“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
― Theodore Roosevelt, 1926
My intention is to write a comprehensive set of articles describing in detail why I oppose Trump. I'm doing this in part to vet and catalogue my own beliefs, as well as to save myself the headache of rewriting the same arguments over and over.
This series is not against the conservative ideals of the GoP (for that, please see "The Christian Liberal"), but rather my reasons for believing Trump, specifically, is unfit to govern, regardless of party affiliation.
I encourage you to follow through to the links and read - not just skim. I've done my best to include reliable sources, and I hope you'll take advantage of them.
On Trump's Sexism
Trump has been reported, documented, and recorded making a long list of sexist comments. Some are more blatant than others, but all of them show a longstanding, consistent, fundamental disrespect for women and misunderstanding of issues pertaining to them. When a woman disagrees with him, he has consistently resorted to fat-shaming, negative comments about their appearance in general, and snide remarks about menstruation.
Additionally, he has blamed the indiscretions of her husband on Hillary multiple times. He has been accused of gross sexism and predatory behavior in his professional dealings with women, including allegations of rape and sexual assault.
- It's "just locker-room talk". "All men talk this way."
- He has apologized.
- The sexual assault allegations are unproven, and the timing is far too convenient; these women are only making these claims to gain attention or defame Trump for a political agenda.
- Hillary deserved the comments related to her husband, as she vehemently worked to destroy the women her husband abused. She is simply an apologist for the sexual predator to whom she is married.
- Lots of women support him, even going so far as to reclaim Hillary's insulting language towards them by calling themselves "Adorable Deplorables".
1. "Locker room talk": All men do not talk this way. Excusing this kind of talk as acceptable so long as a woman isn't in earshot is excusing the very predatory culture that leads to abuse and rape. Additionally, by excusing this kind of talk specifically in a man we elect to the highest office, we give tacit approval to this deep, societal problem.
2. Apology: His apology is problematic. For one thing, it came extremely late in the
issue, only when a video emerged that simply could not be excused or explained away. Until this point, he's shown a long, disturbing history of refusal to admit fault or directly apologize, opting instead to often react with an aggressive response. For another, the apology itself is difficult to take at face value, as it echoes recognized patterns of abusers.
3. Unproven allegations: Our criminal justice system rightly insists that the accused are innocent until proven guilty. I concede that it is possible some or all of these many women are lying. False rape reports do happen, although it is relatively uncommon in comparison to verified reports. However, in light of his overall character and verbal admission to kissing and groping women because "they let you" (a highly problematic statement in terms of consent), I tend to view his categorical denials as equally unproven.I would also like to emphasize that while women who come forward with claims of sexual assault against a public figure do receive a great deal of attention, the majority of that attention takes the form of harassment and threats. It is not a pleasant situation to put oneself in, and simply assuming attention-seeking as a motivation is dangerous.
While the timing may be convenient from a political standpoint, it is also understandable. It may not have seemed worth the headache, harassment, and heartache to these women until their aggressor was about to become the most powerful man in the country and, arguably, the world. If I had stayed silent about an abuse in the past, such a situation would certainly compel me to finally speak up.
Again, I concede that these allegations are unproven and due to this fact, I relegate them to the lowest tier of my issues with Trump. Nevertheless, I cannot completely dismiss them outright.
4. Apologist for a predator: This is another area in which I will cede some ground. Her dealings regarding the women allegedly involved with her husband in the past were admittedly dark. However, a few points do need to be made.First, that Bill Clinton was acquitted of the rape charges. Anyone claiming the law on Trump's side for incidents that are currently unproven must also grant that B. Clinton's charges of assault were not only unproven but examined and ultimately dismissed.
Second, defense of her husband speaks to her belief in her husband's integrity and anger at charges she perceived to be unfounded. Whatever else is said about her husband's conduct or her defense of him, it should be viewed in light of a marriage covenant in which she placed belief in his integrity and desire to support him over unfounded allegations. In contrast, Trump himself is facing serious allegations against a backdrop of historical misogyny.
Again, I concede that Hillary's treatment of the women was poor, and undermines her message of "believe the victim." However, I do not go so far as to say that her behavior in defense of her husband is on the same level as Trump's verbiage and behavior against women for his personal pleasure.
5. Adorable Deplorables: Lots of people support lots of things that are bad ideas. The Ku Klux Klan has an estimated 5,000-8,000 members. Sheer numbers believing a thing does not make that thing true. In fact, the "Appeal to Popular Opinion" is a known logical fallacy. Similarly unconvincing is the claim that because many women support Trump, that means Trump is therefore good for women. This argument is based on the "Association Fallacy", and is equally unconvincing. Thousands of women opposed women's suffrage, yet history has proven their error.
Finally: Supporting Hillary is not a requirement to denounce the sexist behavior and attitudes of Trump. During the election, we had to pick between the two; but even if your choice would remain the same, you don't need to excuse his sexism.