Donald Trump’s Campaign Has Been Vile and Offensive—and We Should Thank Him for That

October 26, 2016
Posted in Blog
October 26, 2016 Editor
image_pdfimage_print
 

How Trump stopped the gaslighting of America.

By Matthew Arnold

October 26 9:07

photo above: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Monday, October 10, 2016, in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

an excerpt:

It’s quite possible that a decade from now, we’ll look back on Donald Trump’s norms-transgressing, concession-refusing shtick as the straw that broke the back of a fragile American democracy. But I doubt it, inertia being the powerful force in human affairs that it is. I think we may find that we owe him a huge thank you—for shearing the façade off of our corrupt body politic and laying bare the festering racism, misogyny and homophobia beneath.

The term “gaslighting” has come back into vogue of late as a means of describing a particularly perverse form of psychological abuse, one wherein an abuser prompts the abused to doubt whether the abuse even happened, thereby undermining their most basic source of agency —narrative agency. The America I grew up in in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s gaslighted women, people of color, LGBTQI folks, and the left in general. When my alma mater, Antioch College, adopted the first form of what has lately come to be known as an affirmative-consent policy, it was roundly derided—by editorial pages, by Saturday Night Live, by a whole cottage industry of campus-rape deniers casting the students of a tiny college in rural southwestern Ohio as an unholy coven of castrating bluestocking scolds. When young black men were gunned down by police and there were no smartphones or dashcams to record it, the media gatekeepers of the day, who were fewer and far more powerful and even whiter and more male than today, shrugged indifferently, mumbled something about the crime rate, and returned to the really important functions of a free press, such as providing flood-the-zone coverage of Bill Clinton’s (creeptastic but consensual) affair with a White House intern and penning fanboy mash notes to the right-wing Torquemadas and new-media hornswogglers of the attendant publicity circus.

In the days after the “Grab ’em by the pussy” tape dropped, women I know posted searing personal stories of sexual harassment and assault on their Facebook walls, normally repositories of cute-kid pics and anodyne validation-seeking. One friend recounted how an adult man first grabbed her by the pussy when she was 12. Another recalled the first time she was groped on the subway.

Women in public life, too, began telling their stories. The political journalist Ana Marie Cox, famed for the tough-as-nails, profane-as-all-hell snark machine persona with which she launched Wonkette, visibly choked up on Larry O’Donnell’s Last Word show talking about the tape. “You brought me back,” she said, after an awkward pause. Deep breath. “I’m very concerned for a lot of women out there, because I was brought back by that statement to something that happened to me when I was a young woman.”

Donald Trump has changed all that. Donald Trump, together with a proliferation of voices, of women and people of color and others carried by digital media, has forced us to acknowledge this invisible world. Donald Trump has ensured that the Republican Party will never again be able to dog-whistle to white racists by talking about “crime,” or “states’ rights,” or “the inner city,” or “welfare” and “entitlements.” He took that whole code, the one their programmers have been writing and rewriting and iterating on since Nixon, and he open sourced it, put it right out there for everyone to see.

He may have reenergized a dangerous element of the extreme right long relegated to the shadows of the outer fringe. He may have re-mainstreamed a long-dormant anti-Semitism in this country. He may have made a lot of woman-haters and abusers and rapists stand a little taller for a few months. But in doing so, he’s also exposed them for what they are. He’s blown their cover, shabby as it was.

Please click on: Trump Vile and Offensive

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

, , , , , , , ,

Editor

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This is the drop down list of all Blog entries (over 700), beginning with most recent. All titles are clickable. At bottom of each page is also a “Search here” box.

Please click the X if you do not wish to view this now. The list is also under “Blog” on the Sitemap page, which includes dates.

Group by:

Blog

Thanks for clicking on the post. I encourage you to leave a comment at bottom of this or any post, and of most pages. See Sitemap for a full list by titles and dates, under “HOME“; or see  BLOG for thumbnails you may view from current to previous; or check ARCHIVES below each post for groupings by year and month. You may also see Related Posts below each post. There as well, you may choose to rate posts/most pages. At bottom of each page is also a “Search here” box. My commitment is to respond if comment is approved. I can learn something for sure! Hopefully you may too…

Thanks, 

Wayne Northey

Care to follow posts?

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox (unsubscribe any time):