But after voters rewarded Donald Trump despite – or perhaps because of – his plain, often expletive-prone rhetoric, Democrats are suddenly quite eager to adopt the language of America’s president.
From the party’s new chairman to a senator many believe will run for the White House in 2020, Democrats are letting loose four-letter words in public speeches and interviews, causing a small stir, at least in political circles, where swearing in public is usually off limits.
“Republicans don’t give a sh\t about people,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said last month, drawing criticism from GOP officials not only for the sentiment but also for the words he employed to convey it.*
“If we’re not helping people, we should go the f\ck home,” said Kirsten Gillibrand, a senator from New York who more than a few Democrats hope will challenge Trump for the presidency. Her uncensored declaration appeared in New York Magazine, which quoted her twice more using a curse word.*
Call me a prude, but I don’t like it when politicians curse. This isn’t about me, but to be totally honest, I used to be a terrible potty-mouth. I was the northerner at Robins AFB who got pulled aside by our sweet southern division chief and told in an iron “bless your heart” drawl, “we don’t talk that way down here.” She meant using the Lord’s name in vain, probably with a seven-letter adjective sandwiched between. That was me.
The now me, if I hit my thumb with a hammer, you probably won’t hear me cuss. So I know it’s possible for people to talk without every other word being an F-bomb.
Coarse talking is for particular situations, away from young ears, and people whom we entrust to be civil to each other in government. This isn’t 1804, when bitter differences between politicians were settled by duel to the death. It doesn’t make politicians become more relevant to hear them casually toss four-letter words like a young Eddie Murphy. (Murphy now regrets his early-80’s gigs where he used the F-word more times than Tony Montana in Scarface.)
Back to liberals blaming Trump for this cursing tsunami. News flash: it’s not Trump. Oh, yeah, Trump is crude, and very handy at times with maledictions and profane locution. In private, so was Lyndon Johnson, Richard “expletive-deleted” Nixon and many other colorful politicians. But one thing has been true for a long time.
We did a bit of swearing research. Democrats swear more than Republicans, apart from Republicans who are on the business side of things, apart from the evangelical Tea Party right. And the State Department is less sweary than the Pentagon, which is the supreme swearer — it’s full of military. And the West Wing is very sweary.
Researchers concluded that liberals were more likely to use swear words because they tended to be more emotionally expressive than conservatives.
One can draw two different conclusions from this: (1) Donald Trump is really a liberal. But no liberal would ever, ever mistake Trump for one of them–unless it’s on health care. (2) Liberals love to curse, and Trump cursing just gives them more reasons to curse even more.
Seems to me, the latter is more probable.
“In the age of Trump, you can get away with virtually everything,” said Ed Rendell, a former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania.
And don’t forget former Vice President Joe Biden’s “big f***ing deal.” It is a big deal when the Vice President has no problem dropping an F-bomb in public (hot mic or no).
Since Trump took office, I’ve not heard him curse in public (it’s possible I missed it if he has). I realize that our culture has descended to the point where foul-mouthedness is expected, not reviled. But in government, just a little decorum and civility goes a long way. Filling Congress with people who don’t bother to see the difference between private/door-closed conversations and publicly speaking like a gangsta rapper isn’t helpful to our country or to democracy.
Our profane republic needs its mouth washed out with soap. But don’t let them fool you, the profanity didn’t begin with Trump, it began with liberals.