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I feel simultaneously comatose and an ever-changing variety of emotions. I remember feeling empty on Tuesday night when I watched Trump’s numbers rise. My 10 year-old daughter said she was worried. I told her it was still early. I was slightly comforted by the polls and his declining favorability, but, I admit, my resolve was eroding. I was worried about a Trump victory.
There are any number of factors that affected the election outcome: ignorance, not voting, the FBI, Comey, fake news stories, etc. Would as much of this happened had Hillary been a man? I bet not. Many men feel threatened by a strong woman. It’s very familiar seeing how hard Hillary worked and how overly qualified she is, yet an under-qualified, inexperienced man gets the job anyway. This is a familiar story to everyone not in the majority. Still Trump perpetuated the old rhetoric about women being weaker (saying Hillary “doesn’t have the stamina” to be president).
This country does not have the stamina for a Trump presidency. Here’s why:
Donald Trump fits the mold of a demagogue. Donald Trump’s hate speech was taken as a call to action by his supporters. There are people out there like Paul Ramsey (his interview on the Takeaway and his posted, unedited version) and they’re emblazoned by this hate speech. They are acting on such rhetoric, assaulting people who have caused them no harm or ill will. They view gay marriage, Muslims, and not being white, among other things, as personal affronts to their well-being.
What a Donald Trump presidency means for all of us is yet to be found out. What his campaign and election means for us is playing out before us right now. Day 1 in Trump’s America looks like this: women wearing hijabs are being openly assaulted on campus and in the market. Hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise. Racist and homophobic incidents are occurring around the country.
Day 2: someone in my own town was sexually assaulted in the parking lot of a grocery store. A man walked up to her, grabbed her crotch, and ran off yelling, “Courtesy of President Trump!” Asian Americans sharing their stories of harassment since Donald Trump’s victory. A student from Saudi Arabia is killed in Wisconsin. And there’s more. This is the result of the normalization of unconscionable behavior this campaign caused.
Controversy in politics and during the campaign season is nothing new. Mitt Romney in the 2012 election cycle mentioned putting his dog on the roof of his car during family trips.
That, my friends, drew more concern from the American people than the sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump. It is a shame that the American people value what happened nearly 30 years ago to a now deceased Irish Setter over the lives and experiences of women who are still today alive.
Then there’s the argument that Bill Clinton did the same things when he was in office. One issue there:
Bill Clinton is not running for President of the United States.
His wife is.
The repeated valuation of women exclusively by the actions of their husbands is oppressive.
Now let’s talk about God. I overheard a proud mom tell a story of her daughter Wednesday night while at my daughter’s activity. The mom said of her daughter: “She said, ‘Mommy, I’m glad Donald Trump won because he believes in God.'” The mom was overjoyed. It is the actions of the person that make them good. Just believing in God or claiming to believe in God does not make a person a good person.
Good people respect other people and do not boast about sexually assaulting anyone.
“When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.”
-President-Elect Donald Trump in 2005
The above quote is from Donald Trump in 2005. This video is not edited. When the video came out in October 2016, he admitted to saying these words. He dismissed them as “locker room banter” and redirected the attention away from his actions by bringing up Bill Clinton’s transgressions. That was a diversion. These words are the words of a man who feels through power he can get away with anything. It’s the diminishing of evidence like this that has allowed our country to fall into the hands of a con-artist.
He abuses his power. He is accused of sexually assaulting women, dismissing the allegations and further diminishing them by insulting the way they look. Women have always been diminished by the way they look. To Trump, women are just livestock. At least NBC felt differently, and fired Billy Bush from his position as a co-host on the Today Show for his role in the 2005 comments. Yet the person who started the 2005 conversation is our President-Elect.
People question why these accusers didn’t come forward earlier. How would that have gone? Traditionally our society values the beliefs, views, and assertions of men over women. Women have historically been accused of provoking the sexual assault or being emotional and not remembering correctly. The rationalization of this lewd behavior – it’s what men do to make people feel small and what chance do you have at winning a lawsuit against someone so powerful?
People suggested these women wanted attention by bringing forward the lawsuits. And what do the women win even if they do win the case? They win reliving their experiences repeatedly for everyone to witness. They win strangers scrutinizing their private lives. They win sexist remarks such as, “Did you lead him on?” or my favorite, “What were you wearing at the time of the assault?” Now, the harassment continues online with death threats and doxing. With sexual assault cases, it is a zero sum game where justice is hard fought, and rarely won.
Don’t let this presidency be a zero-sum game. Raise the expectations. Hold each other accountable. Be an ally.
“The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”
Donald Trump may be our next president, but do not let his behavior set the tone for our country. Reject hate and show love. Do not discount the experiences of the assaulted, harassed, and victimized. Stand as an ally to those who might be put at risk. Be the good that Trump and so many others desperately need to learn. Do not forget your privilege, as that is the consistent downfall of our country. Remember:
United we stand, divided we fall.