Okay – anyone who knows me even a little knows that this was coming. Perhaps it’s surprising it took me this long. But to be honest, I previously made a plea for voters to seek other options. And I asked the Trump supporters in my life to help me understand why they were supporting him. And some of you did, but the most compelling reason seemed to be that Hillary Clinton was somehow worse. One thing I learned over the years is that the anti-Clinton folks are intractable in their belief that Hillary is a homicidal demon bent on destroying the very fabric of society. Yeah, well, okay. Fine. I am well aware that those of you in that category are not going to yield in that regard. But to try to continue to convince yourselves that Donald Trump is somehow a better choice – when there are 3rd party options, just leaves me wondering whether you have every actually familiarized yourself with the man and his past. (Yes, I know past performance is no guarantee of future results, but come on guys).
Once again, before I go on, I need to disclose a few things about myself since they surely make me biased on this particular subject. First, I’m a functioning, rational, human being with a strong moral compass. To compound that, I’m female. A post-feminist, past middle age, boomer female. With two daughters. And, in spite of my widely varied, and unrelated, career choices and hobbies, I majored in psychology. And a few decades ago I volunteered as a crisis intervention counselor for rape victims. Which not only makes me biased, but actually somewhat qualified to offer up an opinion. Just in case my qualifications as a human being aren’t sufficient for any of you.
For anyone that has somehow NOT heard, The Washington Post obtained, and released, some incredibly damning audio on the Republican presidential candidate saying some truly offensive things about women and his behavior towards them. To add insult to injury, the recording dates to just a few months after his marriage to his current (3rd) wife 11 years ago (I expect the divorce proceeding to start after the campaign is over). This, coming on the heels of a campaign that continued his decades long tendency to objectify and make offensive comments about women (especially those that somehow offended him), and his nasty habit of insulting anyone that disagrees with him, should have been little surprise, really, to anyone that has paid attention. Unlike the myths and mysteries swirling around the Clintons, nearly everything about Trump has been well documented. The man is a veritable publicity machine. Narcissism comes to mind. He lives for the attention. And it somehow doesn’t bite him in the ass nearly as much as it should. But this revelation really cannot be ignored. And it is so damning that it should not be forgivable.
And, to their credit, many Republicans have been fairly quick to condemn his remarks. Oddly, not all of them are dropping their support of his candidacy, but I do understand that party politics has put them between the proverbial rock and hard place. Not surprisingly his most ardent supporters, like Sean Hannity, have been quick to point fingers are Bill Clinton and his abysmal past behavior toward women. Trump himself issued a non-apology (essentially “yeah, I’m a dick. Sorry if it offends you”), and has quite vehemently insisted that he will not be dropping out. Unless he does quit, the GOP is stuck with him. And they should be. They built the foundations on which that horrible excuse for human being built his campaign. They own it. They should deal with the fallout.
But first, about those Bill Clinton comparisons. Sorry, folks, they are, at this juncture, completely irrelevant. Bill Clinton is not currently running for office, his wife is. And if you family value folks would like to screech a bit about her keeping her family together in spite of his behavior, well I’ve had two different friends over the years with straying spouses tell me that they did not get married to get divorced. Ok, your choice. Probably would not have been mine, but I certainly cannot fault the choice to stay together and try to keep moving forward. So Hillary made her choices regarding her marriage for better or worse. And I have to question the motivation of men with multiple marriages, and marriage-ending affairs, who have the audacity to challenge the wife of a philanderer for staying.Why are they even still being listened to?
And then there’s Donald’s non-apology and the ‘just locker room talk’ defenders. Locker room talk? For 13 year old boys, maybe, but seriously? This was sexual assault talk, and I’d like to think that isn’t what most males, even adolescent ones, talk like when they are alone with other guys in the locker room. My opinion of men just isn’t that low. And that brings me around to the content of that recording. It exemplifies what people mean when they talk about ‘rape culture’ – and excusing it, justifying it, trivializes a serious issue. Rape is not about sex. Rape is a crime of violence. Power, not lust, is the driver. Trump, in that recording, laid that out with stark clarity. “When you’re a star, they let you do it”. Kissing, grabbing genitals, all okay because I’m me & therefore why would you object. It’s the ultimate in entitled bad boy behavior. But this was not a kid speaking, this was a 59 year old man. You can’t pretend it was a youthful indiscretion and that he’s changed. News flash, by 59 your character is pretty well developed you don’t ‘grow up’ much by 70. He was already on his third marriage when the recording was made. The man has told you who he is. Perhaps you should listen and not imagine that he will somehow become someone else if he gets elected.
So please – if you are still supporting Trump, understand that I can no longer even pretend to accept, respect or understand your choice. I’ve never let political or religious views interfere with friendships, and I hope that I can manage that this time around, but I honestly am finding it hard to respect anyone that is still supporting Trump. Vote for Johnson, take Kelly Ayotte’s approach and write in Pence, or bite the bullet and vote for Clinton, but please do not vote for Trump. And if you feel compelled to, please stop trying to pretend that that there’s anything morally right about your choice. There isn’t.