Oh, Shania. Honesty and Integrity Are Not the Same Thing

Who cares that you’re a straight shooter if you’re shooting straight-up bulls**t?

If I’ve heard it once, I heard it a million times during the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign from people who were not with Hillary Clinton, aka “Her.”

“I prefer Donald Trump because he speaks his mind…. At least he’s honest.”

Yes, straight shooters can be pretty awesome. It’s one of the reasons why I can watch PBS’s 1996 documentary American Experience: T.R.: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt on a loop from AM to PM.

Although I don’t co-sign every blunt T.R. POV, he was clearly a pretty decent guy.

But who cares that you’re a straight shooter if you’re shooting straight-up bulls**t? John Wilkes Booth was one of history’s most straight-shooting characters (with and without a gun), and look how that turned out for Abraham Lincoln and, by extension, Reconstruction.

So was Adolph Hitler. So were the Serbian and, to a lesser extent, Croatian political leaders responsible for slaughtering tens of thousands of Bosniaks between 1992 and 1995.

The KKK shoots straight, too — right into the backs of black men. Ethnic cleansing, after all, comes from a place of both hatred and (literally) brutal honesty.

I’m not comparing Trump to any of the above, despite his KKK support and his apparent admiration for white supremacists. My point is that being honest doesn’t translate to good leadership by default. Let’s not conflate honesty with integrity. If history hasn’t taught us anything, current events should.

That brings us back to Honest Trump. What’s up with that anyway? He’s no Abraham Lincoln. Trump is as much a liar as any politician. Just because someone speaks their mind doesn’t make them honest. It’s so foolish to keep confusing the two.

Apparently, Trump has fooled Canadian superstar Shania Twain good. In a Guardian interview, the singer shared some alarming and, frankly, disappointing views on the 45th American President.

“I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest,” she said. “Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bulls**t. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

When did people like Shania start putting a higher premium on so-called honesty than on decency? Does the fact that Trump is racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, and a sexual predator cease to matter because he’s allegedly honest?

Shania must have realized the folly of her words, because she’s since tweeted her regrets.

“I would like to apologise to anybody I have offended in a recent interview with the Guardian relating to the American President. The question caught me off guard. As a Canadian, I regret answering this unexpected question without giving my response more context

“I am passionately against discrimination of any kind and hope it’s clear from the choices I have made, and the people I stand with, that I do not hold any common moral beliefs with the current President

“I was trying to explain, in response to a question about the election, that my limited understanding was that the President talked to a portion of America like an accessible person they could relate to, as he was NOT a politician

“My answer was awkward, but certainly should not be taken as representative of my values nor does it mean I endorse him. I make music to bring people together. My path will always be one of inclusivity, as my history shows.

Well, she’s right about one thing: Her answer certainly was awkward. But celebrities really need to stop saying regrettable things and then blaming lack of “context.” If she was speaking for Trumpians and not for Shania, putting herself in their shoes, so to speak, then why begin her comment with “I would have voted for him” and later say, “If I were voting”?

Clearly she was speaking for herself. It’s OK if she would have voted for Trump. I’m done looking down on people just because they voted for Trump. We’re all entitled to our vote, and I actually respect those who own theirs. I just want the ones who voted for Trump to stop saying they did so because he speaks his mind and he’s “honest.”

Now, I remain a fan of Shania, and I don’t believe she is racist, homophobic, or any of those other things that Trump has proven himself to be. I’m just disappointed that she may be as shallow as that perfect guy she was looking for in her hit “That Don’t Impress Me Much.”

Looks like I won’t be listening to her on a loop today from AM to PM.

Brother Son Husband Friend Loner Minimalist World Traveler. Author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” and “Storms in Africa” https://rb.gy/3mthoj

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