Conduct report

LOOKING ASKANCE - Atty. Joseph Gonzales (The Freeman) - November 10, 2019 - 12:00am

As we have seen over the past three mind-numbing years since fake news became the drug of choice for opportunists and power-brokers, the erudition and civility that we normally take for granted as marking public discourse, especially in the political field, has been flushed down the toilet.

Harking to ideals and principles, gone. Lofty manifestos and credos, gone. Flowery speeches, gone. Politesse, gone. (Ok, maybe we could do with some trimming of the fat and sugar, but essential civility, we absolutely cannot do without). The quick descent into a nasty, brutish life has now resulted in a saturation of our daily lives with sound bites of snarky comments and worse, insults that have no relation to the debate.

Instead of a free market of ideas, a democracy's ideal, what we now have is a wet market of spoiled meat, maybe even of fish, taint innocent passersby. (I really want to cover the ears of my niblings. And censor their tablets. And shield them from all the filth!)

(Another) case in point: Trump's latest tirades against a potential new opponent, Michael Bloomberg. After it is announced that Bloomberg might, after all, just throw his hat into the presidential bid ring, it wasn't long before Trump began throwing shade against his fellow New York billionaire.

As is typical with the irascible "leader of the free world" (not!), Trump began with comments on the physical attributes of his potential rival. Says he: "Little Michael will fail. He'll spend a lot of money. He's got some really big issues. He's got some personal problems and he's got a lot of other problems".

Little Michael? The first thing Trump zeroes in is size, which might really be the first analytical scan to be done by a bully walking into a kid's playground. And that's what he broadcasts to the whole world watching him - that yes, it is all about size.

(Quick flashback to comedians making fun of Trump's tiny hands. By the way, I disapprove of making fun of physical attributes. And Trump's small, puny digits have nothing to do with the enormity of his character. Or the magnitude of his empathy for marginalized sectors of the population. Or how deeply he cares about the environment. Absolutely nothing!)

(Cue hate email coming from Trump supporters)

Not content with belittling (sorry, couldn't resist that one) his not quite opponent, Trump also says "I know Michael. He became just a nothing. He was really a nothing. He's not going to do well, but I think he's going to hurt Biden, actually. But he doesn't have the magic to do well".

I am confused. My too-simple brains could not process this one. Was Michael Bloomberg nothing before, or is he nothing now? Or did he come from nothing, then he became a something, and then became a nothing again? And is he not going to do well, but well enough to hurt Joe Biden? And he has magic, but not the magic to do well? Just enough magic to do (but not well)? Or totally no magic?

Not surprising for Trump, considering he has waded into the beauty or ugliness of those he has encountered, or their congenital deformities, or their IQ, or any other ornery way to attack a person, rather than confining himself to concepts and ideas. That was a winning tactic for him, apparently, and it continues to define his style as America's standard bearer.

What to do? Fight fire with fire? Douse the pain of verbal abuse with soothing laughter? Go the Michelle Obama way? (When they go low, we go high).

This much, I know. In school, our teachers would grade this conduct with that four letter word that starts with an "F".

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