9 October 2016

There are political choices and there are value systems

To my FB friend who posted – “What’s the brouhaha on Trump talking trash? The opponent and her husband are trailer trash, and treated White House like playboy mansion during their previous tenure..no one is a saint, Trump does just the talking, the Clintons implement them.”

I really do not care about who you vote for – Trump or Hillary. That is your choice and entirely yours. Any which way you vote, I and the rest of the country will respect your choice.

My point has little to do with political choices. My point is about you asking “what is the brouhaha” – and thereby condoning “talking trash”. Talking trash??? You know exactly what words were spoken. Even the person – regardless of whether he meant it or not – at least conjured up enough grace to apologize for his comments. For you to suggest there is no big deal would mean that you could not even come up with that much shred of a grace.

The position that this is okay because the other team is worse is like saying Idi Amin was okay because he did not kill as many as Hitler. A wrong thing does not get any more right by comparing it with a more heinous wrong. Has our blind hatred for the other team devoured our basic sense of values? Has everything become relative? Has it become okay to say or do bad as long as it is not as bad as others?

I hope you realize how deeply misogynist a person must be to talk in those terms. You for one, should understand this. You draw your paycheck from a company that has a CEO from a demography that suffers from a lot of hatred in this country.

To repeat myself, your political choices are your political choices. And I hope to never lose a friendship over a political choice. But value systems are something I am willing to lose relationships over. And try, as I might, I have not been able to get over your public condoning of misogynistic words (the argument being comparatively speaking, some other people are saying/doing worse) that the person himself has expressed regret over.

I would like to give you the option – if you so wish – to rebut this (and inadvertently self identify) so everybody gets your point of view in the next day or so. But, after that, allow me to draw the line and end our friendship at a point where I can certainly say that I have deep respect for you after knowing you for so many years; it is just that our value system differed.

Posted October 9, 2016 by Rajib Roy in category "Musings


    1. By Rajib Roy on

      Manish, I really have no suggestion who one should vote for Those are individual choices that one needs to make. I do not even tell my wife or daughter who should they vote for – let alone anybody else. However, here is the point is NOT to condone a heinous act – that the person himself has apologized for – under the pretext of “oh! it is okay. look what others have done”.

  1. By Stephen Hunter on

    I value your value system. The strength of which is evident in your post. As for Trump, an apology carries no remorse unless it comes with atonement. That’s what guide my pen at the polls.

  2. By Malal Miriam Mayar Wardak on

    Dear Rajib, I totally agree to a point. I really don’t want the friendship of someone who supports a racist, chauvinist, homophobe, etc.etc. because, they are no better.

    1. By Rajib Roy on

      Miriam, I might have a slightly different take on that. I have to think deeper on that point. Which is am I willing to sacrifice my relationship with a friend because he politically supports somebody. The struggle Is going to be the difference between political beliefs and a person. In this case, if the candidate of one party is everything you describe but the other party espouses causes that I am against (economically, socially, politically, foreign relationship wise etc), what do I do? I just have one vote. However, I have no doubt that there is no room for condoning bad acts by either actor. Certainly not by giving the excuse that the other side is worse.

    2. By Malal Miriam Mayar Wardak on

      For us it is an existential matter. The environment has changed and fear is very palpable. As parents, we worry about my son being hurt etc. I work close to West Virginia, where you see the display of confederate flag like this. In places like Germany, the people who hurt the victims most were friends and neighbors unfortunately

  3. By Mike Schoeffler on


    I don’t think your friend actually meant this tape was fine. He only inelegantly stated his point. Trump’s words were worse than trash talk, but so was Hillary’s destruction of subpoenaed evidence.

    These are two of the worst candidates the country has ever nominated. The country loses with either one, no matter who you support. And we got here because of the invective between us.

    You’re one of the more decent voices out there, bringing a touch of humanity to the internet and corporate life. Vote who you want. Advocate who you want. But I hope you won’t allow yourself to lose friends over politics.

  4. By Rajib Roy on

    Mike, now that you have accused me of a decent voice, it would imply you need to have better standards 🙂 Just kidding. First off, thank you for your personal sentiments towards me,

    I agree with you that no one should be losing friends due to political beliefs. As you said, Vote who you want. I would draw a line on the advocate who you want part. I am all up for debates and discussions but I want to leave that with both of us walking away with our own minds to settle down on what we want without any advocating. In the minimum, I hope we can agree that FB or any social media is not the platform to advocate.

    However, as I have mentioned multiple times this is not about political beliefs. I TRULY do not care who you support. That is your choice. But that is no reason to condone deplorable acts – on either side.

    To me, it appears that we have started to believe that if we admit our team made a mistake – somehow that gives the other team a leg up. We seem to want to have a very simplistic view of the world – we are all good and they are all bad. Admission of any bad or mistake on our side suddenly puts us in a tizzy because that destroys the simple view of world we have.

    And yet, everything in life is grey. Both sides and both individuals have made mistakes, have done stupid things and have done good things and have their own (very different) dreams for this country.

    Standing up against a public statement condoning a bad act – for which even the person has apologized – suggesting “oh! others have done worse” has nothing to do with political beliefs. To me at least. To me it is standing up against somebody perpetrating a wrong by underplaying its importance.

    That said, allow me to not fall in the same trap. We ought not to take this and paint a very dark picture of my friend. In fact, this friend and I have a long history together. I have seen each other in multiple places – school, college, workplace etc etc up, close and personal. I happen to know the background of him and his parents. It is a marvelous story of somebody from the most meagre of background succeeding as a person. All credit goes to him and his parents. As I said, I will always respect him as a person.

    But I cannot condone this behavior just like I am urging him not to condone another behavior. He may or may not want to change his position. But I certainly have to take a position. I feel strongly enough of the ramification to womenfolk to let such a statement to stand that I am willing to risk sacrificing our friendship.

    Conversely, I do not want to suggest that I am holier than thou either. I have certainly made more mistakes than most of you combined can. You should point those out and if I do not own up to them, I don’t deserve to get your vote of “decent voice”, Mike.

    1. By Mike Schoeffler on

      We’re agreed.

      The inability of Republicans to condemn Trump’s boorish behavior is wrong. The Democrats’ failure to condemn Hillary’s corruption is wrong. Our entire society has lost the ability to say, “I’m sorry” without adding a weaselly “if you took offense” or a “but X did something worse”. We’re regressing.

      I also agree we shouldn’t be discussing politics on social media. Or religion. Or sex. Or anywhere else. The old rules that protected the boundaries of civil society made sense. But I recognize the appeal (and succumb far too often, even without knowing who I will ultimately support).

      Poor standards or not, I do really appreciate your voice. You focus on the true substance of life. It’s not the bile of politics and it’s not the saccharine Hallmark moments that lie a step away from your posts. You navigate this slippery path well.

      I just think you misstepped. I reminded you because I want to model myself on you and I have impossibly high standards for my exemplars. : )

  5. By Vicky Ruffin Cupit on

    RR – after 70 years and lots of friends and relatives I really appreciate this post… will be copying part of it for a rebuttal to a couple of people whose values are apparently not the ones they make public on a daily basis…thank you for standing up for what is morally right…

  6. By Phil Burgess on

    Maybe my value set is too simple. Defending abhorrent behaviour because “everyone does it ” or ” they are even worse ” isn’t really acceptable. Seems to me the problem is one of integrity and setting a example This is what leadership is about Defending someone just because of the colour of their party in effect supports the racist ethic – no matter what colour.


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