Op-ed: Lying naked

  • By Bob Franken
  • Tuesday, August 23, 2016 5:08pm
  • Opinion

Sometimes being unfair is totally fair. As the proverb goes, “Turnabout is fair play.” (“Proverb” is the old word for “sound bite,” which is the old word for “tweet.” But I digress …) The point is that in some instances, people deserve what they get.

So it is with Donald Trump. He has insulted or directed hate at just about everybody except old, ignorant white guys, his constituency. Women? That’s another story. His remarks and conduct would put him in the Misogynist Hall of Fame if there was one. (Maybe that should be a Hall of Shame, but that’s another digression.) His comments about Megyn Kelly are so well-known that it’s not necessary to explain who she is or what he said about her “whatever.” It’s the same with Rosie O’Donnell. He delights in calling her a “fat pig.”

So, even those of us who know that body shaming is wrong believe it was absolutely the right thing to do to place in several cities the naked Donald Trump statues, ones that show him with a fat-pig body that clothing can’t really cover up. Is it accurate? I have no way of knowing for sure, but I want to believe so. I must admit the publicity and ridicule was, in this one case, entirely appropriate. Has anyone heard from Rosie O’Donnell?

Given all his accumulated hatefulness, his statement of “regret” over some unspecified part of it doesn’t change anything. Besides, his explanation that “sometimes I can be too honest” begs the question: About what was it that he was being “too honest”? Was it his vicious comments aimed at war heroes and their grieving families? Was it his mocking the disabled? Was it his bigotry? Or his calls to violence? How about his birtherism? Sorry, Donny, “regret” doesn’t cut it.

And while we’re on the subject of vapid apologies, let’s turn to Ryan Lochte, the Olympian who vandalized a gas station in Rio with his swimmer buddies and then made up a story on television about how they had been robbed at gunpoint. As their lie was unraveling, he managed to escape back home to the United States, where he has now issued a crisis-management statement that he should have been more “careful and candid” about his account of what had transpired. What shall we call him and the others? Delinquent punks? I usually avoid using “thugs,” because racists have expropriated the word and used it to describe any African-American male who scares them, which is to say nearly all African-American males, which Ryan Lochte definitely is not. He’s a privileged white guy if there ever was one. Even so, the colorblind definition of “thug” is a “ruffian.” Lochte definitely is one of those, and his thuggery is inexcusable; his apology, definitely not adequate. He’s a thug.

He’s not the only one who’s gotten caught in a lie. President Barack Obama and his State Department denied that the $400 million released to Iran just as it was letting go of three U.S hostages was “ransom.” That’s because the United States government claims it has a no-ransom policy. Now State is saying it was “leverage.” You can sugarcoat it however you want, but it was “ransom,” people, notwithstanding the spin.

Of course, the Trumpsters are trying to pin that on Hillary Clinton. Well, Hillary wasn’t secretary of state when the money-for-hostage deal was being consummated. Besides, she has her hands full explaining her activities when she was secretary. Now her secret-server emails are seeing the light of day, and they reveal a pattern of contributions to the family’s Clinton Foundation that can be construed as trying to curry her official favor. Stay tuned. Donald Trump may be embarrassed by that naked statue. Will the naked truth — whatever it is or is not — affect Hillary’s chances?

Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist, including 20 years at CNN.

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