Sunday, October 16, 2016

Donald Trump Is a Sexual Predator, and 40% of Voters Support Him. Boy, Do We Have Work to Do.

It's quite likely Donald Trump will lose. The fact that he got close says volumes about the rot in American culture.

Trump sexual assault victim Summer Zervos.

One of the aspects of Muslim culture in the Middle East that has horrified me is its antiquated and despicable treatment of women. More's the pity that the West, including the U.S., has its own failings in this regard.

I remember around 1970 seeing a book called Our Bodies, Ourselves. It was a seminal book in the feminist movement and the product of the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, and its purpose was for women to begin to influence the medical profession in order to improve the type of care women receive. It was time women began to own their bodies, a concept that today seems archaic. It was far from archaic, even in 1970.

Having grown up in the 50s and 60s, it was clear to me what place women were expected to take in American society. The cultural upheaval of the 60s inspired a different reality. Over the past nearly 5 decades, women have made a lot of progress, though the work is hardly finished.

I understood that Our Bodies, Ourselves announced that women should own their bodies, own their destinies. Having been a willing participant in the 60s counterculture, I was ready to embrace this vital cultural evolution, even as this "novel concept" of women's liberation was considerably intimidating. As a man, I was at least a little bit rattled.

Life with women was never going to be the same, that much I got.

Somewhere else a different world existed. Donald Trump lived in that world. It's apparent now that Trump spent his decades as an unrepentant sexual predator. There have been enough victims with similar stories coming forward that, as in the Bill Cosby case, we're reaching a critical mass. Donald Trump did this, and it will soon be beyond deniability.

As Dahlia Lithwick makes clear in her Slate article about Anita Hill's "moment," Trump is far less likely to skate past charges against him the way Clarence Thomas was able to. Another article in Slate is a moving tribute to Hillary Clinton while simultaneously an examination of college rape. Please read it. Key graph:
Here is what I’ve learned from watching Hillary since 1992: She refuses to be defined by what has happened to her, or by what other people have done. Again and again, she changes the subject back to what she wants to do, to what she can do, to the work at hand. She insists that what she does is who she is. And that gives her power no one has been able to take away, no matter how hard they’ve tried.
I hope all voters consider that, far from being an issue in the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump's sexual predation deserves to be a complete deal breaker. Not only should Donald Trump be shunned as a despicable violator of women's rights and women's dignity, America should use this moment to reexamine where we are in our quest to advance women's rights.

The fact that women's support for Donald Trump dropped significantly after his infamous Access Hollywood tape came out, while support among men and evangelicals barely budged if not increased, shows how far we've come and how far we still have to go. In our current hyperpartisan world, a stubborn 40% of voters refuse to abandon Trump.

Discussions on our college campuses and across the nation have been ongoing as Americans examine our rape culture. Who knew one of our presidential candidates would further that debate in such a vile and unexpected way?

First, vote against Donald Trump. Next, get ready to advance the cause of women's rights, women's dignity, and women's freedom from mistreatment in a 21st century world. It's truly the next battleground as we struggle to build a better world.

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