Twenty-some years ago, Bill Clinton, the President of the United States was impeached for having an affair with a White House intern. If the current president is impeached, it will not be for touching women’s private parts and keeping wife-beaters at his side.
The departure of two close Presidential aides after former wives and girl friends produced evidence of violence against them, gave female pundits a chance to excoriate the President for defending the perpetrators without a word of sympathy for their victims. But why did they wait so long to condemn Trump? His misogyny has been on display for at least two years. Maybe they didn’t realize that even if, as women a class are accused of — or acknowledged as — ‘wearing the pants’, individual women continue to be victimized.
Nor did this just happen; it was programmed by the kind of entertainment Americans have been served for decades, including both the vulgarization of women’s bodies for advertising, and senseless violence. Even personal interactions once unanimously condemned now proliferate, as the world separates like a failed mayonnaise into white and non-white, traditionalists and modernists, sincere and pharisee. But where once the latter were confined to a small temple in a small town, today they are heard worldwide, and their power extends to nuclear weapons. And no, it is not wrong to conflate wife beating with war that would end life as we know it. Sexual misconduct is not unlike political bullying: claiming exceptionalism, the United States treats other countries, including its allies, as inferior, setting the standards by which others are judged, and leading the battle against those judged wanting.
Never imgining that the fun it was having during the 2016 campaign would put the candidate they were mocking in the White House, the media brought us a president, and at least one general, who openly insult women. In what only appears to be a lighter note, the mocking reactions of French female personalities to the ‘Me Too’ campaign suggest that male power plays compensate for clumsiness on the part of The All-American lover. (It has also crossed my mind that the temper tantrums of intelligent, sophisticated men aiming for high places but uncertain as to their chances, could signal a tendency to choose less brilliant wives, then berate them for their inferiority.)
This brings us to Steve Bannon, another wife-beater, who heads a vile Alt-Right website that combines sophomoric anti-feminism with white supremacy. When he was introduced to the American public as Trump’s campaign manager, his scruffy appearance made him seem merely uncouth, rather than a dangerous demagogue. After months at the President’s side, Bannon left the White House, declaring sotto voce that the president had failed in the role of figurehead in his war against the world’s rainbow majority. With the continued cooperation of a media at once shocked and admiring, Bannon used the latest White House blunder to warn that women will ultimately rule the world.
Whatever the psychological key to men’s emotional and physical attacks against their partners, Americans need urgently to realize that women bashing is an integral part of White Supremacy politics. which will outlive the Trump Administration. If the Bannons have their way, Trump's exit is likely to be followed by violence on the part of the gun-toting element of his faithful. While the new supremacists are unable to handle sexual liberation, rewriting it as misogyny, the old KKK is ready at any moment for a makeover, high time for the appearance of ‘Black Panther.
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