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You wrote:

“How is it irrelevant to us as a country how he treats, or thinks of women again? (roughly half the country.) How does this not directly affect our daughters, mothers, and sisters?”

I’m not saying it’s irrelevant. I’m saying, first, that some off-the-cuff comments he made to one guy in private in 2005 when he wasn’t running for political office aren’t going to give you an accurate picture of his general attitude towards women. And, second, what actual policy proposal that Trump has made is in any way impacted by these words? He hasn’t suggested enacting a measure making it okay to grab women in the street, has he?

I mean, I’m fine with the media reporting on his comments. But report it and move on. Don’t turn it into a big national scandal because you’re so desperate for clicks and ratings and so anxious to run this guy out of town, so to speak. And don’t pretend that his comments are something unfathomable and extraordinary rather than the same basic thing nearly every guy in America has heard said in all-male company at one point or another. Personally, I find Trump’s comments and other comments of that type distasteful. I’ve never said anything like that to anyone, but I also find it distasteful to curse, and I don’t do that either. Most people, however, do. You, for instance, kept talking about “shit” in your response to me. I judge that, and I form a specific conclusion about someone’s crudity and subtlety of mind based on that. But I also recognize I’m the exception rather than the norm, and most everyone does what you did, so I can’t hold you accountable for some sort of extraordinary infraction against good taste or some extraordinary crime against humanity. The same is true of Trump. You have to understand and appreciate that we live in a culture in which it’s the norm more than it is the exception to think and even speak in the terms he did. Rich, powerful men enjoy the power they have over beautiful women, and beautiful women enjoy the attention they get from rich, powerful men. This isn’t true of everyone, of course, and it’s certainly false in many specific cases of unwanted attention, but this is the way things work in this society and in virtually every other society known to humankind since the dawn of civilization. So, making Trump’s comments look as if they were some sort of exceptional, intolerable departure from the norm is pure hypocrisy, and I guaranty you that a good 90% of those men rushing to condemn Trump right now have said the very same kinds of things he has or done or said even worse.

You wrote:

“How is the media dragging us down by talking about his non-specific sexist bullshit- rather than his even more non-specific, racist and monopolistic policy aspirations?”

You’re just revealing your biases here. Trump does have specific policy ideas. You might not like them, and you might want to throw a bunch of dumb and overbroad labels at them (“racist,” “sexist,” etc.), but I personally find many of his policy positions far more appealing than those of the neoliberal/neoconservative arch-panderer Corporate Clinton, as I like to call her. One easy example is her macho militaristic shoot-first-ask-questions-later foreign policy, where she, right along with similarly militaristic idiots like John McCain and the Bush clan, has been a longtime supporter of every American war and intervention she’s ever had the opportunity to opine on, and those policies have resulted in massive needless expenditure, colossal loss of life and the unleashing of worldwide chaos, especially in the Middle East. Trump’s policies on these issues are far more to my liking. But this is just one example. In my original article on these issues, I went through a list of such policies where I like his views and think that, even if they need refinement (remember, he’s not a career politician, so it makes sense that his views are rough-hewn and malleable compared to hers), they deserve serious consideration rather than knee-jerk condemnation.

You wrote:

“Or why hovering/looming over Hilary isn’t a prime example of simple, stupid bullyish behavior that we, as Americans don’t want to see reflected on the world stage? Tell us all again why this is so not-relevant?”

Come on, are you serious? In that famous first-ever-broadcast-on-television debate between Nixon and Kennedy where most people listening on the radio thought Nixon won, but most people watching t.v. and seeing the handsome, dapper JFK vs. the sweaty unappealing Nixon thought JFK won, was it relevant that Nixon was ugly and sweaty? In that famous debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush where Gore ran circles around Bush on policy but looked smug and arrogant in his demeanor to viewers, was the way he looked relevant, or might it have been more relevant to elect the guy who actually had a brain? In the recent Kaine-Pence debate where most people thought Pence won because Kaine looked and sounded like an over-eager non-stop barking chihuahua, what difference did Kaine’s demeanor actually make in terms of comparing these vice presidential candidates' views on issues that matter? In this debate between Hillary and Trump, who cares where he’s standing (which, by the way, was also just a product of an awkward camera angle that created the impression of very little distance between them)? How is this bullying? Maybe it’s a bit more important to inform voters about policy issues, not about how close or far away from people Trump likes to stand, don’t you think? When I hear about nonsense like this, I really start to think that broadcasting debates on t.v. was a bad idea from the get-go. We should go back to just listening to them on the radio, where there’ll be fewer superficial distractions for the brainless press to focus on.

You wrote:

“Why should we pit his non-existent positions on policy against specific positions of Hilary?”

I think I addressed this above, but when you say things like this, all you’re really telling us is that you like Hillary more. Yeah, I get that. You’ve made up your mind. But that doesn’t mean the rest of America needs to be deprived of an actual debate and in-depth discussion of real policy differences. Again, I invite you to look at the list of policy issues upon which we deserved to have an actual discussion that I described in my original article on the media’s rigging of this election. You may not like any of Trump’s views, but I may not like most of Hillary’s views. (Just to make it clear to you, by the way, I am not some right-wing nut or general Republican voter; I was a Sanders supporter who watched him being attacked and ignored by the same media spin machine that’s now trying to blackball Trump in order to get Corporate Clinton, the candidate of big corporations and the neoliberal/neocon establishment, elected.) The point is that both of us, both you and I and all the voters out there, deserve to go in depth on those issues, to hear them discussed and debated. I don’t want to hear about Hillary’s e-mails, about Bill’s sex scandals from the 90s or Trump’s dumb comments or sexual escapades from the 2000s, naked photos of Melania or whatever other garbage the press wants to dredge up because it helps drive clicks and ratings.

You wrote:

“It’s all about this being 2016- and our country leading by example in an age where no one can get away with anything anymore because of the internet. Not even ‘silly locker room banter’.”

So, in your view, it’s actually a good thing that we are increasingly living in what Foucault would have called a Panopticon society, in which we’re constantly under surveillance and all of our private actions are always at risk of being exposed to public scrutiny? Would you seriously want everything you ever did and said in private being held up there for the whole world to see or hear? Are you not ashamed of anything you’ve ever done or said? If you have the view that you appear to have, I’d say you’re pretty unique in that view. The press isn’t exposing people’s private comments because it thinks exposing private comments is a social good. It’s exposing them simply because it can and because it knows there are a lot of idiots out there who care about things like this, who live for gossip and tabloid headlines and outrage-driven clickbait. We need to hold the press to a higher standard, and that starts with holding ourselves to a higher standard. It starts with you.

You wrote:

“You don’t really believe this shit do you? How are his comments about how he can just grab women up by the pussy because he’s a star not relevant? Do you think Bill Clinton would have done better in the media in today’s age, had this scandal happened to him? He almost got impeached for his ‘silly’ shit.”

No, I think Clinton would’ve been persecuted for his antics today even more than he was in the 1990s. And I think this is wrong and absurd. And contrary to your claim (“This kind of thing does matter to Americans. Always has. It’s just that about half of them haven’t had a voice until recently”), we never used to care about this kind of nonsense, actually. JFK’s many “dalliances” were an open secret, and no one really cared. The first time these kinds of sexual escapades became an issue were during the 1988 campaign when the conservative “Moral Majority” (essentially what are today known as “Evangelicals,” then just beginning to emerge as a political force) used the then-Democratic primary front-runner’s Gary Hart’s affair with Donna Rice that was caught by tabloids to bring him down. Hart’s initial reaction when he was confronted with that stuff was, in essence, “Are you serious? Is this, like, an actual issue that anyone cares about?” But it was being driven by religious conservatives who wanted to know what people were doing in their bedrooms behind closed doors because they wanted to make sure it was okay with God. These were the same people who considered homosexuality and abortion mortal sins, you understand? And, as they emerged as more and more of a force on the political stage, which they did by the time Clinton was in office, they made his conduct with Monica and the rest into a big national spectacle. I thought that was ridiculous then, and I still think it’s ridiculous today. One of the reasons I like Trump is that he’s not one of these “moral” Evangelical conservative nutcases who want to impose their perverse version of Biblical literalism on everyone in America, and it’s ironic, in that light, that now liberal “moralists” are the main ones going after Trump for his private words/conduct. Again, it’s not like he’s proposed enacting a government policy where men are allowed to grope women on the street, right? So it’s just some dumb things he said behind closed doors, before he was much of a politician, when he thought no one was listening. At least Hart and Clinton were already politicians when they did their “things.” Trump was just a big, famous real estate and t.v. guy. Initiating a witch-hunt for what he privately said in 2005 is ludicrous. It’s not relevant to anything real as far as policies Trump would pursue in office.

This isn’t driven by my support for Trump. As you should be able to see by now, I’m not some hardcore conservative. I supported Mondale over Reagan, Dukakis over Bush, Clinton over Bush, Gore over the younger Bush, Obama over McCain, Sanders over Clinton, etc. And I also see this kind of incursion into people’s private lives as wrong both when it’s done to Democrats and when it’s done to Republicans. You, on the other hand, seem to be driven primarily by pure hatred of Trump, but you’ve got to realize that what’s done to Trump today can be done to your favorite candidate tomorrow. This is why we need to stand up for principles and start expecting more from the media and from ourselves.

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