Thursday, October 13, 2016

Donald Trump: Are Women People?

The bizarre insanity that many of us always suspected linger just below the surface on Donald Trump's narcissistic personality is now on full display.  Trump has threatened to sue an unbowed New York Times, ranted that the release of the 2005 Entertainment Tonight" tape was a conspiracy hatched by Hillary Clinton and the news media, and even has claimed that one of the additional women who has accused him of sexual harassment must be lying since she is not attractive enough to meet his standards, saying "Take a look. You take a look. Look at her.” In his desperation to change the subject, he even said that "Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty." The man is in need of a serious mental health intervention.  Amazingly, as Politico notes, he sees himself as the biggest victim of all:
Entering the last month of a campaign that has always wielded the politics of grievance and victimization to devastating effect, the billionaire reality television star-turned-GOP nominee, facing a barrage of bad press and dimming electoral odds, currently sees himself as the biggest victim of all.
Trump has spent months attacking and delegitimizing the cornerstone institutions of American democracy: the voting process, the media, the political "establishment," even pollsters. But this is different.
While dismissing the women’s stories, Trump unabashedly focused on his own victimhood, emphasizing his personal and financial sacrifice, and informing his supporters that the attacks on him extend to them, too.
Trump’s angry assault on his attackers played out as a rejoinder to first lady Michelle Obama, who delivered a speech in New Hampshire that was simultaneously devastating and inspirational — and was, like Trump’s rally that followed, carried live on cable TV. Clinton’s most powerful campaign surrogate excoriated Trump over the myriad accusations of sexual assault and the videotape that shows him bragging about his ability to get away with that very behavior.
“I can’t believe I’m saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women,” she said. “Because let’s be very clear, strong men, strong men, men who are truly role models, don't need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.”

As the First Lady correctly noted, in Donald Trump's world - and sadly among many of his low education white male voters - women aren't real people.  They are accessories for men and, if one believes in the Christofascists' claptrap, must be subordinate to their husbands.  A piece in Salon looks at the right's effort to dehumanize women and keep them them inferior.  Here are excerpts:
With the benefit of hours-old hindsight, it now seems inevitable that, with less than a month to go before the United States likely elects its first female president, the top trending topic on Twitter would be #repealthe19th. The hashtag was started by angry supporters of Republican candidate Donald Trump in response to a FiveThirtyEight analysis by Nate Silver showing that Trump would win in a landslide if women didn’t have the right to vote. That led to this demand, facetious or otherwise, that the United States end women’s suffrage.
For good reason, Trump’s rise has largely been attributed to the forces of white nationalism engaged in a backlash against the first black president and growing racial diversity. But the past couple of weeks have demonstrated that this election is also a referendum on the question: Are women people?
Shortly after Trump said this, the “grab them by the pussy” “Access Hollywood” video was released. In it, Trump confessed — bragged, really — to its NBC host Billy Bush about sexually assaulting women and getting away with it.
Unlike the confessions of the Central Park Five, Trump’s confession was not coerced. On the contrary, he comes across as a man who is dying to talk about how he can do whatever he wants to women.
Since then, there’s been an explosion of women coming forward with stories of being on the receiving end of exactly the behavior Trump was describing.
 And yet, Trump and his allies are dismissing his remarks as “locker-room talk” and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough is wanking on that he’s “skeptical about the timing of all of this.”
But it also goes back to Trump and his supporters treating women not as people but as objects to be owned and controlled by men.
If you look at women that way, the attitudes of Trump and his supporters make sense. Trump gets to grab all the pussy he wants because women’s bodies are objects put on this planet for his personal use.
Even the Republicans who are disavowing Trump do so in language that reinforces this notion that women are objects that men own, instead of people in their own right. Most Republican men who released statements condemning Trump invoked their wives and daughters, framing sexual violence as a property crime against male-controlled female bodies, rather than a crime against people with rights.
The thread that holds all this together is a disavowal of women’s right to autonomy and an assertion that our bodies and the decision-making power over them should belong to men. There’s an elaborate distribution scheme to handle which men get to control which female bodies: Virgins belong to their fathers, wives to their husbands, some women get categorized as “sluts” and can be manhandled at will. 
On Thursday, there were competing speeches on the subject of sexual harassment and assault. From Trump, of course, we got this incoherent rant where he denied all of it, and capped it all off by apparently claiming that one of his accusers is too ugly to grope, as MSNBC’s Katy Tur pointed out in a tweet.
In the last month of this election cycle, these contrasting speeches demonstrate how much this campaign has become about the question of whether women are people. In Trump’s view, the answer seems to be no. Instead, he paints women as objects who can be safely dismissed by saying they’re not hot enough to be bothered with.
First lady Michelle Obama, in contrast, speaks directly to women who are sick of this shit. Women are more than a bunch of boobs and butts to be rated on a scale and discarded if we don’t meet the standards of some jackass.
Women are people and, as Trump supporters have learned to their consternation, we have the right to vote. It’s a right, I suspect, will be exercised vigorously come November.
 I hope the author proves correct and that women get out in force and vote to send Trump - and his fellow Republicans - to a humiliating defeat on November 8th.  The man is disgusting and needs to be defeated by a landslide. 

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