Republican staffer Elizabeth Lauten was recently under fire for making a moral judgment about Malia and Sasha Obama’s chosen attire. She rightfully resigned her position at the GOP; it was a stupid thing to do and would only hurt her party going forward if she stayed.
Lauten stated that the girls needed to show “a little class,” that they should “act like being in the White House matters to you,” and that they should “dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.”
Certainly Lauten has the right to her opinion, but that’s just it, it’s her opinion. I saw the outfits in question, (see pic below)and considered them not even remotely offensive or suggestive.
Elizabeth Lauten is everything that is wrong with the GOP in a nutshell, because she is behaving like the Democrats that her party rightfully condemns for sticking their nose into people’s personal lives.
Lauten attempted to make a moral judgment, but there is only one true moral—liberty. The rest of these issues are differences of opinion.
If you look at laws that we all generally agree on, they’re laws against assault, murder, theft, and other victimful crimes.
But if a moral judgement in question is deemed by some people to be perfectly moral, that’s a good sign maybe your “moral” issue is not in fact affiliated with morality in any way.
Things like homosexuality, drug use, prostitution, and clothing choices are matters of opinion and have nothing to do with morality, except in the context of a particular religion—a belief system a growing number of us are not encumbered with.
So when politicians and their staffers are considering making a moral judgment about someone, then opt to share via social media or interviews, they need to think about what they’re about to say before they say it.
So I’ve prepared a simple checklist for politicians to consider before spouting off:
- Is the person I’m about to character-assassinate harming anyone in the act I’m about to criticize them for?
- If the answer is no, stop and don’t say a thing.
- If the answer is yes, have at them. Most people will agree if you can show causational harm being done. You’re on solid ground in such arguments
- Can science back up the thing I’m about to present as fact?
- If yes, cite sources. You’ve done your homework.
- If science refutes it, are you educated in science?
- If no, stop! Don’t say a thing. You don’t know what you’re talking about, so let it go. Debunking controlled studies is not in your wheelhouse and you’ll look stupid doing it.
- If yes, unless you can cite a study as noted above, feel free to point out the flaws in the study as you see them, but be prepared for other peers to either side with you or against you. Good luck.
- If neither you, nor scientists have done any properly controlled studies you can cite, it’s likely a matter of opinion, not fact, and you should present it as opinion with a clear omission of any intent whatsoever to impose that opinion on others. If you can’t handle that, then stop, don’t say a thing.
Sarah Palin was ridiculed for wanting schools to teach intelligent design. While as an atheist, I am not in favor of this in the science classroom (it’s OK for social studies), to her credit, she stated she was not pushing for this legislatively, it was just her belief. While I may not be Palin’s biggest fan, that’s how it’s done when speaking on matters of opinion—all credit to her.
The word moral is defined as concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.
So if something is immoral, it must contain an interaction between two people, where one of them is harmed. Unless Elizabeth Lauten wants to argue her eyes were intentionally damaged by Malia and Sasha while looking at these pictures, she should have kept her opinion to herself.
I think the majority of us feel Elizabeth Lauten showed a far greater lack of moral character by verbally attacking the two daughters simply because she didn’t agree with their fashion choice than Malia and Sasha ever showed with their fashion choices.
The issue here is a simple enemy complex. Those of us who are not hip to the president’s policies are split into two groups.
Logical people like me, who can offer praise to the president when he does something I agree with, remain neutral on things that I could care less about, and disagree when I feel like we have a moral dilemma we can never agree on.
But then there are people like Elizabeth Lauten who are so full of hate for the president, that they will latch on to any opportunity to bash the president, even going so far as to attack his children’s clothing choices. It’s as if she was going to make some brilliant argument about how the Obama’s are poor parents, but it failed miserably.
She became a blight on her party, thereby hurting her cause, not helping it. This was not that dissimilar to when Senator Todd Aiken foolishly spoke about “legitimate” rape; a comment that somewhat haunted the 2014 Mitt Romney effort.
Such over-enthusiastic hate for the president, which results in an attack wherever one is seen possible, is no different than the nonsense Rev Al Sharpton brands as racism which usually isn’t. It’s the “crying wolf” dilemma where constant attacks from everywhere destroy your credibility, instead of targeted attacks when they are truly warranted.
Too often, those of us on the side of liberty forget that most voters are independent and could be swayed one way or the other. We will not help our cause be being the Al Sharpton’s of the right—people will run away from us in drives. Sometimes, it’s better just to shut the hell up. If you’re opponent is behaving in a way that many people do not like, let them harm themselves. Most people will naturally take notice, you don’t always need to point it out yourself.