Ermagerd! He’s so creepy!
To my fellow travelers on the Trump Train, here’s how we should deal with this absurd claim that Trump was creeping on Hillary in that second debate.
Donald Trump is married to the beautiful, intelligent, exotic Melania Trump.
Yeah, Hillary Clinton’s got nothin’ he wants! Boom! I’m out!
Sexual assault is no joke.
(This blog post contains sexually explicit stories – no images. Reader discretion advised.)
I confess, when I first heard the story of Trump’s “hot mic” comments, my first instinct was to brush it off. As a man who worked in a UPS warehouse for 3 years, I’m very familiar with “guy talk”. Nothing was off limits – there was no filter.
“Hey, sorry I’m not keepin’ up! Yer wife wore me out last night!”
“Hey bitch!” “Who you callin’ bitch?” “I know you like it!”
“Hey, do you know what they call ‘rodeo fucking’?” “No. What’s that?” “It’s when you’re about to get with a girl, you reach around and grab her tit with one hand, put the other around the waist, and then whisper in her ear ‘yer the ungliest bitch I ever seen’, then you try to hold on for 8 seconds.”
And God have mercy on our souls for the things we said when a box of pornographic magazines busted open.
I saw the light
But this morning, our priest gave a sermon in part dealing with this topic. I was worried at first that she was about to get political. She and I have different political views, and I’m fine with that. As long as she is a priest, and not a political activist at the pulpit, she’s entitled to her political views and I think no less of her as a priest.
Fortunately, the sermon was only slightly political, and focused instead of the real victims of sexual assault. She spoke of how this recent news has opened up old wounds to men and women who have been groped, or worse. I quickly let my guard down and let her words in, and I’m glad I did. (This is why us sinners need church. He came not to call the righteous.)
I have a few close female friends in my life, and between them and family, I’ve heard stories of sexual assault, ranging from some jerk in a bar grabbing her in the wrong place repeatedly, to full scale rape. When I hear numbers like 1 in 5 women have been victims of sexual assault, I am at first skeptical. But when I think of the women with whom I’ve been close enough that they’d confide in me, I find that number more believable. Just in my life, it seems half the women I’ve known well have a story like this.
The problem with guy talk
Like my 23 year old self sweating my way through UPS to pay for college, Donald Trump was likely engaged in “guy talk”. But whether he meant to or not, his words, like the words of so many of us, contribute to rape culture. Sure, I’d never do that to anyone. But other people, hearing words like that from people like me, might take it a step further.
It desensitizes us. When comedians joke about prison rape – “Don’t drop the soap” – it desensitizes us to the roughly 20% of prison inmates who are raped. When Trump jokes about grabbing women (you know where), it desensitizes us.
I’m glad that Trump apologized for this. Tonight, as he debates Hillary Clinton, it’s inevitable that this will come up. Given Clinton’s sorted past, she hardly has the moral high ground. I’m not merely talking about her husband’s actions, but also her defense of her husband’s actions. I won’t blame Trump one bit if he counter punches her inevitable attack. I hope, however, that he will show humility and penitence for his comments 11 years ago.
How Trump should handle this issue tonight
I hope Trump will express genuine compassion for the victims of sexual assault. If I were advising Trump, I’d recommend that early in, he makes it clear that he is humbled by this experience, and it has forced him to do some deep soul searching. I’d advise that he then make addressing sexual assault part of his platform. He’s the “law and order” guy, right? He should therefore propose increasing efforts to bring rapists and other sexual criminals to justice.
Furthermore (and I hope Ivanka Trump is advising her father of this as I write this), we need to focus on education in order to prevent this from happening in the first place. I have before scoffed at third wave feminists when they say things like “teach men not to rape”. I still don’t think that alone is a solution, but I do think it is part of the solution. Don’t take those words too literally. Of course, in principle, we know rape is wrong. But yet we are desensitized to rape and other forms of sexual assault.
Trump should even reach out to Hillary Clinton. He ended last debate by saying that if she wins, “I’d absolutely support her”. He should now say that, win or lose, he will work with her, Joe Biden, and anyone else to end the rape culture and bring rapists to justice. He should then ask if Hillary Clinton would be willing to do the same. I don’t know if Trump will think to do this. He may just fall into his old ways and go on the attack. But I can always hope.
Does self-defense work? My story
Lastly, I’d like to share a story of my own. When I was 12 years old, I was a trouble maker. I was skipping school one day, and hung out with two other boys. One was about my age, the other was probably 15. The boys were joking about raping some girl. I didn’t take them seriously. But then they started joking about how they should rape me. I still thought they were joking. Then one of them grabbed me. From behind, he wrapped his arms around me. I struggled, and managed to gain enough wiggle room that I elbowed him in the stomach as hard as I could, and I took off running.
I’m glad I was able to defend myself. I don’t feel like a victim, I am not traumatized. I felt, and feel, empowered! I’d encourage women everywhere to take self-defense courses. Again, this is not the only solution! This is only part of the solution. I know that it won’t always work. But often it will. And I’d rather more rapists get elbowed in the stomach, than more people getting raped just because third wave feminists think that the only solution is to “teach men not to rape”. I don’t think those two boys who attacked me could have been “taught” otherwise. Maybe I’m wrong. But there are thousands of them out there, and some are even women by the way.
We need to put all solutions on the table and address every form of rape and sexual assault, including but not limited to someone breaking in and raping someone, groping in crowds or parties, frat boys taking advantage of the unconscious girl who had too much to drink, prison rape, child molestation, all of it! Whoever becomes president, I hope they will show more integrity than the Washington Post, who sees this as nothing more than a political opportunity, and instead takes sexual assault seriously.
Who is really giving a megaphone to “Deplorables”?
Throughout the last several decades, white supremacist groups have been in their rightful place – the margins of society and the butt of several jokes. The most attention that the KKK could hope for was a slot on the Jerry Springer show, somewhere between the lesbian cousin lovers and the “kung fu hillbilly”. In the late 1910s to early 1920s, however, the Klan enjoyed a brief period of being part of the American mainstream. The Klan of today sometimes tries to make itself palatable to the American mainstream, and desperately seeks attention, but they can’t achieve this if nobody even bothers to notice them.
According to Hillary Clinton, “there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, steeped in racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.”
Frequently we hear stories of some Klansman, or former Klansman, who decided to support Donald Trump. White supremacists in this country are very anti-immigration, and Trump’s desire to build a wall and deport 11 million illegals certainly appeals to them. But one need not be a white supremacist to support enforcing immigration laws. And these white supremacists would likely disagree with Trump’s support for LEGAL immigration.
Of course, Trump has also received kind words from the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan, an avid anti-Semite, likes that Trump “is the only member who has stood in front of the Jewish community and said ‘I don’t want your money.”
There’s plenty of reasons that radicals, and “deplorables” might support Clinton or Trump, but acknowledging these groups only gives them a megaphone. No such megaphone has been given by the Trump campaign to the USA Communist Party, which has endorsed Hillary Clinton, nor should there be.
Who is really granting them a megaphone?
Remember David Duke? Most Americans, especially young Americans, probably didn’t even know the name until it came out that Duke was endorsing Trump. Those who did know the name were probably more than happy to let him fall into anachronistic obscurity right along with the KKK of which he was once a member. But David Duke cleverly breathed new life into his infamy by giving the mainstream media the opportunity to tarnish Trump’s campaign by drawing attention to David Duke’s half-hearted endorsement. Trump made the mistake of individually disavowing him, thereby giving him the attention he sought. Fortunately, Trump has been careful not to repeat that mistake.
In truth, Clinton and her supporters do more to help groups like the KKK, or the less extreme white nationalist “alt-right” movement by constantly denouncing them and Trump for having their tacit support. There are plenty of Klansman nobodies, trying to become somebody by saying, “Hey, I’m wearing a white sheet with a swastika on my arm and I’m voting for Trump”. Every now and then, someone from the Klan will get clever and endorse Clinton instead. Oooopsss! Didn’t see that one coming!
If Trump goes through each of his deplorable endorsements, calling them out by name and disavowing them individually, all he will accomplish is recognizing that these people are even worth noticing. Trump has collectively disavowed all white supremacists, and that’s all he should do. Anything more just gives them the attention they crave, which it seems Hillary Clinton and her supporters are happy to do.
Just when the primaries were over, just when it came time to start commenting on the lesser evil race between the mad Trump and the wicked Clinton, I disappeared! Or did I?
Actually, I’ve started posting for a new, mostly political site called “The Pavlovic Today“. An old colleague of mine from LSE started it up, and I’ve been contributing mostly to the “Afterimage Review” section. You can see mine, and many other great articles there.
As this is new, it is still defining itself. At the moment, the owner of the website, Miss Pavlovic herself, seems to be trying to decide whether she wants this to be a hub of op eds from different points of view, or a more objective media analysis site. While she’s figuring that out, I plan to keep contributing and see no reason to stop, but it will affect the content that I publish on Pavlovic. Which brings me back here.
After some discussion with her, I made it clear that it is her site, and if some of my articles are too controversial, or just not what she is looking for, I’d rather her just turn them down than try to make them work by altering them. I have my own blog, right here, so I can publish all my hard hitting, controversial op eds I like. So, if you’ve missed, me, I’m back! I’ll have a piece out in the next few days on Trump and the “deplorables”, and how I think the Clinton campaign is actually playing into the hands of these “deplorables” by attacking Trump with them.
I hope you’ll also follow The Pavlovic Today, and articles do have a comment section. If you check out the site and like to offer some advice for the overall direction, I’d recommend using the comment section here.
I’m used to boomer generation “conservatives” equating socialism with communist dictatorships. The boomers lived most of their lives during the Cold War era in constant fear of the communist menace. I expect better from my fellow millennials, however, particularly the well-educated.
Marion Smith, Executive Director of “Victims of Communism” , has written an ignorant piece of red bait for Politico called “How did America forget what socialism means?” If I were to write something with that title, I’d argue that decades of fear during the Cold War era, combined with manipulation by right-winged pundits had caused the boomer generation to forget what socialism means and instead equate it with the Soviet Union, as though Soviet style communism was the inevitable result of any attempt at a socialist economy. As I’ve explained in one of my educational podcasts , Socialism actually can refer to a wide variety of economic systems so long as the means of production are publicly owned and the public decides the distribution of wealth. Socialism can be anything from total communism to a community of farmers who have decided to collectively organize and share the fruits of their labor.
Mr. Smith’s article shows a picture of Bernie Sanders on the front, and then goes on to discuss the horrors of dictatorial communism, including that of the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba in particular. His organization, “Victims of Communism”, does an excellent job of documenting the horrors that continue in Cuba. At no point in this article, however, does Smith explain how this is in any way caused by socialism more broadly, or that it has anything to do with Bernie Sanders. It pretty much amounts to, Cuba is socialist. They do horrible things to people. Bernie Sanders is also socialist. Therefore…
It reminds me of Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016 Obama’s America” where D’Souza spends an hour or so cherry picking details like how Obama Sr. was a Kenyan revolutionary. Many of those Kenyan revolutionaries were communists. Obama Jr. loves his father and cried over his grave. Obama must be a communist!
The kind of socialism advocated by Bernie Sanders is not Soviet style, nor Cuban. He advocates the kind of Democratic Socialism professed by nations in northern Europe like Denmark. If you want to criticize Bernie Sanders by criticizing Denmark’s economy, or the economies of other such systems in northern Europe, that’s fair game. But Sanders advocates nothing close to the kinds of dictatorships seen in these countries that identify as “communist”, such as China, Cuba, etc. Besides, China’s system would be more accurately described as “authoritarian capitalism” . 75% of China’s economy is privately owned. The corporations exploit workers and make enormous profits, while being backed by the authoritarian “Chinese Communist Party”.
Smith is so disappointed that most of our millennial generation has “forgotten” the meaning of socialism. By this, he means that we don’t have the same knee-jerk reaction to the word “socialism” as the half of the boomer generation with 24/7 Faux News echoing through their homes. But these millennials haven’t “forgotten” what socialism means. The boomers forgot. The millennials are remembering. The boomers on the right are still fighting the Cold War. Someone really should inform them that the Berlin Wall came down.
I’m forgiving of the old. They are set in their ways, and their worldview has been shaped by experiences that I’ve only read about in textbooks. But for Mr. Smith, there’s no excuse.
Have you noticed that Kasich has said little to nothing about Trump? Unlike every other establishment candidate, Kasich doesn’t seem that worried about him.
I was watching CNN, thinking about the electoral map, and a light bulb appeared above my head! In a Trump vs. Clinton race, Trump will need to focus heavily on the Midwest, AKA “the rust belt”. These are swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and of course, Kasich’s Ohio. These are states with a history of manufacturing, and a strongly blue collar mostly Caucasian group of voters. Who better to help Trump win these states than Kasich?
In a Trump v. Clinton matchup, we know Trump will sweep the south simply because he is the Republican, with the exception of Florida, and maybe VA and NC. We know Trump will win those very red and sparsely populated western, non-coastal states like Arizona and Montana. We know Clinton will dominate New England, except for New Hampshire, and we know she’ll win the West Coast. Florida and the Midwest will therefore determine the next President, as they so often do.
So back to Kasich. The media has noticed that he’s been very hesitant to criticize Trump. While Trump is almost certain to win more delegates to the RNC than any other, he may not win a majority. That would mean a “brokered convention”. Trump’s delegates will have to cut a deal, or maybe second place Ted Cruz might work something out sooner. Trump is almost certainly not teaming up with Cruz or Rubio at this point. But as things have been relatively civil (considering it’s Trump) with Kasich, Kasich only needs to win enough delegates to be able to give Trump the majority. Also, Kasich could help Trump at least in Ohio, if not the entire “rust belt”. Not only that, but Kasich is politically experienced, and in the establishment of the GOP.
Therefore, I’m predicting that one way or the other, if Trump is the nominee, he picks Kasich as his running mate. Kasich could help satiate the establishment. And more importantly, would be valuable to Trump in a race against Clinton. About the only swing state where he’d be of little help is Florida, but then, Rubio and Jeb Bush are clearly out of the question. Trump may fight extra hard in Florida, or write it off and focus on the Midwest. But Trump already has his trade policy that will be well received in states that have suffered from decades of outsourcing. Those states are always close, especially Ohio, so Trump needs any edge he can get.
Maybe I’ll be right, maybe I’ll be wrong. We’ll see. I just wanted to put this out there and see if I get some bragging rights after the RNC.