Donald Trump, Sexism and No Heroes

This has been an...interesting week in the world of politics, at both the state and national levels. Here in Michigan, we witnessed the personal and professional self-destruction of two Tea Party legislators, Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, as the result of an ill-conceived plot to conceal their affair by distributing a fake email "outing" Mr. Courser for having "sex with a male prostitute."

 

At the national level, we witnessed the first GOP debates, one for the runners-up, and the main event featuring the top 10 candidates, both televised on Fox News. Amidst what can only be described as a jaw dropping parade of misogyny, war mongering and regressive policy beliefs, one candidate stood out from the crowd: The Donald. Fox's Megan Kelly called out Mr. Trump for his history of making sexist, misogynistic comments about women: "You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals...Does that sound like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” Kelly concluded by asking how Trump would combat inevitable charges from Hillary Clinton that he is part of the “war on women.” 

 

Mr. Trump's response was a textbook example of "mansplaining," and a graduate level demonstration of how wealthy, powerful men have been dismissing claims of sexism for centuries. Not content to disrespect Ms. Kelly, her question or the millions of women watching the debate, Mr. Trump then turned to Twitter in the early morning hours after the debate to double-down on his attacks on Ms. Kelly, impugning her professionalism and even re-Tweeting a comment referring to her as a "bimbo." All of this was carried out under cover of one of the favorite defenses of the privileged when held accountable for their words or actions: political correctness run amok. According to Mr. Trump, "I don't have time for political correctness and neither does this country!" 

 

The backlash against Mr. Trump has been both swift and predictable, with caustic comments from the other Republican candidates about his remarks and an indignant dis-invitation to a RedState event this weekend from conservative king-maker, and former Fox News host, Erick Erickson.

 

But before we start congratulating ourselves about the societal response to Mr. Trump's behavior, let's be clear here: There are no heroes in the Donald Trump story...

 

The Donald is a misogynistic, sexist creep. And there is ample evidence to support Ms. Kelly's asking of her question...

 

...however, Megyn Kelly herself has a long history of insensitive remarks about racial and ethnic minorities, and dismissing violence against black men. None of which means that the criticism of Mr. Trump is not without merit, and that he shouldn't be held accountable for his comments. Except for the fact that...

 

...Erick Erickson, the person who disinvited Trump from the RedState event for his remarks about Kelly, has a troubling history himself of making extremely disparaging remarks about women--and doesn't appear to recognize the hypocrisy in these inconsistencies.

 

No heroes.

 

And while it may seem on the surface as though the self-inflicted problems besetting both Reps. Courser and Gamrat, and Mr. Trump, are unrelated, there is a common thread connecting these incidents. At their core, all of these "controversies" are about narcissism--the act of caring more about oneself than anyone else. Which is also at the root of many of the conservative beliefs on political and social issues that these folks hold:

  • Their concerns about women's reproductive health choices are not about what women want for their own bodies and lives--they are about what they themselves believe is right or true.
  • Their concerns about same-sex marriage are not about what's right for those who want to build a life with the partner of their choice--they are about what they themselves believe others should do when it comes to their sexual orientations.
  • Their beliefs about public education are not about what is best for children, schools or society--they are about what they themselves believe is the best way to "use" education to advance their own beliefs and to generate profits for themselves and their wealthy benefactors and investors.
  • Their beliefs about taxes are not about what government should do for society, or for those in need--they are about how they can guarantee that they themselves will pay as little as possible for anything that does not directly benefit their own goals or interests.

I could not care less about Mr. Courser and Ms. Gamrat's affair, or Mr. Trump's sexism. These are the concerns and beliefs that disgust me. 

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