Is the 2016 Presidential Election birthing bad behavior?

Sid Miller's tweet shows shift in culture

AUSTIN, TEXAS - The 2016 presidential election has quite possibly brought out, or at least brought to light, the worst in people.

Republican Candidate Donald Trump made headlines when an interview from 2005 was leaked. During the recording, Trump makes offensive comments about women. 

"You can do anything," Trump said. "Grab them by the p****. You can do anything."

Just this week, a tweet from Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's account caused a firestorm. It referred to Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton as the c-word.

Wednesday morning, the Texas Democratic Women, held a news conference, criticizing Miller for the tweet.

"Sid, we don't use that word ever," said State Representative Celia Israel (D-Austin). "Stop it."

"Commissioner Miller, you are a state official. You have been given an honor not many people experience. When people refer to you Mr. Miller, they refer to you as 'the Honorable Sid Miller' or 'Commissioner Miller.' They do that because they are being polite and courteous. You get to be called honorable because you have been elected by the people. I strongly encourage you to live up to that title sir," Israel added. "The way in which you have been conducting yourself is less than honorable and I know you can do better."

Few Texans are as vocally pro-Donald Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton as Miller.

"If we let Hillary Clinton win this election, that's the end of America. We don't have a choice. We're gonna win this. We're gonna win it big for Trump," Miller said during a Trump rally in Austin. 

The tweet was deleted from his page within 15 minutes of being posted. 

"It had a derogatory term in it. A term I would never use or never use and don't condone, a term that a Texas gentlemen would never use. And it got out. When we found out about it we took it down," said Miller. 

The first reports from his camp were that his account was hacked, then that the post was a re-tweet. It was actually copied and pasted from a person he follows.

"I told my campaign staffers, why don't y'all prowl around and see if you can find some stuff and re-tweet it," he added.

Just five days ago, Miller tweeted a post criticizing Clinton for having staff review her tweets.

Now the Texas Democratic Women are calling on Republican leaders to denounce both Trump and Miller and are urging voters to do their part.

"We have given up all hope of Republican leadership in this state holding Donald Trump or any other of the Republican leaders accountable," said Gina Hinojosa, Candidate for the Texas House of Representatives. "Drop everything, run down to the Randall's, get in line to vote, pick up a chicken on your way home, you've dinner done and your civic responsibility taken care of. And send the only message in this election that matters. And that's that we have higher expectations, we will be respected and we vote."

Jennifer Glass, PhD teaches sociology at the University of Texas and holds the Barbra Bush Professorship of Liberal Arts. She said the tweet and behavior of some is indicative of something more.

"I was surprised that an elected official would use that kind of language but there's been a lot of role modeling in this election about how it's somehow allowable to use language that previously would have been verboten and seemingly there would be no political consequence to it," said Glass.

"I think it also reflects some of the extreme hostility that men in power still feel about the idea that there might be a woman who ascends to the top office in the United States and who then has the power to tell other older, predominately white men what to do," she added, 

Glass said that group doesn't want to lose power that has been guaranteed through gender roles and legislation to prevent women from voting.

"This is the first really serious candidate for the presidency of the United States and while a lot of people thought that would be fine in theory, I think in practice they don't like it," Glass explained. 

And as things change, and a female name appears on the presidential ballot, Glass believes name calling is a last ditch effort to hold on.

"It negates all of the other qualities that legitimize women's power in authority...it reduces you to a stereotype of a object that's there for the pleasure of somebody else," she said. 

As for how politicians and people will interact with people in the future, Glass said it's up to voters to decide what's acceptable.

"The slew of comments that have come out over the last year, everyone thought with the first slur against Mexican immigrants we thought, 'well that's going to kill this campaign' because in any other election year it would have. Everyone would have come out and said 'this is completely inappropriate behavior and we're withdrawing all support.' And that didn't happen. And so it gave other people permission to be even nastier. It gave followers on the street, it gave people on social media and in newspapers licenses to say things they wouldn't have normally said," said Glass.

"If America sends a resounding message that there is a political consequence and we don't like this behavior and we don't want to tolerate it and we don't think it reflects the best in us as Americans, then I think it will go back underground. But it's like Pandora's box, who knows what's gonna happen now." 

(© 2016 KVUE)


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