Published in the Concerned Center Citizens Review Philadelphia PA January 2019
By Joseph Batory
Ethics requires consistency—the absence of contradictions. As a guide for morality, ethics must be rational, and to be rational it must be free of contradictions. Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University
In the late 1990’s, current Vice President Mike Pence delivered a condemnation of then President Bill Clinton regarding his admission of an affair with a White House intern.
Like an adamant preacher, Pence argued that Clinton be removed from office: Now more than ever, America needs to be the role model of all that we have been and can be again…..Clinton’s repeated lies to the American people compound the case against him and demonstrate failure to protect the institution of the presidency as the inspiring supreme symbol of all that is highest in our American ideals.
With “fire and brimstone,” Pence continued: Throughout our history, we have seen the presidency as the repository of our highest hopes and ideals and values. To demand less is to do an injustice to the blood that bought our freedoms.
In summary, Pence has defined morality and ethics in the White House as priority issues for any holder of this office. Really?!
So why has there been no ethical condemnation from Pence regarding 5000+ lies (8.3 perday) told by Trump since he assumed the office of the presidency (well documented by The New York Times and other news media)?
Additionally, sixteen associates of Donald Trump, despite his repeated denials about any collusion with the Russians, have now been documented as having contacts with Russians during the 2016 campaign or transition, according to public statements, court filings, and reporting from news outlets. As of mid-December, the Robert Mueller investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 election has already led to seven guilty pleas, three people sentenced, and one convicted, among Trump associates.
Pence has decided to ignore the guilty plea and testimony of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that he circumvented campaign finance laws at the direction of Trump to pay off/silence both porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, both of whom have alleged they had affairs with the Trump. In that context, American Media, Inc. (AMI), the publisher of the National Inquirer, has now admitted planning the illegal campaign contribution (payoff of $150,000 in hush money to Karen McDougal) with Cohen and Trump in the room to seal the deal.
Demanding the highest moral standards in the presidency, Pence has been blind to the fact that Trump has refused to condemn the complicity of the Saudi crown prince (confirmed by the CIA and other reputable sources) in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump’s crude almost daily name calling in hundreds vicious tweets has drawn no reaction from Pence. And Trump’s characterization of the Charlottesville Nazis as “very fine people” received no critique from Pence.
In conclusion, the Vice President’s ethical base is morally inconsistent and contradictory. And so is the “subservient silence of the lambs,” those Congressional Republicans politically fearful about confronting Trump’s outrageous behaviors. Inconsistency and contradiction violate ethics. Ethical judgments must be applied uniformly and cannot be dependent on who or what is being appraised.
Pence and most of his colleague elected Republicans have apparently decided that they can be “half-ethical.” But there is no such thing! “Half-ethical” defines these elected officials as without any moral or ethical conviction!
Joseph Batory is the author of three books and many published articles on politics and education.