A nauseating glut of corporate news channels continue raking over the statistics, analyses and punditry on Election Hades 2016. But they ignore the most significant thing about this “reality TV” nightmare:
For the first time in United States history, a woman won the popular vote for president. You will not hear Wolf Blitzer or anyone else, for that matter, ruminating on that fact. Yet it was not so long ago that the streetwise in the USA claimed a woman would never win the presidency.
Let us be clear. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote for the presidency. But Republican operatives cheated the USA of its own democratic will, through gerrymandering electoral districts, violating the Voting Rights Act, buying and intimidating the press, and running a filthy mouthed trash talking ignoramus as their candidate, who appealed to a barely hidden institutionalized American misogyny.
Let us not forget that after decades the USA has not yet passed the Equal Rights Amendment. That in itself speaks volumes about our societal attitudes toward women.
Nonetheless, a woman waged the winning campaign, rocky as it was. I for one want to take a moment to realize where we women stand as a result. That is the reality, behind all the abuse and denigration of women spewed by the Republican candidate, a serial abuser and rapist of women.
Trump’s ex wife, numerous women underage and other, and he himself (in the Access Hollywood audio), have attested to his insulting women publicly (his tweets on a former Miss America), bragging about groping women, and seeking illicit sexual encounters here and in Russia.
Most alarming to me personally was the manner in which he “stalked” Clinton onstage during the presidential debates, then at a campaign rally, suggested to gun control opponents that they literally target her. For that comment alone he should have been disqualified from the race. But the press, the TV moguls and the politicos were raking in the cash, precisely from these nasty moments.
Yes, gender figured deeply in the 2016 campaign, both blatantly and latently. In the United States and worldwide. It is critical to obtain a better grasp of just how deeply it figured. Let’s begin with a statistic.
Immediately after November 8 perhaps the first statistic to emerge on corporate controlled news outlets – also viral on social media and even in progressive media – stated that 53% of white women voted for Trump. Not…
That statistic has now been added to the mountain of “fake news” rampant during and after this election. As Harriet Fraad, mental health specialist, social economy analyst and longtime feminist, stated on the radio program Democracy at Work/Economic Update, the correct information is that only 53% of married white women are calculated to have voted for Trump. Married white women constitute a smaller percentage of white voting women in the United States. Single white women are among the strongest growing segments of the American voting electorate. Accurately assessed, the number of married white women actually voting for Trump would constitute something like about 25% of white voting women.
I suggest that the circulation of this inaccurate and misleading statistic was intended to deliver a number of skewed messages:
First, the way the statistic was delivered gives “white women” or even “married white women” an inordinate influence on the election outcome… as if they somehow gave Trump the edge, as if their votes are more important than the votes of women of color. Considering that only about 25% of white women voted for Trump, this inference is deceitful.
In addition, subliminally it may build up the image of “white women”, imputing a kind of superiority to their participation in voting. They are implied as the voters to count, and to court.
Third, it undercuts all the ugly and factual news about Trump during the campaign, about his groping, raping, abusing, and insulting women. The implication is that white women are, or were, willing to go along with his behavior, that they accept the excuse he offered of “locker room talk…” That maybe they even liked it.
Fourth, it allows those who twisted the electoral process to their advantage a scapegoat – white women put Trump in office. You want to blame someone? Blame white women.
When she appeared on Democracy at Work, Harriet Fraad offered an explanation of the Trump votes of married white women:
“Like Melania Trump, many of these married women rationalize their husband’s “grab their genitals” talk as braggadocio, as “locker room talk”. They don’t actually rape women… although the evidence is that indeed they do. But they don’t want to see their husbands like that. They want to see them as their sweetie who wouldn’t do something like that. That’s the personal reason.
Fraad goes on to detail what she sees as the larger social reasons why married white women might cast their vote for Trump:
“Ever since the ‘70’s when men’s wages were frozen and jobs were exported, women lost a position in which they could stay home, raise their children. They had security, which is gone. They were respected – they had a position as homemakers for which the right wing shows respect, even if it doesn’t do anything to make that at all possible. Women were responsible for relationships, beauty, maintaining life, which is honorable work even though women have never been paid for it.”
Fraad frames white married women’s response to Trump’s obvious infidelities and abberations. She suggests that white women saw Hillary Clinton’s husband as also unfaithful and sexually abusive:
“Don’t forget that Bill Clinton was also a cheater on his wife, a mistreater of women.”
Fraad goes on to detail something I’d never heard of, the “Lolita Express”, a travel service/air line which she claims both Clinton and Trump used, allowing them to abuse and rape underage girls while en route.
Am I the only person not to know about the “Lolita Express”? Evidently both Trump and Bill Clinton took numerous trips on this “air line”, which offered patrons the bodies of its hostesses.
As I write, new revelations of the moral turpitude of the “president elect” are surfacing, supposedly through the offices of Senator McCain, and “from Russia, with love”…
It seems Trump committed various “perversions” with prostitutes in Russia, in addition to other corrupt activities yet to be detailed in the media.
About this latest moral depravity, one D.D. Guttenplan has had the brass stupidity and historical amnesia to suggest (in the Nation no less) that Trump’s sex life is his own business. Surely Bill Clinton’s sex life was not considered “his own business” by all those self-righteous Republicans mewling about “family values” in 1998, when they couldn’t be bothered to vote women equal pay for equal work.
Something is stinking in the American psyche. Certainly it is, as Big Daddy said in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, the “smell of mendacity”.. oh yes, political life in America is rife with the smell of that. But the stench of hatred and disdain for women – of relegating us to being mute objects for various kinds of abuse and stereotyping – that is perhaps even more toxic than the deceit.
What is worse is the acceptance, by corporate media and by the public, of the viability of Trump and two other males in his administration – I cannot bring myself to call them men because I have a standard for that term – who have been accused of domestic violence.
Stephen Bannon, founder of a white supremacist news platform, was charged in 1996 with domestic violence, battery and trying to bully his wife into not reporting his crime. The case was dropped when his wife didn’t turn up at court. Imagine what he must have said or done to keep her out of court. She later testified that she had been ordered, by Bannon, to leave town. How’s that for cowboy psychosis? “Get outa town before sunset…”
Andy Puzder – I cannot refrain from calling him “putzder” – is in line for labor secretary. He was also accused of domestic abuse by his first wife in the 1980’s, and police were twice called to his home. For his fast food business’ advertising he preferred semi-clothed women. “I like our ads, I like beautiful women in bikinis eating our burgers, I think it’s very American”, says the putzder. Meanwhile, women make up 60% of the at or below minimum wage jobs on offer from his business… the putzder doesn’t believe in offering anyone minimum wage, by the way.
Donald Trump was accused of marital rape by his first wife, Ivana Trump. He was also accused of child rape, but the plaintiff dropped her lawsuit – choosing not to reveal her identity to the media. Trump has faced many sexual assault allegations over the past decades, which of course he denies, calling the women who’ve come forward to report his misdoings “sick”…
Consider the source, a Twitter addict whose tweets are often the sickest of the sick, cruel, abusive, racist and quite simply, very un-presidential.
Add to that the hiring of the inarticulate Kelly Anne Conway, as a “spokesperson” for Trump, subliminally implying that white women want to defend him. How could a white woman allow herself to be used that way? It is a mystery to me. Fame and fortune are not really worth that, Kelly Anne.
Harriet Fraad predicts rage and humiliation in white married women, when they see they are getting nothing useful from Trump…
But the panic, fury and machinations against women are not by any means confined to the USA. Consider the war between Pussy Riot and Vladimir Putin. Consider the onslaught of corrupt politicians against Djilma Roussef in Brazil.
And above all, consider the announcement by Pope Francis, just previous to the US election day, that women will never be priests in the Catholic church. Never.
Talk about an attempt to influence, or comment upon, the US election process! I suggest that the timing of the Pope’s announcement also speaks volumes about the Vatican, the Catholic church, and this particular Pope.
We are striking a chord, women. We are moving monuments. Perhaps it’s best at this moment to recall a quote by Mahatma Gandhi – someone I am glad to call a man, by the way:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Women are getting it all at once, the ignoring, the mocking, the abuse and attacks, and the denial… and our job is to keep on offering visionary leadership. We won, and we will win again – indisputably.
One more issue looms before us, and it is pertinent to my phrase “visionary leadership”. It will do no good at all to try to play the policy game of empty, egotistic, ambitious, domineering males. It will do no good to expect the political loyalty of any women, white women or women of color, if one has no vision that appeals to us.
I think this is the reason that Hillary Clinton didn’t trounce Trump in spite of Republican attempts to destroy the democratic voting process in the USA. She offered a $12 minimum wage to Bernie’s $15. She flip flopped on the TPP, the XL pipeline, nuclear weaponry and energy. She was, in a word, lukewarm. A candidate of the unwanted “practical”, the ineffective “middle road”, the useless “compromise”.
Further, Hillary openly courted banksters and war makers. She cheered on the Iraq debacle during the Bush years.
She went on television to pronounce that “we came, we saw, he died…hee hee hee”, laughing giddily when the US assassinated Muammar Khadafi. That was a truly devastating moment for me. I lost my interest in her.
That moment was echoed for me in Madeleine Albright’s assertion to Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes, that allowing 500,000 women to lose their precious children to the sanction policy on Iraq, was somehow worth it. Cold. To my mind, for a woman to say that bespeaks heartlessness. Where is the loyalty to other women in a comment like that?
These political acts did not evince visionary leadership. They communicated a smug, insider cynicism that lost Clinton many progressives.
And the Clinton connection, the Bush connection, the US connection to Saudi Arabia, which suppresses its women on a grand scale, alienated many progressive women.
A subtly funny Saudi comedian, Hisham Fageeh, whose YouTube video titled “No Woman No Drive” has gone viral, has tried to put a satirical spin on the ridiculous limitations placed upon Saudi women. It is enjoyable, you may wish to check it out:
I’m responding to Hisham’s humor, and to all humorless males wishing to hold women back, with some lyrics off-the-cuff, to add to Hisham’s spoof.
Here they are, with my compliments and encouragement to all the strong, wise women who will march together worldwide on January 21st, 2017, to show our outrage and to scream: “Not My President!”
(Sing to the tune No Woman No Cry, by Bob Marley)
No Woman No Drive,
No Woman No Thrive.
No Woman No Priest,
No Woman Released.
No Woman No Mind,
Just Show Your Behind.
No Woman No Drive,
No Woman No Thrive,
No Woman No Luck,
No Woman No Shmuck.