she blames the “alt-right” or the “vast, right-wing conspiracy” for smearing her. To this day, she is still refusing to own up to her use of a private server to e-mail classified information.

Once the FBI was done with their first investigation, she claimed the issue was closed, she had made a mistake, and it was time to move on. How she could possibly make such a dumb mistake, considering the strict rules around the use of classified information and her position as Secretary of State, is inconceivable. Even if she technically did nothing illegal—a disputable claim on its own—her acts were, in James Comey’s words, “careless.”

We now know though, that she used the private server to avoid scrutiny. To use a secure, government server would subject her to questions about why Morocco, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia donated millions of dollars to a foundation that claims to stand for women’s rights while at the same time oppressing women in their own countries. Large donations to an organization that promotes causes one does not believe in, for “Bill Clinton’s birthday,” looks from the outside very much like pay for play, especially with a paper trail of e-mails containing a phrase like “Clinton Inc.”

Yet, she sees no problem with any of these activities. It’s doubtful, based on her behavior, whether she would ever see her actions as morally suspect without a direct encounter from God.

Her ruling ethos seems to be: if it’s not illegal, it’s not immoral, and no action is really wrong in the end unless you are legally charged.

Without shame from our elected officials, our country cannot survive. Healthy shame is required for people to understand how wrong they actually were in any given situation. Shame that condemns a person’s soul isn’t healthy nor should anyone ever feel as such. God can always redeem a person.

Without a normal sense of shame to regulate behavior though, our republic will continue to decline.

The words of John Adams are still true today: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People.”

Once we are no longer such, our democratic institutions will no longer be safeguards for life and liberty.

Joshua Shultz

I graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in December of 2011. I earned two bachelor's degrees, one in Political Science and the other in Philosophy. I've been working at Oklahoma City Community College as a writing tutor since 2012. I began as a general tutor and worked my way up to a Lab Assistant position in 2014. I have aspirations to someday attend law school.