Opinion: Overblown West Parish fiasco reeks of hypocrisy


ALEXANDER OAKS, Editor, Staff Writer

Last week, drama of a different theater struck Gloucester. On Friday, October 20th, West Parish School hosted a Halloween-themed children’s party, after-hours, for students of the elementary school. However, one particular decoration caught many people’s eyes as being classless and crude: a fake tombstone inscribed with the words: “Don Trump.”

The city was quickly ablaze with people from all walks of life espousing their opinion. Social media in particular saw neighbors and friends warring over whether or not displaying this type of harmful, dangerous, and downright inciteful imagery was appropriate. However, a question seemingly forgotten was, who truly decides what is “appropriate?”

Does the party that embraced Donald J. Trump, the same man who bragged about sexual assault, mocked (and continues to mock) opponents of political thought over their appearance, openly pontificated on Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle, compared immigrants of Mexican descent to rapists and criminals, (conveniently ignoring the fact that he is an accused rapist and draft avoider), and has generally turned common courtesy on its head while shunning values of respect and equality, get to lecture others on their level of acceptability?

Why is it that the President of the United States’ can openly denounce a religion of nearly 2 billion people, and then attack a Gold Star family over their impassioned pleas to American voters, without conservatives worrying about their children? Why can Republicans only ever consider children when it is Democrats’ actions they are calling into question?

The same people who voted for Donald Trump, a sexual abuser and all-around despicable figure, can then look their children in the face and explain that sometimes, it’s okay to be a sexual abuser, because if you have a lot of money and scapegoat the right communities at the right time then everything works out in the end! Yet, a decoration at a Halloween party crosses the line?

White conservatives seem to suffer from an inconvenient trend of telling their political opponents when and where they can talk about public policy and human rights. They have attempted to tell oppressed communities of color the exact qualifications that their protests must meet for their qualms to be heard.

When the head of the Gloucester Republican City Committee, Amanda Kesterson, told the Boston Herald that “Unfortunately, in Massachusetts in particular, where Republicans are the minority party and the president is unpopular, I think there is a belief that joking about the president is acceptable — and it’s not,” she seemed to forget that joking about the President is, in fact, acceptable. It is a freedom protected by the Constitution, a document that Republicans seemingly only love when its principles benefit them.

While many of these same people will inevitably point out that similar jokes about former President Barack Obama would have elicited strong reactions from liberals and the Left en masse, they seem to forget that, in the same sense that I am not the same as Michael Jordan because I have played basketball before, Donald Trump is not equal to Barack Obama simply because he has held the same occupation.

Mr. Obama carried himself with a level of professionalism that our current Commander in Chief clearly lacks. Like begets like, and respect begets respect. As a man who acts as if he cares little for the dignity of his position, his followers should not demand unyielding loyalty as they do.

On the other hand, there are those on both sides of the aisle who bemoan the fact that this fiasco unfolded in a public school. Yet, I fail to understand how a tombstone of “Don Trump” is political or even disrespectful. Halloween is a holiday centered around themes of death, monsters, and ghouls. Just like how dressing up as Trump is not disrespectful, (although I also fail to understand why anyone would want to do that), incorporating his name into party decor is not disrespectful either. If his name had been placed on a tombstone during a Valentine’s Day party, this would be a different story.

Donald Trump and his followers have changed the realm of what is acceptable and what is not. Their continued, blatant hypocrisy is what is truly unacceptable. A children’s party decoration pales in comparison to the real-life ramifications that having an unhinged person in public office creates. Please, do not pretend to be horrified by a light-hearted joke when you have embraced much worse in the past.

That’s hypocrisy with a capital H.