By now you’ve probably heard. Back in 2005, Donald Trump had a conversation where he talked about women in a very lewd manner. This conversation was caught on tape and released to the public last week. Mr. Trump has apologized for those comments, characterizing his vulgar remarks as “locker room talk.” After hearing the contents of the tape, people generally fall into one of three camps.
- In the first camp are those who have rightfully condemned this behavior, noting that it is not only demeaning to women, it reveals a lack of character and disqualifies “The Donald” for the office of President.
- A second camp consists of those who have acknowledged that the comments were unsavory and inappropriate even for a private conversation. However, these inappropriate comments occurred ten years ago and that doesn’t necessarily disqualify someone for the office of President. People in this category argue that other Presidents have made embarrassing remarks. Given the sexual reputations of former Presidents like John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Bill Clinton, it is quite possible that similar conversations took place in their private moments when no microphone was around.
- A third camp of people make the claim that there really isn’t anything wrong with this kind of talk; that this is, in fact, how men talk amongst themselves when women are not around. Its just “guys being guys.”
Of these three groups, I find myself in the first camp. I think Mr. Trump’s comments are not just inappropriate, they reveal a serious lack of personal character. If I had any political clout in Republican circles, I would join the voices of those calling for Donald Trump to step aside and allow the Republican party to find a better candidate. I am also not a fan of Hillary Clinton, so my reasoning here is not politically motivated.
I can also see some validity of those who find themselves in the second camp. I once was a 20-year old college student living in a fraternity house. I also played competitive sports throughout much of my adolescence and young adult life. In a frat house and a locker room, such conversations were not that uncommon. To be clear, these conversations were still not appropriate, but young men who lack maturity and who have been raised in a sexually-charged culture often enter into their teens and early twenties with a tendency to objectify women. Again, this is not to justify any conversations that are lewd and vulgar, whether in a fraternity house or a locker room. It is simply an attempt to understand the origin of such comments and contextualize them. What makes Donald Trump’s words even more shocking, is that he spoke them when he was 59 years old. At some point, the man should have matured in his character. Apparently he did not.
But I totally reject the arguments made by individuals in the third camp. To claim that all or most guys talk this way is an insult to most men. I’ll admit I’ve never taken a scientific survey, but let me say to the women who might read this blog post, I am pretty confident that the comments made by Donald Trump do not represent how most men talk when women are not around. Do some men talk this way? Sadly, I am sure some do. But most men I know would never engage in this kind of conversation or make such comments about women.
So ladies, here is the truth:
- Most guys notice attractive women. Some guys might even comment on a woman’s attractiveness. But most guys do not talk about women in ways that are insulting, demeaning, or misogynistic.
- Most men do not brag about sexual exploits, real or imagined. And most men do not view women simply as objects to be pursued for sport or pleasure.
- Most men want their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters to be respected and treated with honor.
- Most men want to rise above the animalistic pursuit of sex in order to discover the joy of true intimacy and oneness the way God intended when He created us in His image, “male and female, for one another”. That doesn’t mean that guys are always perfect gentlemen, but it does mean that most of us strive to treat women as real people, not as potential sexual conquests.
I also believe that both men and women want to follow leaders whom they can respect; leaders who may not be perfect, but who at least try to model character, integrity, and honor, both publicly and privately. I think both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton fail to meet that standard. Unfortunately, one of them will be our next President. So I guess come election day, many of us will have a difficult choice to make.
No matter what happens over the next few weeks, I will be very glad when this election season is over, and very prayerful that the Lord will soon raise up a new generation of leaders who can not only make competent policy decisions, but also serve as role models of integrity and character. Please join me in that kind of prayer.