By The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and his presidency have defined down what is acceptable behavior for a national leader. His willingness to criticize entire ethnic groups, to be blatantly sexist, to mock family members of his opponents and to spread bogus, offensive conspiracy theories may not have slowed his rise to power, but that doesn’t make his behavior acceptable.
That’s why then-first lady Michelle Obama’s remarks to the Democratic convention last summer were so welcome. “When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level,” she said. “No, our motto is: When they go low, we go high.”
Nearly a year later, this admonition carries little weight with Trump’s fiercest opponents. They are joining the president in defining down what is acceptable in American public life.
Three weeks ago, outgoing California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton let delegates at a party convention in a raucous, gleeful chant of “F--- Donald Trump.” Two weeks ago, comedian Kathy Griffin used social media to show a photo of her holding a fake decapitated, bloody Trump head. (Griffin apologized, but still.)