The ‘Everybody Does It’ Defense
My neighbor is perplexed that so many of her co-workers support Hillary Clinton—“Ol’ Careless,” as the FBI calls her—for president. “When I ask them about all Hillary’s lies, and all her cheating,” she says, “they just say, ‘So what? Everybody does it.’”
That brought me back to the Bill Clinton impeachment era. Then as now, the defense offered by his supporters was “Everybody does it”—in this case, marital infidelity. So I challenged a roomful of Clinton defenders, “I don’t know your names, so I can’t rat you out and you have no reason not to answer this question honestly, by a show of hands: How many of you have cheated on your wife?”
One hand went up, among some twenty men.
So everybody doesn’t do it, not by a long shot, and the “everybody does it” defense turns out to be just twaddle.
But what if, in spite of the protection of their anonymity, most or even all of those men were lying? Then the defense would have to be rephrased accordingly.
“I am a low-life, and I want my country to be governed by someone who’s as big a creep as I am.” Not exactly elevating, is it?
Are we asked to believe that everybody, or almost everybody, is a liar, a cheat, sexually immoral, a thief, and will surely abuse and mis-use any power they happen to acquire?
But we don’t live that way—not yet, at least: I hope. What would life be like if we really couldn’t trust anyone? It’s bad enough we can’t trust our country’s leaders not to use their public offices solely to enrich themselves, to amass still more power for themselves, to ruin the country without the slightest pang of conscience. But everybody? How do you live, if you’re sure your wife or husband is cheating on you at every opportunity? That every piece of food you buy and eat is tainted, that the mechanic who fixes your brakes hasn’t really fixed them at all, or that your physician is lying to you about your health and about the medicines and treatments he prescribes, just so he can gobble up your money and send you to an early grave? We all know there are individuals who routinely lie and cheat—but everybody?
Obviously not. You just can’t live that way.
But to insist that “everybody does it,” and to elect leaders who, like the Clintons, are flagrantly notorious for doing it—well, is there any better way than that to bring a nation down?
That’s what we’ve been doing, though.
Have we truly sunk so low, that a candidate’s character is simply not an issue anymore? If so, it’s a reflection on the voters’ character as well, and a very poor prognosis for the future of our electoral process.
It’s too late to be looking down our noses at Donald Trump and say, “No thanks, he just isn’t righteous enough for me. I’ll vote for the righteous candidate, or not at all.” That train has already left the station: the righteous candidate, whoever that may have been, had his chance in the primaries and didn’t make it.
By now, a self-righteous abstention from voting altogether, or voting for a fringe candidate who literally hasn’t got a chance, can have only one result—a Hillary Clinton presidency. Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of crime.
A vote not cast for Trump is a vote for Clinton; and such a voter, like it or not, has thrown in with the “everybody does it” crowd. The hard fact is that the only choice is Hillary or Trump. If we want a better candidate than that, we’ll have to start working for him—or her—right now, in the hope that there will still be an America than can be governed decently four years from now.
If not, there will be no cause to say, “Everybody does it.”
You’ll have to say, “I did it.”
I have discussed these topics, and others, on my blog, http://leeduigon.com, throughout the week. Please stop by and read! All it takes is just one click to get you there.
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