I love teachable moments and the antics we see in the current presidential election will give any teacher, who chooses to do so, an opportunity to do just that, teach.
Of course they’ll have to figure out a way to shield impressionable children from exposure to events surrounding a couple of new words to be learned but, with a little imagination, one could do that. The two words to be learned are immoral and amoral, often confused with regard to usage and meaning.
With our two leading candidates accusing each other of both immoral and amoral behavior, we have the perfect opportunity to instill in our young people — of proper age, of course — both the meaning and correct usage of both words. However, let me be clear and say that perhaps both candidates give only the inclination of being either immoral or amoral. Perhaps both are as pure as the snow on Mount McKinley.
One cannot be 100 percent sure of anything anymore and so I’m not going to put the noose around my own neck and say I know for sure. Only that, were I to hazard a guess, I would name one guilty of being immoral and the other guilty of being amoral, based solely on mainstream media reporting. After all, the essence of today’s politics is that a person involved in such, must have the ability to keep the rest of us guessing through the media, as to whether or not he/she is guilty enough of immorality or amorality to not get our vote.
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What we may be seeing now are two people who appear to be experts in moving the morality bar up or down, depending on your point of view. So the question becomes, which one is simply immoral and which one is simply amoral, because neither, in God’s good name, could be guilty of both.
If one were guilty of both, we would surely not elect that person, but find a way to destroy them personally and politically in the name of all our good names. One we shall call the “bloviator,” the other, the “deletinator,” both words I made up but you get the picture.
The “bloviator” appears to be guilty of immoral behavior and we will not go into what he allegedly did to deserve this badge of dishonor, but suffice to say, it may have been enough to have his picture on a locker room wall honoring those who excelled in that type of endeavor.
After all, we must reward outstanding locker room behavior performances and his appears to be Oscar-worthy. Those of us, whose likeness could be found near his, will, at this time, remain silent. The “deletinator” appears to be guilty of amoral behavior and although those activities do not involve attempted procreation or stimulation (unless one finds it stimulating to behave amorally) they are nevertheless frowned upon and could send one to the slammer.
I submit that the wall for these types of people might be larger than the wall of honor found in upscale locker rooms. Therefore, we have a very interesting and teachable moment that asks this question: Do I vote for a person who has behaved immorally and can, in some instances, be forgiven, redeemed and welcomed once again into an imperfect world? Or do I vote for one who, at their core, appears to be amoral and untrustworthy and appears to fit very well into an imperfect world?
When I brought this dilemma up to my mother, who has been my teacher for nearly 70 years and voted in every election since 1940, she said, “Since they both appear to be morally deficient, why don’t we vote for the one we think is the smartest?” I have to say I think she’s right. If I could just figure out a way to keep that “smart” person out of my pocket, I’d feel a lot better about my vote.
Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.