Trump, Women, and Assertive Men

Trump, Women, and Assertive Men

Trump’s Women

What do we know about Donald Trump’s attitudes and behavior toward women?

  1. We know he favors women’s bodies over their minds.
  2. We know he objectifies women’s body parts. He has even discussed openly the high quality of his daughter’s body parts.
  3. We know he’s in the habit of rating women from 1-10.
  4. We know he is apt to criticize a woman’s face. “Look at that face!” He commented on Carly Fiorina’s. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”
  5. We know that he owned the Miss Universe Contest. We know he took a hands on interest in his pageants and contestants, by, for example, fat shaming Alicia Machado, a Miss Universe winner, for weight gain, and by sneaking into the changing room to view the beauties naked.
  6. We know he likes to insult women by calling them names. For example, he called Machado “Miss Piggy,” and “Miss Housekeeping.” Megan Kelly, of Fox News, noted in a debate that he had called women “fat pigs,” ”dogs,” ”slobs,” and “disgusting animals.” He confirmed that he had called Rosie O’Donnell one of those names. He also called O’Donnell “crude, rude, obnoxious, and dumb.”
  7. We know he bullies women. O’Donnell says she not only was bullied by Trump but mentally “tortured.” Elizabeth Warren, who he calls Pocahontas, called him a bully in return.
  8. We know he is likely to kiss a beautiful woman, and grab her privates. “I’m . . . 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.” When Billy Bush responds “Whatever you want?” He replies “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
  9. We know that twelve women have come forward to accuse Donald Trump of unwanted sexual advances of the type he bragged of to Billy Bush.

Questions for Trump Voters::

  1. If sexism is ”prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex,” is President-Elect Trump a sexist? Yes_____ No_____.
  2. If misogyny is “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women,” is President-Elect Trump a misogynist? Yes_____ No_____
  3. If a bully is “a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker,” is President-Elect Trump a bully? Yes_____ No_____
  4. Do you agree that President-Elect Trump by his actions has done considerable harm to the self-images, confidence, and self-concepts of girls and young women? Yes_____ No_____

Comment: Please explain. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Donald Trump’s Hillary Clinton

What do we know of Donald Trump’s attitudes and behavior toward Hillary Clinton?

  1. We know he questioned her ability to participate in a debate without using the bathroom, adding that it is “too disgusting” a topic to talk about.
  2. We know he spread the rumor that Hillary Clinton was ill and “lacks the mental and physical stamina” to be President.
  3. We know he called Secretary Clinton “Crooked Hillary” throughout the campaign and created the impression that she was a criminal.
  4. We know he attacked her as a woman. “If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote.”
  5. We know he told a Wilmington, North Carolina rally: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
  6. We know that he “hovered behind” and “loomed over” Secretary Clinton in the Second Presidential Debate, in an apparent attempt to intimidate her.
  7. We know that he threatened in the same debate to have “his” Attorney General investigate her “situation” after the election and “put her in jail.”
  8. We know that he used the Republican Party Convention to conduct a criminal trial of Secretary Clinton, under the judgeship of Chris Christie, and repeated the trick, in shortened form, in the debates.
  9. We know that he invoked the mantra “Lock Her Up!” against Secretary Clinton in the convention and throughout the campaign.
  10. We know that he called Secretary Clinton a “nasty woman” in the Third Presidential Debate.
  11. We know he also called Secretary Clinton a brace of other epithets during the campaign: “the devil,” “witch,” “founder of ISIS,” “incompetent,” “shrill,” “criminal,” and “pathetic.” He tolerated his fans calling her a “bitch.”
  12. We know he accused Hillary of enabling her husband’s infidelities.
  13. We know he accused her of attacking women who had claimed liaisons with her husband.
  14. We know he conjectured that Mrs. Clinton had been unable to satisfy her husband’s needs. We know too that he insinuated that she had been unfaithful to her husband.
  15. We know he accused her of rigging the election.

Questions for Trump Voter

Does President-Elect Trump’s conduct toward Secretary Clinton convince you that Mr. Trump is a:

  1. Sexist? Yes_____ No_____
  2. Misogynist? Yes_____ No_____
  3. Bully? Yes_____ No _____
  4. Do you agree that Hillary Clinton did not respond to Mr. Trump in kind by stereotyping and denigrating him as a man and human being? Yes _____ No _____
  5. Do you agree that it would have been an historical event, and a singular encouragement to girls and young women, if a female had been elected President of the United States?
    Yes _____ No _____
  6. If yes, would you agree that the election of Trump is a stunning set-back for women’s equality and standing as human beings?

Comment: Please explain. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Outcome

Hillary Clinton is not a popular politician with all Americans, and particularly with men. She is disliked by most and mistrusted by many. She had a thirty year record in public service available for opposition research, and millions of dollars were spent to “get the goods” on her over decades.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, had been President of the United States for eight years, leaving office with an approval rating of 65% despite having been impeached. Due to the double standards of gender politics, all the weight of his failings was available to be heaped on  Hillary’s shoulders in this campaign, while none of his popularity and success accrued to her merit.

Hillary Clinton had been a hard working and effective Senator for two terms, exiting with an approval rating of 56% from her New York State constituents. She had been a successful Secretary of State in Barack Obama’s first term, leaving with the President’s praise for a job well done, and an approval record of 65% among the public. She had been out of office for four years before running for President a second time in 2016, and didn’t do anything wrong in the interim. She mostly testified to Congress for the offense of seeking the presidency.

Voters should have been able to pull the lever for Clinton with scarcely a qualm. No deep research or rocket science was required. Yet the voters, dumbfounded and outfoxed by disturbing media stories, befuddled themselves. Years of clever skullduggery and horror stories were required to beat her—along with restrictions on the right to vote in fifteen states; many a gerrymandered house district; the electoral college system; sneaky efforts at voter suppression; and 3 billion dollars spent in the campaign. But stop her they did, even when the obvious ethical imperative for a patriotic citizen became to stop Donald Trump at all costs from becoming President. An awesome political achievement for sure, with or without Russian assistance. Sexism, misogyny, bullying, and ageism played their artful, cunning parts, and Donald Trump prevailed.

Assertive Men

I tend to like Presidents best after they have left office. I had unexceptional expectations for Hillary Clinton. Her hawkishness bothered me a lot. Her pro-Israel stance seemed to overlook the dire plight and disappearing rights of Palestinians. Yet, I thought she’d make a good solid President. She was the obvious choice. What other ethical choice was there?

One thing did surprise me, though, which relates to the intuition of a “hidden problem” noted in the entry entitled Trumpeter University Learning Lab. I had met during the campaign only one man who felt as positive about Secretary Clinton as I did. Every other male acquaintance, of whatever political persuasion, spoke of “real” or “deep” or “serious” or “concerning” problems with Clinton, even the ones who said they were going to vote for her. They spoke of “blandness,” and “trust,” and “lies,” and “crimes,” and “deceits,” and “theft,” and “fraud,” and “scandals,” and “treason,” and “ambition,” and “tiredness,” and“stamina,” and “avarice,”and “boring,” and “lack of vision,” and “over the hill,” and “lack of a plan,” and “unwatchable,“ and “uninspiring,” and “arrogance.” Most uttered their defamations with deep feeling, a bit of anger, and definite certainty, the more so as election day drew near. Chris Matthews opined one night that her focus on motherhood and parenting wasn’t an engaging message. Brooks and Shields spoke of her uninspired speeches and her failure to offer a vision of the future for the country. Only President Obama and Tim Kaine—what else would you expect of them—spoke of her extraordinary experience, credentials, competence, work ethic, and steadfastness. On record, Clinton was the best prepared candidate for the presidency in American history, but that was considered insufficient by  discerning men to offset her “deficits.”

In the meantime, the Republican party had unleashed full-scale sexism, misogyny, and bullying in their “lock her up!” “jail her!”cadenced convention, and their candidate, Donald Trump ruthlessly carried on the flaming denigration in his rowdy boy rallies, and in the three debates. Clinton was by then a criminal on the loose protected from arrest by amorphous elites in a rigged system.

No one, excepting a courageous Christian minister, defending her sanctuary, stood up to Trump. No one said: “Stop it.” “Show a little common decency.” “Show some respect.” “Children are watching.” “Address her by her rightful name.” Clinton didn’t even get the basic respect that teachers insist upon for students in their classrooms.

What we were watching, it turned out, was the age old need of men to control and dominate women. Fox-trapped whites had defamed Barack Obama for eight years because of their need to diminish and dominate blacks. Now muscular detritus spewed forth from a new source. Stigmata residual from the racial smear years was to be enhanced with some good old-fashioned woman bashing, a fine inheritance for Clinton to carry into the campaign. Then she was paraded nightly before rally juries to be tried as criminal, murderer, devil, or witch.

Clinton, judged by only the facts, should have won in a landslide, just as President Obama should have received more abundant appreciation for his achievements and service as President. But by then—this year, this fall—voters, particularly male voters, had worked themselves so deeply into cognitive circuitry mashings that any male candidate, even Donald Trump, seemed preferable to wicked, crooked Hillary. Trump was better! Being a woman had nothing at all to do with it. But it did.

That turned out to be the answer to the mathematical conundrum discussed at length and highlighted in the first Trumpster Learning Lab.

Question: How could it possibly be that the number of Trump’s disqualifications for the office of President could be increased from 69 to infinity without mass defections of patriotic citizens to Clinton?

Answer: the basic need of men to retain dominance over women is still that powerful in the male psyche.

Men weren’t ready for a woman president.

The rally stalwarts who Clinton found so deplorable led the way in the demonization of Clinton. But their misogyny was well known by the end of the primaries, and was of no great surprise after that, accompanied as it was by equally hateful attitudes of other sorts: racism, nativism, Islamophobia, Muslimophobia, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

The larger mass of males, hiding behind their sober, sensible “reasoning,” “research,” “independence,” “indecision,” and “Bernie voter” status, some of whom voted for Clinton nonetheless, regularly asserted their “concerns” when asked. Many took their “never Hillary” (not yet a woman) attitude into the voting booth.

If I were to fashion “markers” to “distinguish” the men I’m talking about, I would call out:

  • men who had a woman boss problem somewhere in the past;.
  • super-competitors who like to listen to sports jock radio;
  • men who like to trash talk;
  • men who like to control the conversation;
  • men who think of themselves as ladies men;
  • guys who think of themselves as top guns and alpha men;
  • and, men who need to stand out at a party.

But I could be wrong. From a self-directed learning perspective, it doesn’t really matter. The Hillary bashers and the men who didn’t want a woman President know who they are. The question is what they will do with this self knowledge. Donald Trump will be in the White House to remind them of the importance of the question.

So why do men want to quickly get over this election, stiffen up, and move on? Because we men pulled it off, and relatively easily, all things considered, and the women haven’t bashed us yet. We think we got away with it. Let’s move on before the women notice and come after us.

This is the fourth in a series on the 2016 Presidential election.

Will Callender, Jr. ©

December 22, 2016

Author of Abdication: God Steps Down for Good

Taboo Two

Taboo Two

I once witnessed a TV interview with a dying man who was asked if he harbored any regrets. He responded:

Yes, I wish I hadn’t lied to myself so often and suppressed my true thoughts. No one knows me as I really am.

This idea has haunted me ever since. I hide my true thoughts too. Don’t we all do that to some extent? It’s a major reason I decided to write Abdication: God Steps Down for Good. I was 75 and held an uncommon point of view on the world that relatives and friends neither knew or shared. I could leave a false impression of who I really was in the minds of people who knew and loved me. It was time to speak honestly. Falsehoods mislead, not just deceive. Who would care anyway? I’m getting old. What real difference could it make if I broke the taboo of polite religious discourse? Besides, this is me, it has been all along; I hadn’t changed; the prospect of incipient senescence had liberated my courage.

After publishing the book, the non-response of some acquaintances, and the verbal and written response of others, indicated to me that not one but two taboos had been broken, the obvious one, the near blasphemy of inviting a deity to abdicate, and the less obvious but surprisingly powerful one, violations of the norms of aging.

What norms of aging? The same ones that apply to everyone; ones not particular to me. Let me state the case directly without embarrassment or complaint, because really, most of this is well meaning and pleasant. As one hits the late sixties to early seventies, securely or uneasily ensconced in comfortable retirement, one finds that younger people presume a linear, progressive, disengagement from the world, and loss of relevance. Influence wanes in making collective decisions. Shortly thereafter the ability to make good personal decisions is thrown into question. Parallel to this process of loss of influence and power, encouragement is given to assume the role of valued family icon, the embodiment of virtuous qualities and ancestral wisdom, assets that nevertheless won’t be regularly called upon and shouldn’t be volunteered. The main obligation is to admire, support, and assist grandchildren—a great benefice, solace and delight—and to take pressure off one’s hard working and over-extended children. You’re a monument now, a family totem. The predictable infirmities and confinements of motion enhance the effect. One should be in one’s place, ready to receive the caresses and blessings of family and other friendly pilgrims on special occasions and holidays

Such enshrinement includes expectations of consistency and predictability. One definitely is not to deviate sharply, change philosophical course, and write a serious provocative book. By this time one is thought too old to make a significant contribution to society, an expectation that has passed from yours to succeeding generations. Enjoy your retirement, steady as you go, is the vanilla advice.

Older people attain progressive familiarity with the strange phenomena of invisibility. People talk to others in your presence, look through and around you, walk silently past, unseeing, as if you’re invisible, not there. You understand by then that the actions and wisdom for which you are affectionately renowned are best identified by grieving survivors. A late claim to new wisdom, a published book, is surprising and makes people uneasy. A well done life review and series of scrapbooks would be preferable.

The effects of these two taboos, working in tandem, are predictable: pre-publication aversion to the book’s title and its implications, inclination not to purchase, silence regarding its existence, resistance to reading it, and most interesting, opaque and dissociated readings and summations. Think of these taboos as anchors dragging the book back out of the reach of its readers, or, another metaphor I like better, as a magnetic shield around the reader-earth diverting the solar flare book away from its audience, but not completely, still allowing random words, sentences, paragraphs, and images to get through, register on retina screens and up the nerve chains to the brain, thus producing dissociated thoughts and surprising summations of its contents.

I feel I should admit two points at this juncture. Perhaps, alas, this whole story is totally wrong, and Abdication is just a poor, insipid book. Second, regarding the abundance of dissociated, random readings, I must confess that students, in forty-five years of teaching, never learned most of what I was teaching, but nevertheless granted gold star ratings to me for the acquisition of precious side-bar lessons that, according to them, informed and enriched their lives. One student related the most vital lesson she learned from me:

I stopped smoking because you couldn’t.

Why should it be any different in reading my book. Maybe I’m like Chance (Chauncey) the Gardener in Peter Sellers’ wonderful and wise movie Being There whose vacuous homilies

Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

were deeply meaningful to his rich and powerful auditors and handlers, so much so as to elevate him to advisor to President of the United States. Overlook that last part, please. The point is that student responses to my side-bar comments, affectionately called “Willisms” by some, often asserted the attainment of deeper meaning and wisdom than I had been aware of in their production.

The only new direction I have decided to take on the basis of this humorous pack of facts—the detritus of taboo violation— is to write blog essays on particular ideas in the book that have not thus far drawn attention in the comments of readers. I see the book as a sketchbook full of dubious, quasi-rational ideas, all circling around a clear central theme. I conclude little and close few possibilities. The book is fundamentally a personal document, a thought festival of sorts. I think of it more as a sculpture than a set of essays, although it is that. The book has four parts: a haunting, terrorizing dream; an apologetic slap at monotheists coupled with plaudits to philosophers, humanists, agnostics, atheists, and a songwriter; a simplistic reinvention of humankind; and an octet of studies that transport the readers to the open future. I find it light, and a breath of fresh air. Few readers have noted the theme, the dream, the four part structure, and the possibility of reinventing ourselves, nor has anyone commented on any of the studies.

These silences provide me with a nice opportunity to discuss these matters one at a time in the blog. That is what two of the last three blog essays have begun, and which future ones will continue.

If any of this sounds like disappointment; it is not. I have been thrilled that so many people like the book, have learned something from it, and have generously commented on its meaning to them. I am particularly grateful to the readers who have written reviews of the book. I look forward to introducing particular ideas from the book to blog readers. Old age is a remaining opportunity to seize freedom. Ageism bears sweet as well as bitter fruit. Invisibility has its blessings.

Will Callender, Jr. ©

May 8, 2015

Author of Abdication: God Steps Down for Good