The Bigger Picture

… And What Some are Missing

Recently I’ve been uncharacteristically unnerved by our political news. We can all disagree on our chosen candidate, but what we cannot disagree about is the unusual path this cycle has taken. For some, that’s a positive. For others, not so much. Regardless, it’s not the norm for those of us living today in America. Or has it become so?

This morning as we listened to yet another round of analysis of the candidates’ deeds and comments about themselves and their opponents, it became obvious that I was becoming increasingly upset. My Joe asked what was behind this. He said he understood that the recently released tape of Donald J. Trump using lewd and salacious language about women was wrong and upsetting, but why was it SO upsetting to me. The fact that he or anyone has to ask just adds to my emotional overload. So, here goes…

What Mr. Trump admitted to — and boasted about — amounts to sexual assault. Plain and simple. The fact that anyone can overlook this is appalling to me. It further illustrates that too many of my peers don’t understand what sexual assault looks like or sounds like or feels like. And, it opens the door to another generation of overlooking, excusing, and negating its effects on victims.

Several years after my abuse was exposed to family, one of my perpetrators passed on. I wasn’t notified. But, when I found out and asked my mother about it, she said she didn’t see the point; I’d just be glad he was gone. (She was right on that.) Then she reminded me that as a young teen I stood at the fresh grave of his by-that-time long-deceased wife, she’d heard me mumble that the wrong one was in the ground. (She was right on that, too.) But then she said words that still ring in my ears, “I never did understand why you got so upset. It wasn’t that bad. You weren’t hurt; you survived.” Yes, those words came from my mother who loved me yet didn’t understand; the same woman whose only advice before my wedding was, “Never refuse your husband.”

Sexual abuse and molestation shouldn’t have to be explained to anyone in this day and age. It’s effects last forever and are always just one memory, one trigger point away. And yet, it’s still looked at as “Boys being boys,” even if those “boys” are 59 years old, and a candidate for President of the United States nominated by a major political party. THIS is what is so upsetting.

Must we facilitate another generation of girls being relegated to being play things for boys and men ? Must we allow them to pass their behavior off as just rites of passage? Must we subjugate our girls and women to the whimsy of these perpetrators? I think not. We have a chance now to deal with this topic directly. We have an opportunity to teach our children how responsible adults act when someone is a self-admitted molester. But, apparently that will not happen today.

Sadly, I see defenders lining up. He has supporters stepping forward suggesting that he’s a different man now; after all, that was ten years ago… He was just a man-child then, only 59! And, as he may have suggested during the second Presidential Debate, he was just talking — maybe it never really happened. So, in that case, he was just a 59 year old recently thrice married man with a pregnant wife at home, boasting to a man in his twenties (and the other seven crewmen on the bus with them and within earshot of the conversation) about imaginary sexual events? What does that say about his character and maturity? Not much, I’m afraid. Either way, this is a man that doesn’t clear my bar as the leader of the free world.

And, this is just one illustration. There are several more. One that is more upsetting to me took place during a radio interview. The host referred to Mr. Trump’s daughter as a “piece of ass” and then asked if that was okay with Mr. Trump to say that. “Sure, that’s okay,” was his reply. Sure????????? Really???????? Add this to his own comments on-air when he said “if she wasn’t my daughter, I’d probably be dating her.”

I won’t do your research for you, reader. Sadly, I doubt many of you will do it either. But, it’s there. It’s clear, concise, and disgusting. Story after story exists, revelation after revelation, about how Mr. Trump views women. There are lawsuits, employment complaints, social events that tell a very disturbing tale. But seemingly, few care. One lawsuit begins in December on behalf of a young woman who was 13 at the time she alleges she was raped by Donald Trump and his billionaire convicted-predator friend, which was witnessed.

I’m told there are much bigger issues at stake. The security of our country, the economy, the courts are in great danger. Yes, these are all important issues. But doesn’t anyone understand that until we respect one another none of these issues will be resolved? As long as our country is in the hands of someone that doesn’t respect women, who proclaims to respect them more than anyone else, and doesn’t accept responsibility with true contriteness, there is no greater danger. How can a man lead others to do what he believes himself to be above? How can he convince leaders elsewhere to upgrade their treatment of women when he won’t?

So, I have come full circle. I am disgusted by this man and dismayed by those who continue to support his candidacy. This behavior is deplorable. There, now I said it. Joe’s advised me to be prepared for your responses. Right now, I think my ringing the alarm is more important.