As a woman who, in the 1970s and 1980s, was groped during interviews for promotion in business (which I turned down), I have found Trump’s latest predatory comments reprehensible at a deep and visceral level. As a woman who has experience that, I can say with conviction, you never forget. It is an ugly, disturbing and offensive experience that stays with you forever.
Aside from his racism, his refusal to take responsibility for his words and actions, and his nature to divide, attack and promote anger, he is a misogynist whose demeaning views of and behavior against women are deeply held.
Quite frankly, I was just as outraged by Bill Clinton’s behavior, and was sickened during his entire impeachment process. He brought the country down into a hell on earth none of us want to visit again. But I also remember that walk the Clinton family took from the White House that summer in 1998 – you know the walk. The day after Bill admitted his sexual indiscretion with Monica Lewinsky, walking with Chelsea in between her parents, holding both their hands – and the utter humiliation Hillary must have felt going through this public debacle.
NEVERTHELESS, Bill Clinton is not Hillary Clinton.
We were at a time when women were on the defensive, and just couldn’t come together to lift each other up.
I think hatred of Hillary began long before emails and Benghazi, which federal prosecutors and a Republican-led Congress respectfully looked into extensively and found her faultless on both counts. I think hatred and resentment of Hillary began back in 1992. The country was still watching the dust settle on the women’s rights movement and working through the decades-long division over the ERA (which was never federally ratified).
Back then women who chose careers were prickly, often times insensitive to women who chose to stay home and raise children. In general, neither group communicated well with the other, and that lack of communication made it difficult for one group to acknowledge the others’ contributions to society. We were at a time two-and-a-half decades ago when women were on the defensive and just couldn’t come together to lift each other up.
Hillary made two statements during President Clinton’s run for office in 1992 for which she has never been forgiven.
When charges of Bill’s infidelity began to surface, Hillary, on 60 minutes, said, “I’m not sitting here some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.” But she chose, unpopularly, to ignore the allegations and stick with her husband.
The same year, defending her choice to have a career, she said, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.” The T.V show Nightline soon dubbed her, the new political wife.
Ever since then, Hillary has been raked over the coals, whether for choosing to staying with her husband or for crimes she purportedly committed (murder) or for being “a demon” and “smelling like sulfur” (really – from a conspiracy theorist radio jock) or simply for just being Hillary. Yes, she’s made mistakes – but not enough to cause the disproportionate rage heaped upon her.
As a Christian I am supposed to forgive. It took me a great while, but I have forgiven President Clinton. I have forgiven Hillary for her egregious mistakes with her email. As for Benghazi – I’ve done the research, and her hands are clean. Will I forgive Trump? Of course … eventually.
But I am now forced, as we all are, in the days before this Presidential election, to look at and compare President Clinton, who is not running for office, and Donald Trump who is. We are all forced to drag our feet through the muck and the mud of the treatment of two powerful men toward less powerful women and toward their wives. And once again the bile rises to my throat. And we are ignoring the real issues.
Issues like compassionate immigration policies; providing free local education through college; closing tax loopholes for the 2% of wealthy Americans who pay little or no taxes; ensuring equal pay for women doing the same jobs as men; making sure all parents receive parental leave when a new child comes into a family; ensuring all of us have affordable health care with no restrictions on pre-existing conditions; and establishing domestic and foreign policies against terrorism that make sense.
The bottom line for me is, I’m tired of men in power with a sense of entitlement who take advantage of less powerful women. I’m tired of news stories about infidelity and sexting. I’m tired of politicians who mark their territory and refuse to compromise and get nothing done in Washington. People in Louisiana hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 still don’t have federal money for housing; people in Flint, Michigan devastated by a corrupt local government who poisoned their tap water from 2009-2011 still don’t have federal money to bring them clean water.
There is a well-qualified candidate to vote for – not simply because the other candidate is a male or because he makes my skin crawl. One candidate has extensive experience making policies that care for children and families. One candidate continues to talk about policies, rather than making personal attacks. One candidate has experience working in congress and in the White House with people across both parties. One candidate has had both failure and success in Washington and has learned from her experience how to get things done.
I think Jim Wallis says it best:
“Even if Donald Trump was sincere in asking for forgiveness (which many still don’t feel he is) people could forgive him and hope that he turns his life around, but still not believe he is morally fit to be President of the United States. The word “repentance” means more than just saying you are sorry; it requires a change of heart and direction, and we have yet to see that in the behavior of Donald Trump in his treatment of women and everybody else for that matter.” Jim Wallis, Sojourners