observations and opinion
Voting for Donald Trump is like slapping your daughter across the face. She knows it, and she will never forgive you. Especially if he becomes President.
Like you, I am many people: a friend, a brother-in-law, a neighbor. I’m a husband and the world’s worst carpenter. I have a job. And like you, I am a parent.
Our daughter is sixteen, still a girl and also a young woman. She is well into the time of life when you stop just being yourself, and start to worry about what other people think you are. She is well into the reality of being a woman in this world, this world so very much defined by men.
Being a man, I can never really “get” what it means to not be a man, in this world. We have perpetual historical and cultural advantages, the product of eons of prejudice, power and control over women. We live in a society where women are overwhelmed by demands, loud and silent, bullying and insidious, to behave in ways which men (and many women) find more comfortable.
That includes dressing and adorning themselves in ways that are “pretty” – meant to attract attention. It means being viewed constantly, by everyone and by themselves, as sexual objects. And it means falling into a kind of obedience: women are raised and in this culture simply grow, into people who accommodate the needs of others. That can be generous and good, but it can also be oppressive.
It is unclear to me how a woman, raised in such a culture (which is universal on the planet, in varying forms) reconciles those external and internal pressures, with her own desires. I suspect it is difficult, maybe impossible to really quite get there, except perhaps for women who are no longer young. Once a woman pushes through the barrier of being constantly objectified, she enters new territory (with its own hazards) where her life might be more her own.
I would like to stop and point out here, how awful that is. If in fact a woman has to stop being a sex object to become a person, it means she has to wait 50 years to shake off some of the controlling pressures which have shaped her life. Isn’t that 50 years too long? But I digress.
In the United States, there’s about 60 million females under the age of 30. Half of them are between 15 and 30. So it is a fair estimate that there around 30 million people who can be called “young women” in the USA. Those of voting age have reached some recent conclusions about the impending Presidential election:
• In a very recent Harvard Poll, millennial adults preferred Clinton 59 percent to 25 percent over Trump. Converted to a 2 way race, that’s 70-30 for Clinton.
• Across the population as a whole, Clinton has a 26 point lead among female voters (in a 2 way race, that would mean she’s ahead 63-37).
• What those two numbers mean, woven together, is that young women prefer Clinton by a margin in excess of 70 percent. Clinton’s lead among young women is probably in the 80% range, meaning she dominates that demographic the way she leads among Hispanics and African-Americans.
The reasons for that overwhelming preference aren’t hard to imagine. Clinton is, after all, a woman and contrary to a lot of nonsense we hear about this, her gender really does affect how people respond to her candidacy. It clearly appeals to women, who want to see barriers to their own liberty and opportunity peeled away. Many men see Hillary’s candidacy in the same light, as a milestone for women.
On the other side of the equation, there are millions of men and women who, although they might deny it, appear to be profoundly hostile to the idea of a woman as President. They attribute their hostility to other reasons (her ethics, etc) but I for one, am convinced that subconsciously at least, “it’s the female, not the email” upsetting those Hillary Haters.
Aside from Clinton’s own meaning or merits, however, there may be another reason the overwhelming majority of young women prefer her to Donald Trump, and that is Mr. Trump. Here are some facts and allegations about Mr. Trump which are known to be true, or seem at least plausible, given his own words and deeds:
• Mr. Trump is a terrible person. He calls women “fat” “disgusting” “dogs” “pigs” “ugly” and worse. He insults and humiliates women almost habitually. He does not regard women as human beings deserving respect (I’m not sure he regards men as human beings either, by the way).
• He “owns” a beauty pageant. That alone is kind of weird, really, but he behaves like he owns it: he has boasted about waltzing into the change rooms to ogle naked teenaged girls (as young as 14). He clearly thinks he “owns” the girls.
• He has been accused by three women of raping them, when they were children (young teens). Each of these accusers has come forward, initiated some kind of legal action and then mysteriously, dropped it. The most recent was this week. One woman’s lawyer says she was threatened into silence. I bet.
• Another dozen women describe episodes of sexual assault or non-consensual touching by Mr. Trump. Some people accuse these women (like the three women alleging childhood rape) as “doing it for the money.” Maybe, but there a lot easier ways to make a buck than forcing your body, mind, soul and life through a meat grinder. If you are a woman, you know that some men think they own women – that they are entitled – and they treat your body that way.
• Mr. Trump molests women. We know that because there is an eyewitness, who gave recorded testimony about Mr. Trump’s behaviour. That eyewitness is not one of the dozen sexual assault complainants or the 3 women claiming childhood rape. That eyewitness isn’t someone who is “doing it for the money” or for fame. The witness has enough money and fame. His name is Donald J. Trump. Not only has he admitted to sexually assaulting women, he has boasted about it. That’s called a “confession” in most police stations.
All of this information about Trump has swirled in the public consciousness for so long, it has become muted. We have come to accept that Donald Trump is a sexist ghoul, a pederastic monster, a creep whose shrivelled soul becomes engorged only through rage and bullying. We have chosen to treat this as normal and we have forgotten that it is not supposed to be normal. It is supposed to be criminal.
According to the most recent polls, something like 50 million Americans – maybe more – will cast ballots to make Donald Trump the President of the United States. They will give their most precious gift as citizens – their vote – to a verified woman-hater. In doing so, they are saying that what Trump has done, and has said, is acceptable – more than acceptable, worthy of reward. The reward being the highest, most important office in the United States and arguably, the most powerful post on the planet earth.
It is difficult enough for me, a middle-aged white male professional, to comprehend the sickening thought of anyone voting for Trump (let alone, God forbid, his becoming President). But what must it be like for a young woman, to know that 50 million or more people, would honour such a man? What is the message to that young woman?
You know the message: she is meat. She is an object. She had better be pretty. She had better be sexy. She had better be skinny. She had better give in, when she is grabbed. And she better shut up about it after. That is what someone says when they pull a lever, punch a ballot or mark an “X” beside the name of Donald J. Trump.
I don’t know many Trump voters, but this is what I would tell each and every one of them: to vote for Donald Trump is to slap your daughter across the face.
Maybe you don’t care about America, or the world. Maybe you don’t care about strangers, or faraway towns, or other states. Maybe you just want to pay fewer taxes or get your old job back, or maybe you don’t like the sound of Spanish in a store and wish people would just speak English. Maybe you don’t give a damn about much of anything. But do you care about your own kid?
Would you leave your daughter alone with Donald Trump? Would you want your son to behave like Donald Trump? Is he the best representative of what America values and worships? Not God or the Constitution or even common decency, but raw bullying, bare-knuckled power? Is that the place you want your child to grow up in? Is that what you want them to become?
You know the answer to all of those questions is “no.” No, you don’t want that. So stop and think. We know the kind of person Donald Trump is. What kind of person are you?
Your vote for Donald Trump tells your son, “it’s okay -grab her by the pussy” (sorry but that’s Donald’s word, not mine). And it tells your daughter: “You are a lesser being. You are meat. You must give in.” That is the truth. That is what you are saying to your kids.
So you’re going to have to decide whether “Hillary’s email” is more important than showing respect for your daughter or son. In your mind – and in your heart – you know it is not. You know that whatever Hillary is or did, it’s not enough to justify making a terrible, stupid mistake.
But if you do – if you do vote for Trump, well you had better be a pretty good liar, because when your daughter finds out, she will never forgive you for it.
Never. “Believe me” – she will never forgive you.