Nasty Women Push Back, Colltalers
An off-the-cuff remark by Donald Trump has thrown, almost by chance, the U.S. presidential campaign into global relevance, by adding it to a growing discussion about sexual harassment. It catapulted the issue to center stage, just as allegations against him gained momentum.
By calling his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, a gratuitous, ‘nasty woman,’ at their last debate, the GOP candidate unwittingly hooked up the long and mostly shallow campaign to a wave of worldwide protests against violence toward women. Clinton should thank him.
Internet memes, of course, followed. More importantly, thought, it was a fitting coda for their third confrontation, in the final weeks of a particularly, well, nasty run, that’s barely touched other major issues of our time, such as climate change, poverty, and nuclear weapons.
Now, whether the proverbial half of the population will take the hint and cash it on the polls, it’s another matter. Pollsters have often failed to gauge voter turnout or the precise extent of women’s power to elect officials attuned to issues such as reproductive rights and equal pay.
Also, while some of those issues concern everyone, not just women, when it comes to choosing leaders committed to progressive policies, it’s wise to avoid focusing on gender, or race, or class, for that matter, as that may hinder a more comprehensive approach to change.
This sort of dynamics may explain Trump’s support among females, after even more offensive sexual asides have come to light. Or the surprising number of African Americans who did not feel kin to or endorsed the candidacy of Barack Obama, or cared for his presidency.
It’ll be a historic milestone if the U.S. elects its first woman as president, but in context, the remarkable fact about it is that it’s taken so long, way behind one too many nations that have already done it. And although her tenure will mean a lot to women’s rights everywhere, it’d be too unfair to expect that her election per se, or the power of her office alone, will be enough to settle all questions related to such rights.
Remember, some accused President Obama of not only not having done enough against ingrained racism in this country, but that on his watch, racial hatred has been aggravated, a charge that is as unjust and inaccurate as it’s leveled with the primary intent to soil his legacy.
For in some ways, while the presence of the first African American in the White House may have enhanced racial issues that predate his administration, some of the violence was just another calculated effort to undermine his authority from actually promoting needed changes.
Even that President Obama could not prevent the brutal massacre of black youth in U.S. streets of the past eight years, his election did move the needle of racial equality. The terrifying number of incidents aside, more Americans felt affected by them than in the past, and not always in a negative way. Change travels by bike, while public dissatisfaction moves to the speed of light, specially through social media.
In the case of a woman president, it’s not just the glass ceiling that will come crashing down, but an entire establishment and chain of command, not used to follow a Commander-in-Chief Continue reading