(With apologies to those who read me only for movies… don’t read this piece if you don’t want to discuss politics.)
About half an hour ago, I met up with a friend, his 6-year-old daughter, my 6-year-old son, and my wife. Within 10 minutes, he had left in a hurry because I was “too aggressive” after he started, “But Hillary…”ing me after we initially were agreeing about Trump.
With that, I realized I have no room for equivocation anymore. And it has nothing to do with me loving Hillary or disregarding her many problems from decades past and even her run as Secretary of State.
When we agree that Donald Trump is highly likely of being a serial sexual predator, I am done. “But she” is no longer a conversation I am willing to have.
If WikiLeaks were to come up with an e-mail, hacked or not, that believably asserted that she had committed a real crime (not lying, not being overly artful in posturing, not using the wrong e-mail server for 40 e-mails in four years, etc), then I would be willing to engage a conversation that in some way suggests an equality of flaws between her and Trump.
But until then, no.
My friend posited, “Who is worse? An enabler or the person who does bad?”
Really? Is that a serious question?
I have many issues with enablers… but the person who does the damage of their own accord is worse, unless they were somehow hypnotized or drugged or forced into their behavior by said enabler.
Not just “worse.” That is too gentle a phrasing. An enabler can be a victim his or her self. They can be managing a bad situation as best they can. Really, it is often very hard not to enable someone you love when they are doing bad things. Leaving them to their sickness can feel like you are contributing to making it worse. It’s a horrible place to be. Yes, some enablers get off on their enabling. But I believe that most are just trying to find a way to make it all stop.
The person acting out is most likely a victim as well. Few people who are abusive didn’t learn to be that way other than being themselves abused.
It occurred to me that if Donald Trump had Nate Parker’s history, I would be more forgiving. At least Nate Parker went through the process of litigation and had to face his accuser and the law. The flaws in that system are a different discussion, but I don’t believe in throwing rocks at people who have been acquitted. It is fundamental to our justice system that we accept outcomes, even if we believe them to be incorrect or misguided.
In the case of Donald Trump, it is not clear that he has raped anyone. His first wife accused him of marital rape and later withdrew the claim. He is accused of sex with a 13-year-old in connection with Jeffrey Epstein (with whom Bill Clinton is also connected), but the case was already dismissed in one court and the issue is too blurred to be held with a clear presumption of truth (which doesn’t mean it didn’t happen).
The truth is, I don’t think Trump is capable of rape. I believe that he gets off on the idea that women adore and want him and that having to forcibly penetrate a woman would leave him flaccid. But that’s just my take.
But everything else… it all fits like a glove. The more he talks, the more it fits.
It makes sense that the only woman who accuses him of assaulting her near a bedroom with the intent of bedding her on the spot is the only person he knew well enough to engage with in an actual social interaction. All eight other accusers accuse him of hit-and-run assaults, presumably with the wished-for outcome being a full-on sexual encounter.
And look at this grid of pictures of the women accusing him…
Back in the Lewinsky days, a friend said that the minute he saw Lewinsky, he knew it was true because she was so Bill Clinton’s sexual type. He was right.
So look at the grid. Obviously there are variations on looks, but there is only one woman here who doesn’t fit in the looks department… and that’s dark, dark haired, eyebrow-y Cassandra Searles, a Miss USA contestant.
I had thought he was doing this somewhat randomly… but this makes it clear that he has a type. Noses. The shape of the face. Look at all the dimples and face creases. Not identical twins, obviously. But even the women with darker hair fit his very specific profile. And look at what isn’t there… any non-white Northern European ethnicity.
You know who also fits this grid visually?
Put a pair of glasses on her and you couldn’t tell her apart from Jessica Leeds.
This is what I would call strong circumstantial evidence. But I don’t need to rely on that to make the case against Trump today. His own words, the many accusations, and logic suggest that Donald Trump is a sexual predator.
If you chose not to believe it, we can have that argument. But if you do believe it, there is no excuse to have any further discussion.
The idea that America would knowingly elect a sexual predator for any reason, short of his opponent being arguably guilty of a similar level of criminality, would create a crisis not only in America, but across the globe.
And if both candidates of major parties were literally – not hyperbolically – guilty of criminal acts against Americans, then we should be having a revolution, because it is unthinkable.
But that is not where we are. You can hate Hillary Clinton all day and twice on Sunday but she’s not out there putting hands on people’s genitals who don’t consent and feeling she can get away with it because she is powerful. She has been investigated endlessly (which makes her suspicious), but no one has ever caught her doing anything illegal. That’s just facts.
By the way, this is why Monica Lewinsky is not part of the Trump spin… because though there was a power inequity (which I still have a major issue with), it was consensual. And Trump is desperate to make the case that his nonconsensual acts were less bad or equally bad to Bill Clinton’s. Of course, there is a big distinction, as the Bill Clinton accusations being discussed now involve one case of no sexual contact and two in which there seems to have been actual intercourse, not seemingly random acts of casually-made abuse.
Paula Jones, if you believe her, was never touched by Clinton. He allegedly propositioned her and showed her his penis. If that is true, it remains disgusting. But it is not assault. And remember, she says this happened before he was in office, then filed a suit while he was in office and preparing to run for reelection.
Clinton had sex with Kathleen Willey, but Linda Tripp, amongst others, said it was consensual and Ken Starr found that her testimony that it was forced was untrue. (Also worth noting: this accusation was made while Clinton was in office.)
The only other accusation was Juanita Broaddrick, who testified under oath to Paula Jones’ legal team, that she had not been raped by Bill Clinton, but later flipped her position under the increased influence of right=wingers in her life and in response to Clinton’s presidential run.
Whatever you think of Bill Clinton, these situations are apples and oranges.
If Bill Clinton were – in magicland – running for The Presidency today and Broaddrick (the only sexual allegation involving any physical contact) turned up in the months between the convention and the election and she had not previously been deposed saying Clinton had not raped her, I would be saying the same thing about Clinton that I am saying today about Trump.
But the fact is, none of these three women were accusing Bill Clinton of anything before he became President. This doesn’t make them liars. But it does make the circumstances very different.
Democrats and Republicans who voted for Clinton did not vote for someone, or elect a President, who was under a legitimate, albeit not-yet-litigated cloud of criminal sexual misconduct.
The only woman on the grid above who had any kind of consensual sexual relationship with Donald Trump was his first wife. She used the word “rape” in her book, which she has since edited out.
Personally, I don’t care about what Donald Trump did in his sex life over his 70 years. Cheat? So what? Sleep with hundreds of women? I don’t care.
Intentionally Walking into young women’s dressing rooms when they are naked?
Saying he feels free to touch or kiss women without consent with impunity because he is rich and/or famous?
Touching any woman on her genitals or breasts or putting his hand up their skirt?
Mocking the women, particularly about their looks?
There is nothing about Trump’s behavior or words, in the past or today – literally, today – that is exculpatory or suggests that any of the accusations are anything less than legitimate. He is still abusing these women. And he is abusing us all.
Put ten women in front of me who have stories that fit together, who look alike in many ways, and who are clearly not reading from the same hymnal, and you are going to be very hard-pressed to get me to doubt them, or any one of them, really.
Trump is right about one thing. If this is a conspiracy and they have all been put up to this, it is the greatest conspiracy ever. Because it all fits (and doesn’t fit) absolutely perfectly.
And never in the history of the world have there been less reputable, less believable “eyewitnesses” than the ones being rolled out by Trump as “evidence.”
Of course, most people believe he did this. Even those who still support him.
And that is why I have no sense of humor left. Because there are people comfortable looking away from their belief that they are electing a serial sexual predator. Can’t hide behind God or taxes on that one, folks.
If you vote for Trump under these circumstances, knowing in your heart that he did these deeds, you are no different than church officials rotating priests they knew to be sexual predators to new parishes to escape arrest.
Trump is 70 now. But would you leave him alone with your precocious 15-year-old daughter? Would you be comfortable with your 22-year-old niece going to his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel to “talk business” over dinner?
This is a teachable moment. But only if we all open our eyes and stop living in a past where we remember America as great, but in which child molestation, rape, backroom abortion, overt racism, anti-Semitism, and so on were below the radar but widely accepted as the norm.
We are now talking, without irony, about electing a man who we know, in our hearts, is a sexual predator. There is no statute of limitations on that being okay. It is not okay. It will never be okay. And if he is elected, unless completely cleared by some act of God, it will give America deep emotional distress… unspoken guilt… knowing that we did this to ourselves. Even if he isn’t the worst president ever and all of his threats are hollow. It’s not about the sex acts… it’s about the emotion that comes with them. We will mourn what we thought America was.
I can’t smile and laugh about what a jackass this man is anymore.
But if you can, you might want to stay clear of me for the next few weeks.