… and Every Other Woman Giving Up Hope Today
Today, my twenty-something daughter stood in our kitchen, furious, crying, hurt and hopeless. This is the grown woman from whom—it seems to me—that only a few short weeks ago, I could wipe away those tears, take her back to bed and tell her another magical horse story to make everything better again. Only this time, I have no magical horse stories that will erase that pain. “This Kavanaugh shit is really getting to me…” she began, and amidst tears, there was the pain of a grown woman who knows what being abused at the hands of a man is like, and who can see that one of the most powerful nations in the world values her, and the pain of her entire gender worldwide, at less than political point-scoring.
Let’s stop and take that obscenity in shall we? The abject failure of humanity that occupies the highest office in American politics, and all his cronies, care less for the basic human rights and dignity of an entire gender, than they do for their wealth and the positions of power they occupy only for the few short years of their lifetimes. They are quite willing to subject huge numbers of human beings in America and beyond, to the pain and suffering of rape and abuse—with no hope of redress—so long as they can get their way in the political arena.
A Failure of Humanity
I refer to the 45th president of the United States of America—and those that support his presidency—as abject failures of humanity. I do so, based upon the indicia of evidence. Let’s substantiate that before we go any further. Firstly, what do I mean by failure of humanity? Well, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary provides a working definition of the term:
I’ll offer only three examples of the failure of the 45th incumbent of the American presidency to be compassionate, sympathetic, or generous. By all means, subscribe to his Twitter feed, and read as many more as you like…
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. Their rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming.
Trump, Donald J. (2015, June 16). Donald Trump’s speech announcing his candidacy for U.S. president, given at Trump Tower. Full text: Donald Trump announces a presidential bid, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/06/16/full-text-donald-trump-announces-a-presidential-bid/
You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything….Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.
Trump, Donald J. (2005/2016). Trump quotation from recording made on the set of television program Days of Our Lives. Transcript: Donald Trump’s Taped Comments About Women, The New York Times (8 October 2016). Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/08/us/donald-trump-tape-transcript.html.
And a somewhat pathetic attempt to cover-up a rather vile personal attack on his presidential election opponent, when he deleted a Twitter post that he didn’t want anybody else to see…
A Failure of Humanity
Trump, Donald J.(2015, April 16). Twitter post—If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America? (Later deleted). Donald Trump deletes offensive tweet saying Hillary Clinton ‘can’t satisfy her husband’. retrieved from https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/donald-trump-deletes-offensive-tweet-saying-hillary-clinton-cant-satisfy-her-husband-1497525.
For the purposes of this article, I propose that, by supporting the 45th president of the United States and by using his office to further their own pursuits of wealth, power, position, and privilege, any other individual will fall within that definition. For example, any justice of the United States Supreme Court nominated by the 45th president, or any official supporting such a nominee. The list can simply go on from there.
Pain and Suffering
But I went further didn’t I?
They are quite willing to subject huge—numbers of human beings in America and beyond, to the pain and suffering of rape and abuse—with no hope of redress—so long as they can get their way in the political arena.
How can I say that?
Huge numbers of human beings in America and beyond…
I evidence #MeToo, with all the shame and regret any human being should have, for living complacently in a society which has allowed such an abuse to continue over the years. Further, I evidence the repeal of the U.S. Affordable Care Act (that the ignorant referred to as ObamaCare), without a credible alternative to care for the weakest, most vulnerable members of American society.
This is a complete, unmitigated failure, of all that it means to be humane, much less govern a nation, or be the (admittedly laughing-stock) leader of the western world.
In the recent weeks and days of the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination, we have seen someone put forward for one of the highest positions in the American legal system, who appears, at the very least, to be a habitual and unflinching liar (see an analysis of Kavanaugh and the history of his nomination at Opening Arguments, a legal analysis public broadcast). Even given that anybody should be viewed as innocent until proven guilty by law, what Kavanaugh, Trump and their supporters have said to date, and their unwillingness to submit to bipartisan investigation of the facts, is ample support of their failure as humane representatives of government and the judiciary.
The historical warnings of Frederick Bastiat (1850/1964) have long since heralded exactly what Trump and his flunkies are doing to the United States:
If you make of the law the palladium of the freedom and the property rights of all citizens, and if it is nothing but the organization of their individual rights to legitimate self-defense, you will establish on a just foundation a rational, simple, economical government, understood by all, loved by all, useful to all, supported by all, entrusted with a perfectly definite and very limited responsibility, and endowed with an unshakable solidarity.
If, on the contrary, you make of the law an instrument of plunder for the benefit of particular individuals or classes, first everyone will try to make the law; then everyone will try to make it for his own profit. There will be tumult at the door of the legislative chamber; there will be an implacable struggle within it, intellectual confusion, the end of all morality, violence among the proponents of special interests, fierce electoral struggles, accusations, recriminations, jealousies, and inextinguishable hatreds; … government will be held responsible for everyone’s existence and will bend under the weight of such a responsibility. (pp. 238–239).
Bastiat, Frederic (1850/1964). Selected Essays on Political Economy. Translated by S. Cain. G. B. de Huszar. Irvington-on-Hudson (Eds.). New York, N.Y.: Foundation for Economic Education.
I argue that the evidence clearly suggests that their own wealth and power are far more important to them, than their country, the citizens they claim to represent, or even basic humanity.
Take a look at the history of women’s rights, no, let’s get this right, the state of human rights in the United States (let’s not all laugh when we start thinking land of the free, please). Browse through this article at U.S. News A timeline of women’s rights from 1769 to the 2017 Women’s March on Washington. In terms of evolution (and I can’t help but think of things through my biological lens, sorry), three hundred years is the blink of an eye, and very few generations; I picked a few highlights pretty much at random:
Women weren’t even their own person, American colonies were based on English common law, which stated:
By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in the law. The very being and legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated into that of her husband under whose wing and protection she performs everything.
Blackstone, William (1765). Commentaries on the Laws of England. Voulme 1, 442–445. Retrieved from http://www.kentlaw.edu/faculty/fbatlan/classes/BatlanGender&LawS2007/CourseDocs/coursedoc07/Blackstone.pdf.
Women are allowed to own property.
Arabella Mansfield becomes the first American lawyer.
Victoria Claflin Woodhull is the first female presidential candidate.
Women have the right to vote.
Frances Perkins appointed as cabinet secretary of labor by President Roosevelt.
[Don’t laugh] The Equal Pay Act is passed by Congress.
Title IX of the Education Amendments makes sex discrimination in education illegal.
Sandra Day O’Connor is the first woman appointed to serve on the Supreme Court.
The U.S. Supreme Court held that a work environment can be declared hostile or abusive because of discrimination based on sex.
Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female speaker of the House.
Hillary Rodham Clinton secures the Democratic presidential nomination, becoming the first U.S. woman to lead the ticket of a major party. She loses to Republican Donald Trump in the fall.
The Supreme Court strikes down onerous abortion clinic regulations that were forcing women’s clinics to close.
Congress has a record number of women, with 104 female House members and 21 female Senators, including the chamber’s first Latina, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
My point here isn’t how well the western world is doing in terms of social justice and human rights. Obviously, when elected officials care more about political power and wealth, than appointing a possible rapist as one of the most senior judges in a country like the United States, then we have only really begun to see the surface of this raw and sensitive wound. No, my point, and what I would like to say to my sharply intelligent, ferociously driven, and deeply wounded daughter, amongst so many others, is that we have come some way in a relatively short time, and if we have come this far in that time, how much further can we go when the Kavanaughs, Trumps, and other fat old white men like me, are dead, gone, and no longer making decisions? The world will remember the testimonies of Anita Faye Hill and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, long after it forgets the callous failures of humanity they decried.
We can see that progress takes time, and I won’t live to see a much better world. Maybe even my daughter won’t, but what about the next generation? Or the next? Do we not stand for them? At the very least, I refuse to give up hope in that future. I look at my daughters, and I see wit, intelligence, fire, and determination, but today I didn’t see a lot of hope. I like to think that will pass, and days like today will temper that fire with even greater determination. Movements like #MeToo help to give me some of that hope. But the evidence of the change over time, the evolution of society, and people like my daughters make me believe in it. The evidence is on my side, but it takes people that care about making those changes to provide that evidence.