I tried to write 700 words as if I were a female candidate for president of the United States who campaigned on a Trumpian world view. My goal was to satirize the baffling proposition that is Donald Trump’s candidacy.
What I found is that I have no future as a “Saturday Night Live” writer. I found Trump too repugnant to mimic, too defective to prototype. Which only goes to highlight that his candidacy is a baffling proposition.
Let’s be clear: the recent leak of Trump’s Bravado on a Bus was simply the straw that broke a tired camel’s back. He has been an embarrassment to logic, language and liberty from the moment he descended that escalator wearing his trademark smugness. His campaign should have been derailed every time he heightened the wall around his non-college-educated, white, male base.
He has somehow managed to survive. The reason for that survival will be the humble pie for someone else to cookbook. Regardless, he is one vote away from becoming the leader of the world that, as of his ascendancy, was nominally free.
Now we’ve all heard him bragging about groping women because he wanted to.
Locker-room talk, he explained. Just words, he rationalized. Only with the attractive ones, he justified.
The people who support him voluntarily continue to do so. Religiously affiliated organizations note that they’re electing a president, not a pope. Loyalists wonder why it matters that a red-blooded man talks like a red-blooded man.
Why does it matter that Trump enjoys sexual predation in his private life if we are electing him to public office? Who cares how he talks if all the other men, according to him and his apologists, are talking the same way?
We need to consider the public office he seeks. The job of president of the United States is to listen and to lead. Listening means identifying the will of the people from the chorus of cries echoing across the country. Leading means figuring out how to attach a way to that will.
When Trump boasts that his hands know no limits, after he has been quoted as judging women based on their faces, their backsides, and their overall numerical value, a pattern comes full circle. When he comments on a woman’s bodily functions or her attractiveness and connects that to her suitability for a profession, a mindset is verbalized.
Trump views women as a commodity at best, an object at second best.
Objects are appealing or not. They can be prettied up, used as accessories, or parked out front to generate curb appeal. Objects depreciate. When they decline enough in value, they can be written off, eventually discarded. You don’t make decisions based on what your toy prefers. You don’t consider your art’s opinion.
If women are nothing more than decorations or distractions to Trump, then Trump will only pay attention to them when they are pleasing to him. He will be incapable of leading them, because he won’t be listening to their directions.
When they grab his attention, he will grab them back.
Trump will not be women’s president, he will be their purveyor-in-chief.
It’s no excuse that he cherishes one of his daughters and has allegedly promoted some women within the Trump Organization. Putting aside his documented objectification of that daughter, we need to acknowledge that a conclusion should not be based on the exceptions to the rule. If we did, then Tom Brady is nothing but a cheater, it never rains in Maine during the summer, and all Republicans equate multiple corporate bankruptcies with sound business experience.
Our president is a symbol. It is how we tell each other what we need and what we value. It’s the short-hand message we send to the world.
Trump represents several steps backwards on foreign policy, economic thoughtfulness, and social evolution. He has made a career exploiting the antiquated cliche that women should be seen, not heard. Electing him president announces that we will overlook everything in exchange for a campaign promise of lower taxes. That really says something.
We are beyond satire. Trump is poised to make us the laughing stock of history. Don’t help write the punch line.