I have lots of big vocabulary words. The biggest and the best. Terrific ones really. Ones I can’t even tell you about. None of that matters, though. It doesn’t matter even that I’m disgusted by just looking at Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter how I feel or what I think at all really. It doesn’t matter because, as it stands now, he stands no chance at being elected and I won’t have to live with the consequences of a Trump presidency.
Some things do matter, though. It matters that since his videotaped confession to sexual assault, at least half a dozen women have come forward with their own tales of abuse or assault at the hands of Trump. It matters that this man, this predator, still has the support of a largely white male population.
That’s the part I don’t understand. Perhaps because I’m not a woman, not a part of any recognized minority population, I don’t have the experience of being thought of as less than equal. I’ve never been catcalled walking down the street. I have never nervously slid my keys between my fingers as weapons walking alone at night to my car. I have never been groped in the subway, at a concert or on a plane. I have never been objectified as a tool for the pleasure of others.
First, he came for the Mexicans and immigrants and we did nothing. We grumbled and recoiled but we wrote him off as an aberration, as the living representation of racism in America. His support, however, grew.
Then, he came for the Muslims, and we continued to do nothing. We called him a bigot but swore he had no chance, that our fellow Americans couldn’t be that afraid or gullible. And his support grew.
Person after person stood up as a character witness, illustrating acts both criminal and legal, that painted Trump as a bully and narcissist. We believed people would finally see through it. But his support grew.
Then, a tape was released and though the timing was suspect, he admitted to sexual assault. He admitted making unwanted advances on a married woman. Suddenly, there was uproar. His support wavered. Cracks began to show in his armor of ignorance. Women recoiled at the accounts that began to filter through the media. Still, however, many of his supporters redoubled their efforts.
I’m ashamed to admit that most of those supporters are white men. People just like me. Many older than me perhaps, some even younger, but men that look just like me. The fine folks over at Five Thirty Eight ran a simulation of what might happen if just men voted. Trump won in a landslide.
Soon after, a movement on Twitter was born to repeal the 19th Amendment. My good friend Michael Kasdan already wrote his piece, and though it was well done and received, I felt like more needed to be said. I felt like there was more to the narrative.
Women in this country have had to fight for everything they’ve earned and they’ve had to continue fighting to keep it. Their voices are of the utmost importance in the struggle to give women equal footing to their male counterparts.
My voice is important too. Men like me need to stand strong. We need to confront misogyny wherever we see it. We need to shout down the men who would dehumanize our female equals be they family, friend or stranger. Most of all, we need to teach our sons and brothers that behavior like that will never be acceptable. We need to empower them to welcome women as their equals and not to feel threatened by strong women.
Finally, we need to withhold support for men like Trump. We cannot support a man who, by his own admission, assaults women and who has a long history of treating them like disposable playthings. That he is one of the two major party candidates for President is an indictment not only of his supporters but of our society in general.
How ironic, then, that his adversary is exactly the type of strong-willed, independent woman who will not bow down before his massive ego. That too is a reflection on our society and how far we have come. In under a decade, we have elected our first African-American president and will elect our first female president. The task now is to continue to marginalize and silence the minority who would wish to roll back a century of civil rights advances.
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