Vassar: This election taught us that we value laws more than morals

The election is finally over. After four months of being hit over the head with flawless logic from both sides, essentially saying they deserve your vote exclusively because they aren’t the other candidate, the antagonist of literally every workplace sexual assault and harassment video became the 45th president of our formally great nation. I wasn’t too thrilled with either candidate and found it astounding that out of the potentially millions of American citizens that qualify to run for president, we ended up with a man whose ego is bigger than his wallet and a woman whose Instagram bio contains the phrase “doting grandmother”. Now, no candidate is perfect, and a career in politics is precariously complicated and getting through a career without a few black eyes (deserved or not) is a rarity, but the two we ended up with have more flaws and bruises than most. While I’m sure both candidate’s policies and plans for the well-being of the country’s future do have some flaws, I refer to their character. I must stress that his article means to deal with what the election implies for our country’s acceptance of missteps, and by no means does it mean to bash either candidate, or what their vision for the future of the country is.

Both have violated the public trust in different ways. Trump, from his 11 sexual assault charges, shady business dealings, feuds with random people, and general and miscellaneous nonsense has had his moral integrity and character come into question many times. So often during the election that it seems that on multiple occasions he’d forgotten that more than just white male landowners can vote. On the other hand, the way Clinton handled and reacted to her husband’s sex scandal and well of sexual assault charges, her use of a personal email address connected to a privately-owned server instead of a government one during her stint as 44th president Barack Obama’s first-term secretary of state, and the time she straight up lied to congress has her procedural tendencies and ignorance of the law come into question. Based off these instances, Trump seems to spit in the face of our morals and values and Clinton spits in the face of our laws. However, the issues aren’t that black and white, they cannot be just addressed simply by wearing a Make America Hate Again hat ironically or slapping a Hillary for Prison sticker on a street light post. For many this has been the most important part of the election. Debating who was the lesser of the two evils. Based off the results of the election, Donald Trump is.


It’s almost poetic that Hillary Clinton was so instrumental in her own loss. Based off the results of the election, the American people are more accepting, and lenient, towards a breach in morals as opposed to the law. In the tough on crime 90s, Clinton backed her then president husband on his zero tolerance of infringement upon the law policy and reforms. Today, we are still rigid in the belief of minimal tolerance of crime and law breaking, as proven by the results of the election. On the other hand, our culture is quite lenient when it comes to breaches in moral integrity. So lenient, it’s a bit scary. The interest in Donald Trump’s numerous wrongdoings isn’t necessarily because it exposes him, but because it gives limelight to the issue of how bad deeds by famous or important people can go unnoticed or nonchalantly dealt with, specifically those dealing with such breaches in what society deems okay; the reason why we ignore sexual assault charges when the accused exudes charisma.

In some instances, Donald Trump has flat out bragged about using his powerful position to attack women, quoted as saying “when you’re a star, they let you do it”. Because he is the icon of corrupt pervy authority figures, he can almost get away with anything degrading to women. Essentially the “boys will be boys” defense. So what can be learned from the constant tolerance of his misogynistic chauvinism combined with his new job title?

For starters, the boys will be boys defense is legitimized. This further engrains the value that men just can’t help themselves towards women. As Trump puts it, “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them”. Based off this assumption, rape would be easily excusable. After all, you don’t throw meat into a wolves den without expecting them to eat it right? According to Trump’s defenders, and the majority of America based off this election, this is not harassment. Instead it’s “guy talk” that a woman can’t handle. His son Erik has boasted about how sexual assault is essentially a given, and “what happens” when alpha males get together. This instills the ideology that it is natural and commonplace for men to have to socialize by the rules of a masculine hierarchy, and that predatory language isn’t sexual assault, but instead locker room talk characterized by changing around a few verbs when in the presence of a woman. This shows that Trump was right in betting that when confronted with irrefutable evidence, our morality is weaker than our fandom or idealism.

Donald Trump’s election further solidifies America’s habit of turning a blind and nonchalant eye to the wrongdoings of those in power and with considerable fame or fortune, creating smokescreens for terrible actions, and discouraging people from speaking out when taken advantage of this system. Whether or not these implications spell doom for our nation is up for debate, this article would have still been written had Hillary won and I can assure you her potential would have had its fair share of distressing implications as well.