By Michael d’Oliveira
For years, conservatives on social media have proudly posted about how they “love triggering libtards.”
With President Donald Trump in office, the “libtards” are doing their own triggering now.
The latest “triggering” of conservatives came courtesy of Robert De Niro at the Tony Awards Sunday night. “I’m going to say one thing: Fuck Trump. It’s no longer ‘Down with Trump.’ It’s fuck Trump,” he said to a standing ovation.
On social media, conservatives and Trump supporters are reacting with anger and criticism of De Niro’s use of “vulgar” language aimed at Trump.
One Trump supporter, Alison Dillen, wrote on June 11 that “Everyone preaches against bullying. Robert DeNiro, and those who applauded his vile words, just bullied the President of the United States. Disrespectful. Disgusting. #boycottrobertdeniro #BoycottHollywood”
In November of 2016, responding to a Hillary Clinton campaign ad highlighting Trump’s own history of vulgar remarks, Dillen wrote, “standing in line at a store, I heard MUCH worse coming from teenagers….and I dont think they heard that from Trump”
The hypocrisy surrounding Trump’s use of vulgarity has continued since he became president. In March, he called NBC’s “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd a “sleeping son of a bitch” at a public rally in Pennsylvania. Trump’s comments were met with laughter, applause, and smiles from the crowd.
In contrast, many liberals and other anti-Trump voices have continually derided Trump’s vulgarity while praising anyone who uses vulgarity in their criticism of Trump. De Niro isn’t the first to get an “attaboy” from liberals and others who like seeing people harshly criticize Trump.
In her campaign ad, Clinton asked for an example to be set. Trump’s vulgarity was not the kind of language children should be exposed to, she said.
Should there be a different set of standards for actors, athletes, and other private citizens, and the president of the United States? Yes. De Niro only represents himself. The president is supposed to represent the entire country. He’s certainly allowed to defend himself, his family, and his supporters. But he’s supposed to do it in a way that befits the dignity of his office. That’s why his vulgarity will always be worse than that of a private citizen.
But I’m not here to say people shouldn’t be vulgar.
I’ve got my own history on Facebook with comments I probably shouldn’t have made. I’m not in a position of power but I still could have done better as a citizen.
We are all responsible, in our own little way, for keeping civil discourse civil. Some of us have done a better job than others and both sides have failed in one way or another. But only people who refrain from vulgarity are in a moral position to get outraged and angry when that kind of language is used to criticize someone they like.
When you spend years saying you love to “trigger libtards” by saying offensive things, you’ve kind of painted yourself into a rhetorical corner. One that leaves you morally-incapable of complaining about things you find offensive.