US election’s very essence was indecency

Some of you noticed that I sat out the presidential election this year. It was only partly intentional. In the first place, “I was for her” and I figured the world had already come to that conclusion themselves without my writing a column to confirm it.

I didn’t want that kind of bias to seep into a column I like to think strives in most part to be relatively objective analysis.

The second reason I didn’t write about so important a subject as a presidential election, however, was far more complex, far more frustrating than the first: This election, it seemed to me, was a tiger that was impossible to ride.

Chaos, name-calling, dark accusations and groundless exaggerations claimed the day. What else was there to say about it that would do more than add to the rising tide of frustration and rage? Data, plans, platform and decency had all left the field.

Instead, this election was about decency. But indecency was its very essence.

Its language was indecent. The American public heard not a word about the substance that lay behind the untested promises. In fact, the few times policies became part of the conversation, pundits apologized for the distraction and made sarcastic references to substance, called it “wonky,” in fact. (Cue laugh or sneer.)

So now we have a new president but little or no specific awareness of exactly how this president intends to do what she or he said they’ll do. No idea whether such things are really doable or not. Very little assurance that what was promised can actually be delivered. Or, indeed, should be delivered.

Its media was indecent. Unlike elections past, no popular news programs sponsored a series of tutorials designed to explain to the American people exactly what was implied by such a series of vague promises. Continue reading

  • Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister is a frequent NCR contributor.
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