Election: Do past screw-ups totally define us?

Suzette Standring
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While an election apology may lead to forgiveness, neither one erases consequences, especially in the digital age when the mistakes of ten, 20, even 40 years ago can be dredged up to fresh outrage.  Redemption is truly the Lord’s, because nobody has a chance in hell with people.

The presidential campaign is a criminal kangaroo court run amok.  Accusations and name-calling. An 11-year-old tape shows Trump bragging about celebrity as a free sexual assault pass. The “P” word drills into my eardrums more times in three days than in six decades. Bill Clinton’s infidelity from over 20 years ago takes him to the whipping post yet again.  Ironic. In America marriage is touted as sacred, but when Hillary still chose to keep her marriage intact, she is called “an enabler.”

The political Fight Club is designed to show the character of the other in a so-called show of truth. James the Apostle likened the tongue to a tiny but destructive force, capable of burning down entire forests.  I’m gasping from smoke inhalation. “You lie! No, you lie!  You did this!  Well, you did worse!”

As a follow up to our democratic process, I go all Blair-Witch-Project-dizzy with six split screens full of screaming TV pundits.

At what point is there a cut-off for old mistakes?  Some argue that one cannot escape the past because it shapes the present and the future.  Yet the optics are turned up 10,000x on a singular focus of negativity, which infects me with doubt, anger, and robs me of hope.

Attacks, ridicule, and mean-spirited references to the past have their own trickle-down effect. It’s all about defending or explaining the past. It would seem the candidates, and correspondingly, all of us, are the sum total of our screw-ups.

The apology dissection: does it mean I’m-truly-sorry or does it mean let’s-shut-up-and-move-on?  Most can discern the difference without days of analysis.

One’s change for the better is the best measure for examination, and the passing of time provides the proof.  Candidates, I’d prefer to hear how you’ve grown from past mistakes. Point to something that proves you’ve learned from bad decisions, and that experience improves your leadership. Let’s not list ambitions. We all have those. Instead talk about the results of hard-won lessons applied to the present.

Let’s stop wasting time defending the past. Leave the final reckoning to The Expert.  “Judgment is mine,” says the Lord, who might add, “so concentrate on tax reform.”

Yes, and healthcare, national security, equality and inclusion.

This column ran through GateHouse Media on 10/12/2016 and in The Patriot Ledger on 10/15/2016