Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that footage of Donald Trump and Billy Bush discussing women in demeaning ways that glorified assault was released today.
In response, Trump released this statement: “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
From my point of view? Trump’s non-apology for his repetitive deplorable behavior toward women carries no weight with me. Let’s not forget or ignore that Billy Bush is just as guilty and blood kin to the Bush dynasty. In other words, he should have known better about microphones and cameras being all around them. Saying he was young carries no weight with me either because both of these men were grown adults with fully formed concepts of morality, right, and wrong. Bigger than that, these men should have known better about how to behave toward fellow human beings.
Our truest souls are unveiled when we think nobody is watching.
The bottom line here, setting the entire political landscape aside, Donald Trump has a long history of treating women and minorities like trash. You can defend him until you’re blue in the face but the fact is you are nothing to this creature unless you’re a rich, white, male.
Today, I expressed my anger over Trump’s and Bush’s behavior (more angry at Trump because this is a repetitive pattern with him). A few of the many comments I got in return:
- “Hillary is a lesbian.”
- “Why not discuss Bill’s oral sex?”
- “So what? The problem is people in America get ass hurt over words. What we need is a good ole fashion ass whoopens [sic] then your ass will have a reason to hurt!”
- “So what, godamn prudes … bunch of puritan’s, how pathetic…” [sic]
- “You’re the only one that seems to give a shit.”
- “We live in a very corrupt culture right now ~~ unfortunately, this attitude is more common than maybe we would like to believe. It’s a sad commentary on our culture, but this is what happens when you take Christianity out of it ~~ it degenerates and becomes foul. Immorality of all kinds is killing this country, and killing people, literally, in abortions, STDs, and destroyed marriages and families. We are really desperately in of a revival ~!” [sic]
- And a rather lengthy, convoluted post about the evils of Planned Parenthood that literally had nothing to do with what Trump did.
Yes, I can provide screen shots if anyone doesn’t believe the feedback I’ve gotten from Trump supporters.
Okay. Let’s talk.
Let’s say a guy gets away with sexual assault for a long time and then he gets arrested. No judge or jury would ever render a not guilty verdict with the defense of, “Well, my friend assaulted women too and worse than I did!” Saying, “That other guy did it too,” doesn’t make a person innocent. That’s not a defense. That’s gaslighting and misdirection. Guilt still exists. If you’re unclear, here’s the definition of gaslighting: “gas·light – /??asl?t/ – verb – gerund or present participle: gaslighting. To manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.” Every time a person avoids a direct issue by pointing out the same or a similar issue in other people without expressing personal accountability, it’s gaslighting. Politics is rife with that kind of thing but I’ve never seen it so thoroughly mastered in my lifetime (I’m 34) as the level of Trump’s mastery. His supporters have developed the same mastery by some sort of bizarre osmosis and none of them who I encountered today denounced his behavior directly; instead, they pointed out all of the wrongs in the Clinton camp.
Of course, I’m no big fan of the Clintons either. Do not mistake me. The bitter taste of Trump rhetoric in my mouth certainly does not equate my support of the Clinton camp, which seems to be the general assumption. Hillary will get my vote only because the thought of a Trump administration terrifies me more. People need to stop assuming my disgust with Trump amounts to liking the Clintons. Today I’m literally discussing this Trump incident. I’d like to see people try to hold him accountable for his actions without attacking other people to try and make him look better. I distrust the Clintons. I loathe Trump. One is not related to the other.
But I’m getting off topic.
One particular quote from the Trump video reveals him saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” Go watch it. He really said that, which is the same as (yes, it is) laughing and high-fiveing over a sexual assault scenario. Those who said I was a prude today are the same type of men who say, “She had it coming,” if a woman in a short skirt gets assaulted. I’ve had very personal experiences with these kinds of men.
Let me tell you a story.
In 11th grade, I was being followed by a boy in a crowded hallway who was tugging on my hair and generally trying to get a reaction, which I never gave him. This was a very tall boy and he was on one of the sports teams. Being ignored didn’t sit well with him. I heard snickering behind me as I made my way through the crowd and then a giant hand reached around from behind and grabbed my breast. The thing is I didn’t really know this boy – we were in very different social circles – but he thought he was entitled to me because he was much bigger, looking for attention, and people were watching like it was entertainment. Well, my daddy was in Vietnam and my granddaddy was in World War II. I reacted without blinking as I was taught by my family. I slammed the boy up against the lockers with my wheelchair (in those days, my power wheelchair was 300 pounds, so I outweighed him by a lot even if he was over six feet).
Stunned, he wriggled in my grip and sputtered, “Why are you being such a prude?”
Think about that.
Why are you being such a prude?
Well, I looked straight up into his eyes without flinching and I said one word: “Apologize.” The boy laughed me off and the crowd got bigger. I was across from my art teacher’s classroom, so I was hoping my teacher or my friend Carl would see me and come to help. Neither appeared and none of the kids in the noisy hallway were willing to help me, which was messed up in itself. So when the boy laughed off my demand for an apology, I pressed into him harder with the metal edging on my 300-pound wheelchair. That boy yelped in pain and wriggled like an animal caught in a trap. I could have broken his leg if I chose but I held onto my anger, letting the flame simmer without boiling my rage beyond control. Self-defense isn’t about inflicting undue pain but maintaining control over a situation so you can get out of danger.
“Apologize,” I said again.
“Okay, okay! I’m sorry!” he yelped louder.
I remained steady. “For?”
“For copping a feel!”
Good enough. I let him go and I hurried in the opposite direction even though my next class was the other way. I thought about telling my friend Carl about it next time we were in art class together, which was the next day, but I decided not to say anything. We weren’t close enough, in my opinion at the time, for me to accurately predict whether he would believe me or his teammate. They were on the same sports teams, you see, and rural Georgia was very much a boys’ club. Knowing Carl’s character now, I could have told him and he might have looked out for me a little more, but I kept everything to myself throughout the rest of high school.
And for the rest of high school, I purposefully made myself ugly, small, and quiet. I never dated. I never went to parties. It was all on purpose because I thought it was my fault. And that’s what’s wrong with minorities in this country. We are the ones blamed when we are victimized or oppressed.
Why are you being such a prude?
Let this be a warning, Mr. Trump. One day, you’re going to harass the wrong woman and you’ll be the one pinned against the wall yelping in pain and begging for reprieve.