Vail Daily column: Trump should step down
October 12, 2016
The recent release of a recording of Donald Trump demeaning women and appearing to support sexual assault was appalling. In such an event, an apology and humility would be expected. Instead, we received an apology followed by a panel of Bill Clinton's alleged rape victims. This behavior is tearing our country apart and requires action by the Republican Party and our nation.
When discussing morality around Donald Trump's behavior, there are two common defenses. These two defenses require discussion, as I believe most Americans and nearly all of my fellow Republicans are considering them as well.
The first defense is to point the finger at Bill Clinton. If we find what Trump did to be so abhorrent that it makes him unfit to be president, why is no one asking Bill Clinton about his alleged rapes and his infidelities?
First off, in high school, we all learned that arguments such as this are prime examples of a logical fallacy. This is one fallacy in particular: the red herring. A red herring argument has nothing to do with the discussion and is simply a diversion. Trump is talking about another man with completely different circumstances and claiming that because Bill Clinton didn't face consequences, he shouldn't either. Not the most redeeming defense.
Second, Bill Clinton did in fact do horrible things that were unbecoming of a president. He was almost removed from office. Which party held leadership to a higher standard and upheld morality in our country during that time? The Republican Party. The Republican Party is a party that prides itself on virtue and Christian values that were at the foundation of our country. With this knowledge, it is therefore even graver that our candidate represents everything we once stood against.
In summary, Bill Clinton has nothing to do with Donald Trump's moral shortcomings and pointing to Bill Clinton only reminds us of how bad Trump's candidacy really is.
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The second, more understandable defense is to believe that we must look for the lesser of the evils. Republicans and others who subscribe to this are currently saying, "Words aren't as bad as actions, and Hillary's actions are horrible." This point of view requires a measuring of each evil and a value judgment to decide which is worse.
I respect those who believe this is the only way forward. However, I wholeheartedly disagree. Comparing sins is hardly a science, and the Bible helps us understand in saying all sins are equal. The vilification of Hillary Clinton as a way to justify Donald Trump is wrong. She has made some terrible mistakes, but no one can prove nor should anyone believe that she intentionally harmed anyone. Her evils do not justify Trump's evils, and vice versa.
My father always told me, "Look at a man's actions and I'll tell you where his heart is. Look at a man's heart and I'll tell you how he will act." We cannot divorce words from actions. We cannot divorce what a man says from who he is and how he behaves. Trump's words matter just as much as his actions and both are reprehensible.
The real dilemma our country and the Republican Party faces today is one of morality. What do we require of the leader of the Free World? What do we expect of leaders and strong leadership? Our country has always upheld the idea of virtuous leaders, those who hold themselves and those around them to a higher standard. In our hearts, we know that it is wrong to vote for those who do not live up to these expectations. Our leaders must uphold personal virtue and they must seek to do what is good.
Winning is not the goal in this election. Taking a stand for the conscience of our country absolutely should be. It is possible to win this election and lose everything we hold dear. It is time to do what is right.
If neither candidate meets the high standard required for the presidency, we must demand another candidate. Many leaders have demanded Trump step down, and I echo that demand. It is the right thing to do.
We have more choices than two.
Luke Niforatos lives in Vail.
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