07 September 2018

In Other News, Trump Still Has a Penis

This week Bob Woodward's new book Fear and an anonymous New York Times op-ed from a Trump administration official describes a president who is inexperienced but confident, stupid, impulsive, and amoral.

We knew all this before the 2016 election. This was treated as news this week but there is nothing new in these reports. It merely confirms what we've known since Trump came down the escalator to announce his campaign and to accuse Mexicans of being rapists and murderers. In spite of the hoopla surrounding this news, Trump's poll numbers barely moved. Americans know who he is.

What remains so absurdly sad is that given the choice between that and a woman who believed in public service, was incredibly intelligent, disciplined, and experienced .... we chose that. Clinton carefully thought through the consequences of choices; Trump doesn't even have the attention span to think through the choices, much less their consequence. And speaking of choices, given the choice of someone as qualified for the presidency as anyone in our lifetimes, we chose someone who is not qualified to be a mayor.

Hillary Clinton was unable to close the deal that so many thought was done. She won the popular vote by 3 million and came within 100,000 votes in the three states that would have put her over the top in the electoral vote. I can't help but think it is because she was lacking one simple thing that every previous president had: a penis. It was a close race. She lost by inches.

Trump is so many things but maybe the saddest thing is that he is a reminder that even 96 years after women were finally given the right to vote, even the worst man as candidate wins against a woman. Some time ago my son came home from class reporting that one of the students actually said, "I think that women should be treated equal to men. I just don't think that they should be in positions of authority over men."

In Clinton's book What Happened she has a chapter on being a woman in politics. That chapter alone should be required reading. At one point Clinton quotes Frances Perkins, the first woman to serve in the U.S. Cabinet, under FDR, who said, "The accusation that I'm a woman is incontrovertible." But women in politics is only slowly becoming normal. Clinton also writes, "Even the simple act of a woman standing up and speaking to a crowd is relatively new. Think about it: we know of only a handful of speeches by women before the latter half of the twentieth century, and those tend to be by women in extreme and desperate situations. Joan of Arc said a lot of interesting things before they burned her at the stake."

Social change seems to lie somewhere between the glacial pace of evolution and the still leisurely pace of personal development. We have so very far to go before the best kind of woman is able to beat the worst kind of man. We still weren't there in 2016.

Trump will be taught in future classes for so many reasons: the most pathetic may be to illustrate how resistant this country still was early in the 21st century to giving women power.

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