Up to this point in our political history, we have conducted elections, both preliminarily and postpartum in a specific way. The talking heads both for and against a candidate, or president-elect or president, have maintained a certain amount of decorum. Yes, there have been bombastic bushkins on both sides of the aisle and in the 4th estate. I don’t recall the era of Westbrook Pegler calling Eleanor Roosevelt some pretty bad names, or the horrible newspaper stories about Thomas Jefferson, so I have little to compare our current situation with.

I have, however, been in the public sphere for many years. I have faced public criticism, both personally (at large taxpayer meetings) and in the press. I have been attacked personally, as has my family during a teacher strike and physically attacked by community members as a human relations coordinator trying to quell racial violence. So, I am not quite an amateur when it comes to public discourse.

I have also paid my dues by being on television defending the right of poor and rural school districts to sue the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of inequitable and unfair funding. My street creds, I believe, are germane to the current discourse.

It all became clear to me that things have changed during the debates among and between the 17 Republican candidates. It was obvious to me then, in comparison to the Democratic primary debates, that there were two different processes going on.

Mr. Trump changed the game altogether, while the other candidates on both sides were in a totally different game altogether. I will call their game, the Harrumph game, and Mr. Trump’s game was You Can Say Anything You Feel like Saying game. As I watch the current debates about the validity of the President-Elect’s actions, I am befuddled by the Harrumph Gang not learning anything from the election

It took me back to a time when I was on a stage in a school district as a young principal seeing a crowd getting angry about the raising of taxes. One gentleman (I use the term advisedly) got up and asked all of the administrators on stage what their salaries were. Since we are public figures, those numbers were always available. However, this person wanted to shame all of those on stage, and also anger the crowd even more.

All of the administrators answered meekly with their salaries, except for one. I was boiling inside. I knew this guy had made his fortune during WWII in black market tires. I could not bow down to this community resident. I told him that I would answer his question if he told me how much he made in one year. He was flabbergasted and sat down. I did tell the crowd what I made. However, by that time, since they really knew him, they had calmed down.

All of that to say that the Harrumph people are wrong to let any of these people get away with what they are doing. The answer to their abominable statements is to shout out “Liar Liar Pants on Fire,” and create a scene that people just won’t forget. Do you remember Mr. Trump saying “Not True” during most of the Clinton debates, while she was a model of decorum? She was wrong to play the adult. She had all of the information, but presented it in a calm and rational way. She did not want to get down in the mud and dance with him. She should have, even worse.

I was so frustrated with the press presenting themselves as above the fray. They treated this election, as they did other elections, with calm, objectivity and a sly wink of the eye to the Trump campaign. The press made Mr. Trump out to be the hero of the working person, someone who was really different than any other candidate and christened him as a non-political person. They were decidedly ignorant of what was happening.

Some political detectives saw what Trump was doing and listed the lies that he continually told (and still does, as do his surrogates). They changed truth to truthiness, did nothing to condemn incorrect statements and “doubled down” on the lies that had been manufactured. The press has still not caught up with the President elect.

Saw a bit of dialogue with the Conaway person and the Meet the Press person Chuck Todd. He allowed her to continually tell falsehoods and did nothing to interrupt her. That is a perfect time to say “Nothing you have just said has any validity. Either you are lying or you are terribly misinformed.” I would even go further to say “Wrong, Lie, Falsehood.” during her diatribe. She has no rule to her about the truth. The press or someone else should be saying “Liar Liar Pants on Fire.” Not to stop these people cold is to infuriate the wing nuts of the world to shoot up a pizza joint because the wing nut aw that Hillary Clinton was running a child slavery ring in that pizza place.

This is not a tsk tsk moment. This is a moment to rear up and challenge very validity of everything that they are saying or doing. Truth will win out with our help.




  1. Ah, you bring back memories! I am certain every school administrator has experienced a challenge to their salary at some point in their career! My response in an urban setting was “I said I was good, I never said I was cheap.” I like your response! The point is that bullying represents much of what is occurring now mixed with demagoguery. We are in very dangerous territory. What is worse we gave such fake news that is being believed! I hope the truth prevails.

  2. Thanks for this post, Arnold. It makes a difference to those among us who sometimes feel alone in our despair to hear your wise voice.

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