A sorry state of affairs

The tendency of Americans in the social media era to perform public shaming acts has surfaced heavily in the presidential campaign, and we’re wondering who could be held to a standard based on everything they’ve ever done being perfect and acceptable.

Bill Clinton in Campaign 1992 “didn’t inhale.” He went on to do far worse in terms of not acting presidential in the White House. Whether he was the first president to have illicit sex in the White House is always subject to debate.

What Donald Trump said on an 11-year-old tape from a hot microphone was horrendous, unacceptable and not presidential. But he correctly pointed out during the presidential candidates townhall Sunday evening that Bill Clinton put words into action.

The abrupt social media shaming of Trump is hardly an “October surprise.” It may or may not get to character of the candidate currently. Given that it took 11 years for the comments to surface, we wonder if there is more current verbage available beyond his own, again non-presidential, statements on the campaign trail. To his supporters, it’s meaningless in terms of the campaign. To Hillary’s forces, it’s just more reason to pave over her faults while shouting about Trump’s.

There used to be substance to presidential campaigns, talk of tax rates and how to create jobs and what the cost would be to those who have them. A candidate with a trail of questionable activities behind her like Hillary would be fodder for questions about job performance. A candidate without public experience like Trump would likewise be subjected to substantial commentary.

Other than shouting across one another about keeping or dumping Obamacare, the candidates themselves seem too busy trying the public shame thing to be of substance. It deflects attention from Hillary’s political past or Donald’s business dealings.

Some Americans are shocked by the lowness of the campaign, but this has been coming since the explosion of social media unleashed the ability for everyone to be a would-be social commentator during the past several years.

If Kennedy vs. Nixon was the first debate of the TV era, we think Trump-Clinton is the first campaign of the Twitter era, where quip and snark replaces substance and presidential timber. We’ve traded bad sound-bite politics for even worse 140-character snaps.

There’s nothing to be shocked about if viewed through that lens. Everyone is subject, and we do mean everyone from the guy next door to the pope, of being dragged into the court of public shaming via the immediacy, without a second thought, without an editor, of social media.

The result, of course, is chaos, where truth and fact take a back seat to personality and insult.

Trump’s best hope at this point among the self-righteous hoarde, which surely isn’t comprised of people who never, ever, made an off-color statement at any time in their pre-politically correct past, would be for a smoking gun about Bengazhi, or something more damning about her treatment of Bernie Sanders to be found in the Wikileaks releases of Hillary’s e-mails.

Which means Americans have ceded control of their presidential election to an organization founded by an accused, fugitive, child molester bent on bringing everyone and every part of society or those in charge down a peg, it seems.

A sorry state of affairs indeed.

But not a surprise in the social media social shaming era.