The Extremism of Trump

 

“The Warmth of Trump” in the first debate

 

Trump on Women:

Trump’s misogynistic comments, video from 2005 resurfacing

“From a Mother to Her Son, On ‘Locker Room Banter'”
Yahoo Beauty, Elle, Sarah Taylor Peck, 10/10/16 (yahoo.com)
see below for my rant about this

 

 

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Trump and fascism

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On “locker room banter:”

Commenting on this for a moment:

I agree with the mother in the sense that I don’t personally believe that Trump’s comments about women are excusable in any circumstance, that they shouldn’t be dismissed as “locker room banter,” which both dismisses that the words could be hurtful or impactful, and tacitly allows them as long as uttered casually.  A few points on this:

(point “zero”: I don’t think the mother was literally writing to her toddler son.  I think she formatted it that way – ironically herself being disingenuous (word of the day) – to make a political statement.  I can believe this, as is my cynical wont, and it doesn’t bother me.)

one) I do believe in free speech (before I hear all the anti-SJW rhetoric out there because, believe me, I’ve heard it)  So, to clarify, I do believe that everyone is entitled to think what they want and believe what they want, even if it is something horrible, but the line is drawn in that I do not believe people are allowed to act on certain things.  (i.e. ok, as much as I may hate it, I believe the KKK has a right to believe what they believe, and to say what they say, but not to act on any of it)  so, yes, I do believe in free speech.  However, this is not to say that everything is fine and that speech does not hurt or does not come with consequences.

remember Thumper?

two) I think that presidents should be role models.  I know that certainly not all presidents were complete beacons of moral behavior (insert pretty much any president here, though I personally believe the Obamas have been decent models of class).  But it is something that should be striven for, I think, regardless of party.

three) “it’s only words” …yes…but what does that mean?  Since we are not telepathic, words and actions are all we have to go by.  Therefore words are meaningful and potential indicators of behavior.  ok, we lie all the time.  But that then leads people to distrust everyone…  “so just toughen up”  correct, and to some level we should, we do not live in a G-rated little bubble world, and we should have thick skin.  But words can egg on behavior, encourage behavior.  and, next thing you know, bigoted comments lead to actions, personal and systemic – excluding other people, not hiring people, not promoting people, committing violence against people.  So there are consequences.  and why we should try, if we want to be a humane society, to discourage such negativity (some call it “hate speech,” but I want to shy away from that terminology, not knowing how each person connotes it, too laden with politics and such).

c) “the world isn’t a nice place” and/or “it’s never going to be perfect, so…”  yes… but shouldn’t we strive for something better?  even if it can’t be achieved, at least we’re trying.  and this is coming from a pessimistic futilistic cynical old atheist.  I believe most major religious figures all share the common mantra of, “be nice to everybody.”

d) it’s sad that as I think and write these things, that I can already hear the chorus of people angrily disagreeing with me on every point, even things to which I think are common sense and self-explanatory.

e) “boys will be boys,” I think, is harmful to both genders.  On one hand, it may be harmful to those on the receiving end of potential cruelty, in that it seems to excuse behavior.  (“oh, well, it’s ok he groped her against her consent, because, you know…boys will be boys…or, she was asking for it, or she was wearing whatever…or she was drunk…or whatever…).  Even in a completely nonsexual sense, say if a little boy smashes a chair, accompanied by “boys will be boys.”  “Boys will be boys” (or girls, girls, or children, children) I think is fine in some contexts, like rolling in the mud and climbing trees, and being rambunctious as a kid.  But in other contexts, like say vandalizing things, breaking things, it does seem like an excuse, a tacit permission.  But, on the other hand, it’s also harmful to boys, to men, as if to say males are base creatures at the mercy of their violence and lust and that they have no control over it.  That they ogle women because they can’t control their lust.  and that’s an insult to men.

So I don’t see it as an affirmation of masculinity.  I see it as actually subscribing men as lustful animals incapable of controlling themselves, incapable of respect or maturity.  Not to mention the potential damage these words and actions they endorse could cause recipients of such.

So, yes, people have freedom of speech.  That doesn’t mean that one should say something, even if they can.  It doesn’t mean words don’t have consequences.  And I would hope that public figures, authoritative figures, and figures who are supposed to be role models for children, should hold themselves to high moral standards.

or, controversially, at least fake it when in public.  Here, I think, lies a big divide in the country, at the core of this election.  Granted, I do not think Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are in any way equal in terms of lies, scandal, transparency, disingenuousness, morality, maturity, knowledge, temperament, bigotry, or vulgarity.  It’s not apples to apples.  It’s comparing a tarnished apple to a pile of rotten garbage.  But, back to topic, would you prefer a person who is openly hateful or a person who might privately be hateful, but who publicly, yet disingenously, puts on appearance and mannerisms, words and action, of tolerance, inclusion, diplomacy, and non-vulgarity?  In short, would you rather pick someone who is faking kindness or someone who is openly mean?

And I admit it is not an easy answer.  To me personally, I think it depends.  On the one hand, I hate hypocrisy.  On the other hand, I hate meanness.  Maybe the mean person is better for being honest.  (I’m not talking about Trump, because I don’t think he’s honest, and I think a lot of his bile is playing a game to gain supporters and votes and such.  but also that I don’t see him as honest in general.)  I’m talking about, personally, if someone has a problem with me, I would much rather them come up to me, look me in the eye, say it to my face, even punch me in the face.  As opposed to someone who’s all smiles around me, while, behind my back, they spread vicious gossip about me.  To the former person, at least they are owning up to it, and they are informing me directly.  Thus I can learn what issues they have with me, and, now that I know, maybe I can work on what I may be doing to incite them.  If nothing else, I can respect that they own up to it.  Whereas, with the latter, I remain unaware of what I am doing, and the person in question, while being mean and engaging in something that could still hurt me, can believe that they are doing nothing wrong…  so that would be a case for the open meanness.  On the other hand… if I have to work with someone, let’s put private issues and grief and emotions aside, put personal at home, punch in, work together, do the task.  be civil.  be a coworker.  be mature.  work with others.  and that needs to occur as well.  …so…in ways, you need both.  For the smaller grievances, put that aside and fake a front to be able to work together.  For the major irreconcilable differences, air them directly, face to face, so that they can be addressed.  …does that equate to, politically, use diplomacy as far as capable, and result to violence for the utmost irreconcilable problems that can be solved no other way? …I’m not going to logically argue myself into condoning war…keep trying the diplomacy….  this is also why I am not a world leader …but I also don’t see diplomacy or pacifism as weakness… anyways… I think my rant has run it’s course for now…

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update 10/13/16 from the 10/10/16 Daily Show with Trevor Noah.  Yes.  This.  exactly this.  Thank you so much Trevor Noah for phrasing my rage this way, for getting to the heart of it, and for being so fully unequivocal in the morality at hand.  What Trump said was wrong, on a deep level, and there’s no pussyfooting around that.

 

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