WARNING: “You’re going to hear the P-word and trust me—that word isn’t ‘presidential'”—Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Some things I taught my daughters—how to tie their shoes, drive a car, do their own laundry, sew on a button, and not mix stripes with plaid. Some things they just figured out on their own (or IDK in the streets or somewhere)—how to tell jokes, draw, write, travel the world, and rock the stripe/plaid mix. Some things they learned from others—foreign languages, social media outlets that are NSF mamas, and how to make a mean risotto out of an almost empty larder.
But some things, some really important things, they teach me every day—the joys of discovery, passion for justice, practice of compassion, and therapeutic value of the group mani/pedi.
And this week, I learned (again) why Donald Trump is unworthy of our votes—not just as women, but as human beings.
Daughter #1, Amanda Taub, writes a column called The Interpreter for the New York Times (along with her writing partner, Max Fisher). In yesterday’s column Special Tax on Women: Trump Tape Is a Reminder of the Cost of Harassment, she wrote:
The leaked footage of Donald J. Trump boasting of sexually harassing and assaulting women is just one particularly notable example of an all-too-common phenomenon: Far too many men treat women’s bodies as if they are fair game for anyone who happens to encounter them.
This kind of behavior isn’t just offensive; it also imposes real costs on women. The burden of avoiding and enduring sexual harassment and assault results, over time, in lost opportunities and less favorable outcomes for girls and women. It is effectively a sort of gender-specific tax that many women have no choice but to pay.
In today’s column, Trump’s Threat to Jail Clinton Also Targets Democracy’s Institutions, Amanda and Max wrote:
When Donald J. Trump told Hillary Clinton at Sunday’s presidential debate that if he were president, “you’d be in jail,” he was threatening more than just his opponent. He was suggesting that he would strip power from the institutions that normally enforce the law, investing it instead in himself.
Political scientists who study troubled democracies abroad say this is a tactic typical of elected leaders who pull down their systems from within: former President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, the fascist leaders of 1930s Europe.
Daughter #2, Melinda Taub, is on the writing team for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, the take-no-prisoners late night comedy show on TBS which Monday night took on the “extremely lewd” leaked 2005 Access Hollywood tape, the Republican response, and the debates. You could practically see Samantha Bee’s glee as she announced, “Oh yeah. I’m going in on this like a bitch.” True to her word, she takes on:
- Trump’s claim that his 2005 Access Hollywood hot mike statements were “Locker-room” speech— “You weren’t in a locker room, you sleazy pair of sweat socks. You were at work.”
- Vagina Monologue— Check out Samantha’s thesaurus of euphemisms for “the P-word” that mainstream media speakers were unable to say. Trust me—it’s epic.
- The Republican response (Because they have wives/daughters/sisters/mothers/female relatives, Republican leaders’ moral outrage is somehow purer or more er…moral)—”Trump’s comments are not wrong because you have female relatives. Guess what? A surprising number of Americans [100%, proclaims a counter in the background] have at least one female relative. Trump’s comments were wrong because women are human.”
- Debatable Donald: In addition to threatening to have his opponent jailed, spouting a record number of lies that could turn Pinocchio’s nose into a new bridge across the Hudson, whining that the moderators were being mean to him, and looming menacingly around the stage, The Donald asked, “How stupid is our country?”
Hopefully, not THAT stupid.
At least, according to a variety of polls, all of which show Trump’s likely voter numbers falling down into percentages in the thirties. But less than a week after the 2005 Access Hollywood tape was released, outrage is already fading and poll numbers solidifying along party lines.
With only 27 days to go until national elections in a country divided along bitter party and now gender lines, it seems clear that my generation (which arguably includes both Presidential candidates) has not come up with the answers. The tax on women imposed by behavior like Trump’s, the already-fading outrage over his boasts about his right to assault women, our society’s persistent pattern of behavior that forces women to consider costs instead of opportunites, and the anger and frustration on all sides—
“These taxes are the broader cost of the kind of behavior Mr. Trump boasted about in the leaked footage. Sometimes that cost is the pain and humiliation felt by the women who men directly grope, kiss and harass. But it’s also the aggregate losses of all the women who stayed home, who stepped back, who didn’t take an opportunity because that would have meant risking pain or humiliation that, at the time, just didn’t seem quite worth it.”—Special Tax on Women: Trump Tape Is a Reminder of the Cost of Harassment
I’ve said it before to my daughters and nieces: I’m sorry we failed you. I think that I—and most of my generation—need to turn to our daughters and our sons for a way forward. My first granddaughter is about to have her first birthday. There’s still time to make things better for her.
Because let’s face it: a societal tax that targets women, and a president who channels the authoritarian values of some of the most repressive regimes in modern history isn’t what we want for ourselves, and especially not for our children. My daughters taught me that. It’s not a lesson I want my granddaughters to have to learn.