A former colleague of mine grew up in Chicago. She would sometimes tell me stories about what it was like living in the city decades ago. I remember being horrified by one story in particular- a story about walking to and from school. Apparently, she needed to avoid shortcuts through alleyways because of the men who hung around on her route; they liked to prey on girls. But even if she stuck to broad daylight, these men would still grab breasts, bottoms, and anything else they could get their hands on for a quick attack and run. One thing that still makes me inwardly cringe when I think about it, is that these disgusting men would walk up to girls, including her, and grabbed their crotches. I couldn’t fathom the sick, twisted audacity that would compel men to rob girls and young women of their sense of power, safety, and dignity. I was appalled that no one would do anything to protect those girls, including the police.
Never did I think I would hear about something like this again, especially in the context of a presidential campaign. Unless you’ve lost power from Hurricane Matthew or are over at Fox News with your fingers in your ears, yelling, “LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA,” you’ve heard or read the transcript from the vile Access Hollywood video in which Donald Trump and Billy Bush engage in
locker room banter misogynistic conversation about Trump’s methods for committing sexual assault against whomever he pleases. Before yesterday, Trump was able to get away with his misogynistic, (and racist and xenophobic and bigoted) behavior and speech because it was only alleged, as in the case with statements made by former cast and crew members from The Apprentice, or it wasn’t bad enough for major Republicans to throw up their hands and say, “I’m out!” (“But he’s not a polished politician and speaks from the heart!” BLORCH!) But now it’s on tape. It’s undeniably Trump. And it’s an admission of repeated sexual assault.
He’s ne’er gonna be President now!
In any other year, in any other not bizarre reality, Donald Trump would never have been the nominee, let alone be in a tight Presidential race. A good portion of his supporters are angry, die-hard Republicans who probably feel like they have nothing to lose; everything else seems to have failed them. Then there’s the portion who are like the drunk guy at a party screaming, Wooooooo! Most of the politicians who have gotten behind him feel they have no choice if they want to get reelected or keep Republicans in power. But Trump’s declaration of grabbing pussy has been enough to make the needle on the record scratch, and make them all sit up and pay attention. GOP bigwigs met in DC last night to discuss what to do moving forward, (even though it’s too late to replace Trump on the ballot.) Various party leaders, down-ballot candidates, and others began putting out statements ranging from the kind of condemnation you’d hear from a principal in a John Hughes movie, (Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus) to a refusal to endorse Trump any longer, (Jason Chaffetz, Barbara Comstock) to outright silence, (running mate, Mike Pence, dismissed his press pool when the news broke and later fled from reporters in silence.) I have to say, the Republican collective clutching of pearls, followed by polite outrage, is a little hysterical to me. “Oh my stars, (and bars!) I can’t believe Donald Trump would say something so vulgar!” Really? This entire campaign he’s shown you who he is. But there are none so blind as those who will not see.
I’d rather be divisive, than indecisive.
Trump’s comments were repugnant and felt so violating that I felt nauseous as I fast-forwarded over the video whenever it was replayed on the news. Yet, it’s the responses from many of Trump’s fellow Republicans which make me feel truly objectified and stripped of my power and dignity. Anything short of a condemnation of Trump’s words AND actions, and a repudiation of Donald Trump and his candidacy, is feckless and meaningless. It demonstrates to women in this country that elections are more important than their dignity. It is reinforcement of rape culture at the highest level.
It is also not enough to say that Trump’s words were vile and that women should never be spoken about this way. Trump didn’t just say that he thought about sexually assaulting women. He claimed to have sexually assaulted women, simply because he could. Because of CNN’s Erin Burnett, we also know that Trump wasn’t just talking a big game. (Related, Scottie Nell Hughes can go jump up her own ass. Also related, Ana Navarro is kickass!) How, in the name of Zorp, can we have a president who openly admits to sexually assaulting women? It doesn’t matter if it was 10 years ago, an excuse some supporters have used to brush off how serious this is. It is not as though the “mistakes” he made have a shelf life and no longer affect the lives of the women he assaulted after 5, 10, 15 years have passed. To elect a President Trump will revictimize these women, reinforcing their lack of power against such a predator.
They don’t need to know me; they don’t like you.
The call by some, e.g. Rep. Comstock, for Mike Pence to replace Donald Trump at the top of ticket infuriates me! How the fuck does that even make sense? Set aside the fact that the man is xenophobic, unethical, (“In a unanimous opinion, the appeals court said Gov. Pence acted illegally in accepting federal money for refugee resettlement and then refusing to use that money to aid Syrian refugees.”) homophobic, (and this….this list is not exhaustive) anti women’s rights, and the governor of a state where he might not have been reelected, as Hoosiers weren’t thrilled with him, overall. You still have a man, who claims to be a Christian, and is so thirsty to be President that he hitched himself to Donald Trump’s wagon. Clearly he has poor judgment and an ambition which outweighs his personal relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You have a man who lied his way through the Vice Presidential debate. Also a man of faith, Tim Kaine’s aggravated crazy eyes led me to believe he was going to call upon God to smite Pence for breaking the 9th Commandment. You have a man who has repeatedly refused to answer how he can square his faith with the words and actions of Donald Trump. You have a man who seems like a measured, reasonable politician in interviews and on the debate stage, but who hid from reporters, rather than denounce Donald Trump for assaulting women. You have a man who, after taking time to collect himself and get the campaign messaging on point, still refuses to flee from sin. From the article, referring to Trump’s debate tomorrow night, “…he looks ‘forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night.'” Are you fucking kidding me? He has shown us what’s in his heart, repeatedly! And no, Trump didn’t apologize. He said he’s sorry he’s done dumb stuff, sorry if anyone was offended, but the Clintons started it! You know, at the Vice Presidential debate, Mike Pence used the line that so many pro-lifers use: We judge a society by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. Perhaps he should reflect on that and apply it in his own life, rather than tacitly condoning the actions of a monster.
You want a revolution? I want a revelation!
You know, my colleague and friend didn’t just suffer through her assaults and humiliation until she moved away. No, she learned to fight back. Finally, she had had enough, as one would-be pervert discovered one day. This soft-spoken grandmother narrowed her eyes as she recounted how she squeezed his balls and commanded, “Don’t you ever touch me again!”
In November, we women need to grab our country by the balls and say NO! We cannot allow a predator to claim the Oval Office, nor can we ignore the behavior and words of the politicians who have continued to stand by this predator. We reaffirm our power with each vote we cast! Together we will say, “Fuck you, Donald Trump! You cannot do whatever you want!”