The So-Called Conservative

Not long ago, I was asked to describe what it is that makes me a “conservative.” That’s one of those questions that always gives me pause. Not to be all “No labels!” but I generally subscribe to the notion that labels are lazy and loaded — particularly when they’re used simply to otherize. That said, they’re also convenient and, for better or worse, the way we peg others, politically, religiously, economically, etc. So they’re rather difficult to avoid.

Of course, there’s nothing more maddening than having others apply a label to you which is incorrect. Or which means something different to them than to you. Last night, I heard a pundit whom I’d generally describe as “conservative” refer to others with whom, at least until recently, he’d largely align politically as “so-called conservatives” — ostensibly because they take issue with a candidate who shall remain unnamed.

Well, Mr. Host, I disagree. There’s no one candidate or politician who serves as my political North Star and I refuse to place party over principle.

So, I’m just going to tell y’all what I believe and you can decide whatever label you think applies. Hello. I’m Susie:

As someone who spent the first 35 or so years of her life as a liberal Democrat, the realization that I’d become a conservative was a jarring one, though it didn’t happen overnight. It was a gradual progression, born of major life changes combined with prolonged exposure — for the first time — to conservative ideals expressed BY conservatives in a civil, rational fashion, rather than filtered through liberal (negative) channels. But it was still a very strange realization.

So what is it that makes me “conservative” now?  In fairness, I’m probably better characterized as a hybrid – a fiscal conservative/social moderate.
  • Socially, my primary conservative stance is that I am pro-life. Across the board (meaning I oppose abortion AND the death penalty, though the latter is tough in some cases.)
  • I am pro-law enforcement (though highly skeptical of a “police state” mentality.)
  • I am pro-military and am a bit of a hawkish dove (or doveish hawk.)  I believe in a strong military and the “peace through strength” approach.
  • I believe in hard-nosed, America first, foreign policy. But am skeptical of military interventionism — we shouldn’t go in unless/until we know what our aims are and have a solid plan to achieve them.
  • I am a Constitutionalist (not to be confused with a “Constitutional”) and believe strongly in limited government and federalism.
  • I support school choice.
  • I support limited social safety nets designed to help people get past the need for them. (Teach a man to fish, etc.)
  • I am a Christian.
  • I support religious freedom and believe that the state oughtn’t be used to compel people to violate their conscience and, e.g., participate in/provide services for ceremonies or practices which violate the tenets of their faith. Though I do support gay marriage from the legal standpoint, I understand that puts me at odds not only with much of the conservative movement but also my faith. I wrestle with that.
  • I believe in equal pay for equal work.
  • I believe that neither race, nor gender, nor orientation ought be obstacles to any particular occupation — skill set and ability should be the determining factors.
  • It’s okay for men to be men and women to be women. It’s also okay for someone to be confused about that and I don’t agree with reviling them for that, just as I don’t agree with forcing people to embrace it and tie themselves in knots (legally, verbally, or otherwise) in order to be deemed “tolerant.”
  • Live and let live – be kind, decent and charitable. Most things sort themselves out from there.
  • I support demolishing the income tax and replacing it with a consumption tax.
  • I support pro-growth economic policies — a rising tide lifts all boats.
  • I also support fiscal restraint; implementing a budget and adhering to it. Oh, and that would be zero-based budgeting, not baseline.
  • I’m agnostic regarding climate change. I don’t rule out the possibility that some of it could be anthropogenic, but I don’t agree with taking draconian measures in a misguided attempt to address it. Practical solutions – I’m a big fan of those.
  • I believe in protecting the environment and employing rational conservation measures.
  • On immigration, I support streamlining the legal immigration process to make it less cumbersome and complex, while strictly enforcing our borders and laws designed to proscribe illegal immigration.
  • I believe that character matters.
  • I believe the foundational principles of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution ought to be the guiding force for the way we govern ourselves and our country.
  • The Bible and the Constitution are my guideposts; the Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights my Cliff’s Notes; the Golden Rule and second sentence of the Declaration of Independence my bumper stickers.


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Pimps, and Punks, and Pooches – Oh My! Hillary Clinton Sets Off the Dogs

Maybe the dogs didn’t appreciate it when Hillary Clinton attempted to impersonate them.  Or maybe they just don’t dig her pinked and punked. But something prompted security dogs at the Art Basel Festival in Miami to react to a crate containing Clinton’s portrait this past Saturday.

Fair director Nick Korniloff said that the two dogs reacted to the crate during a pre-show check shortly after 8 a.m., prompting organizers to clear the site. Both the Art Miami tent and a tent for Context, connected by a tunnel, were closed off. The package was then searched and the painting of the former Democratic presidential candidate was found inside.

Police officers ran the 16 inch by 20 inch acrylic-on-wood artwork through an X-ray machine, which turned up no suspicious material.

The painting, created by artist Scott Scheidly, featured a punked-out Clinton, sporting a pink shag and a Joan-Jett-Meets-Pinky-Tuscadero studded jacket. Not a look I’d ever really envisioned for the Democratic presidential nominee, but, hey, that’s the beauty of art, right?

My favorite thing about this story?  There’s a companion piece featuring Donald Trump, all pimped out and looking for all the world like Huggy Bear’s long-lost cousin.  (Am I showing my age yet?)

Though it is still unclear what caused the pooches to alert, it seems a fitting commentary regarding presidential politics having gone to the dogs.

(H/t The Right Scoop.)

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BOMBSHELL: Audio of Corey Feldman’s 1993 Interview Naming Sexual Predators Is Found

The #MeToo Movement is having a big day. First, it snagged Time’s Person of the Year honor. Now, Fox News is reporting that audio tapes of Corey Feldman’s 1993 interview with the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office have been located.

While significant focus has been directed at claims from women alleging abuse at the hands of Harvey Weinstein and other bigwigs from the entertainment and political industries, an insidious companion story has been gaining steam, particularly in regards to Hollywood. As Kira Davis has reported,

Accusations of long-ignored pedophilia have begun to bubble to the surface as the documentary on the horrifying culture of pedophilia in Hollywood – An Open Secret– began to gain traction after two years of virtual blacklisting, and publications like Redstate brought to light long-simmering pedophilia scandals at Nickelodeon.

One of the clearest voices on that front has been Corey Feldman’s.  Feldman has consistently maintained that he and other former child stars were molested and passed around by Hollywood powerbrokers when they were children. He recently stated, “I believe that pedophilia in Hollywood is the symptom of a huge network motivated by dark forces. People cover up stories like this for power, for greed, and they choose to ignore victims because they don’t want to have to think about what they did or didn’t do that led to kids being in harm’s way.”

Feldman has maintained he named names to the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office back in 1993 when they were investigating claims that Michael Jackson for molestation. While the Sheriff’s Office has acknowledged they interviewed Feldman, they previously stated they had no record of being provided that information. Now, that has all changed:

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Kelly Hoover told Fox News on Tuesday night in an emailed statement, “Following the recent inquiries into the Sheriff’s Office interview of Mr. Feldman in 1993, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office conducted an additional review for any stored items remaining from the Michael Jackson investigation. In a container which included the original reports from the investigation, the Sheriff’s Office located some detective working copies of audio recordings made during the investigation. A copy of Mr. Feldman’s interview was located. The recording is being turned over to the Los Angeles Police Department. Due to the fact that this case involves the alleged sexual abuse of a child, we are unable to comment further and any documentation or evidence related to this case is exempt from release.”

The content of the audio is not yet known. But its existence may well corroborate Feldman’s claims. And if it does, look out, Hollywood!

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Do You Know the Positive Aspects of the GOP Tax Plan? I Didn’t. But This Really Helped

With every indication that the Senate has the requisite votes to pass the tax plan, as Caleb Howe reported earlier, it’s looking increasingly likely that a tax reform bill will be on the President’s desk before Christmas. Not everyone views it as a gift, of course, but the bill has its proponents from several different quarters.

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a Tax Relief event sponsored by our local conservative talk radio station, 97.1FMTalk.  The event was emceed by the station’s morning drive host, Jamie Allman, and featured David McIntosh from the Club for Growth, Brenda Talent from Missouri’s Show-Me Institute, and Adam Michel from The Heritage Foundation.

The panel did a nice job of hitting the highlights, emphasizing the pros and cons, and answering some fairly pointed questions from an audience which, while clearly supportive of tax reform, was understandably skeptical of the plan.  One of the most salient points they made was that economic growth is key to reform — and this is very much a pro-growth plan.

Brenda Talent, CEO of the Show-Me Institute, emphasized core principles, such as:

  1. Income belongs to the person who earned it;
  2. Taxes affect behavior; and
  3. Taxes should be fair, low, simple, and predictable.

Talent noted the growth which has already been generated compliments of regulatory relief under the Trump administration, inviting the audience to imagine what tax reform on top of that will generate. She also held up Tennessee, a state with no income tax, as a comparison to Missouri, noting their respective GDP growth over the past few years has run counter to their level of taxation.

Concerns were raised regarding the relative benefit of the proposed plan to “the little guy” versus large corporate interests.  And the panel acknowledged that there is danger in leadership being so busy helping the politically connected that they’re forgetting the working people, though again, they emphasized the benefits of the growth aspect (combined with the doubled standard deduction.)

Club for Growth President David McIntosh also noted that experience tells us when you lower the corporate tax rate, wages go up. Thus, making the business environment more competitive is of benefit to workers across the economy.

Talk turned to some of the proposed provisions, including the “trigger” to automatically increase taxes if the reforms don’t generate the requisite growth — something which no one in the room appeared to support. Then came discussion as to why there is consideration for an automatic tax increase but none for a spending cut. (Or an automatic decrease in taxes should it generate even more growth than predicted.)

From the latest reports today, it appears the trigger may be out in exchange for some other provisions designed to blunt the deficit effects. Of course, if the predicted growth materializes, that should go a long way towards helping address the deficit concerns.

The Heritage Foundation’s Adam Michel also noted that, while the proposed plan doesn’t address all issues, we should look at this as a “first bite at the apple” — if the plan passes and has the desired effects, there is no reason additional reforms can’t be addressed down the line. (Obviously, this requires the GOP maintaining its majority — which is far more likely if they demonstrate to the voting public they’re capable of passing beneficial reforms.) And passage of tax reform doesn’t preclude addressing spending, but it is imperative to get the economy moving again – then address spending.

There were some (arguably) idealistic suggestions thrown out during the question and answer section. Getting rid of the income tax altogether met with a round of applause (and knowing nods that this isn’t likely to happen.)  Removing the automatic withdrawal mechanism and requiring taxpayers to write quarterly checks was another suggestion.  Restructuring the tax code so that everyone has “skin in the game” was also advocated (and applauded.)

This was an informative symposium. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% sold on the tax plan, but this definitely helped tip the scales in its favor in my mind. Will be interesting to see if the GOP can usher it across the finish line.






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The News About Matt Lauer Gets Even Uglier

This morning’s news of Matt Lauer’s abrupt dismissal from NBC was shocking enough — even in the midst of the ever-increasing slew of sexual harassment, assault, and impropriety allegations rocking the political, entertainment and news industries.  While the initial accounts were rather vague (though hinted at something fairly sinister given the speed with which one of NBC’s top talents was given the heave-ho), later in the day we learned some of the gory details regarding other accusations of Lauer’s lecherousness, compliments of Variety.

Later still, we were treated to this cahreepy video of Lauer leering at former co-host Meredith Viera and casually, coldly commanding her to continue bending over so he could enjoy the view. (Have I mentioned how creepy this is?!)

Naively, I thought we’d probably seen/heard the worst of it.  But oh no – it’s far, far worse. Far uglier than I’d imagined. Tonight, the New York Times is reporting that since this morning’s news broke, NBC has received at least two more complaints regarding Lauer, one involving a sexual assault which occurred in 2001. The account, which the Times made a point to corroborate with independent sources, including the accuser’s ex-husband, is chilling:

On Wednesday, NBC received at least two more complaints related to Mr. Lauer, according to a person briefed on the network’s handling of the matter. One complaint came from a former employee who said Mr. Lauer had summoned her to his office in 2001, locked the door and sexually assaulted her. She provided her account to The New York Times but declined to let her name be used.


In 2001, the woman said, Mr. Lauer, who is married, asked her to his office to discuss a story during a workday. When she sat down, she said, he locked the door, which he could do by pressing a button while sitting at his desk. (People who worked at NBC said the button was a regular security measure installed for high-profile employees.)

The woman said Mr. Lauer asked her to unbutton her blouse, which she did. She said the anchor then stepped out from behind his desk, pulled down her pants, bent her over a chair and had intercourse with her. At some point, she said, she passed out with her pants pulled halfway down. She woke up on the floor of his office, and Mr. Lauer had his assistant take her to a nurse.

The woman told The Times that Mr. Lauer never made an advance toward her again and never mentioned what occurred in his office. She said she did not report the episode to NBC at the time because she believed she should have done more to stop Mr. Lauer. She left the network about a year later.

Um…that’s beyond disturbing. And the more of these stories which surface, the harder it is to believe that NBC was in the dark about their “star.”


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I Went to Church Today

I went to church today. I don’t say that to boast or brag. In fact, I’m rather embarrassed to admit it’s been maybe as many as six months since I last went. And, even then, by “went,” I mean “watched online.” Because this is 2017 and technology allows for that. Which is wonderful in many ways but not-so-wonderful to the extent it indulges laziness.

There was a stretch of time recently when I was actually physically going to church on a weekly basis. And I loved it. And I’ve missed it. But I’ve allowed laziness and the illusion of being “too busy” with other, “more important” things to lull and lure me away from it.

I love my church – I’ve been attending it on and off for a decade. When I first began attending, it was one building, located in Chesterfield Valley. In the intervening years, it’s grown to include a campus in Fenton and another in St. Peters and now, a brand new campus at Grants Trail in south St. Louis County. But as big as it has grown, it still feels like “home” to me when I attend. Because, in my observation, it has always stayed on message, on point. On God. I have yet to leave a service without feeling like God spoke to me and moved in my heart. So, while I understand and recognize the hesitation many have about “church” — both the concept and particular facilities — I’m more than happy to recommend The Crossing as a worthwhile place to check out whenever someone I know may be contemplating — however hesitantly — seeking out a church.

But that isn’t why I’m writing this. In fact, as I read back over the previous paragraphs, I realize they serve to highlight the question: If it’s so wonderful, why haven’t I been going lately? Laziness and busy-ness are explanations but not excuses. The bottom line and simple answer is that my priorities have been out of order. But even that isn’t why I’m writing this. I’m writing this to acknowledge what made me return this week.

Last Sunday, at around this same time, evil stormed into a little church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and did its best to rob the people worshipping there of their lives, their peace, possibly their faith. It lashed out at people, young and old, with heads bowed in prayer or voices lifted in song, and it attempted to destroy them. And, perhaps, in the process, frighten others away from gathering to love and worship God. For in the sanctuary of church, we aren’t typically on guard, prepared to do battle. Some might even say we are vulnerable.

That was my initial thought, upon hearing the horrific news last Sunday. But that was quickly followed by a sense of resolve. No, you don’t get to scare me away from my church and my God. Not with your guns, nor your bombs, nor your hate. Not even with your honest misunderstanding and mistrust of faith and of prayer. My faith is my strength, not my vulnerability.

So I promised myself I’d go back to church. Initially, I thought of it as a show of solidarity for the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas — and Antioch, Tennessee, and Charleston, South Carolina. But I realize, that’s hubris. My heart does ache for them and I will continue to pray for them. But, in truth, I’m going back for me. Because I’ve been the one holding myself back. I’ve been the one standing in my own way. And it’s long past time for me to get over myself.

So I went to church today. But I did it the easy/lazy way and watched online. And even as I’ve been writing this, I’ve realized that’s only a half measure. Next Sunday, I’m going to church. Today’s service included this song.

I want to be able to sing that and mean it.

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Coldest “Hot Take” on Texas Church Shooting

Karma.  Let’s talk about it. First of all, while it’s true that it’s often a b-word, it isn’t what most people misconstrue it to be. It isn’t “reaping what you sow,” or “getting your just desserts.” At least not in this life.  It’s what determines the nature of your next existence. So, invoking it as an explanation for something bad — or evil — which befalls another in this life isn’t just atrociously rude. It’s intellectually lazy. It’s the social media equivalent of writing a song about irony while using non-ironic examples.

But that hasn’t stopped one Twitter Wannabe Cool Kid from attempting to capitalize on today’s tragic church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and sharing his heartless “hot take” via social media. One Antonio E. Gonzalez is figuring that those killed or injured earlier today were/are Trump supporters so, hey, good riddance, amiright? This was the initial tweet I saw:

But then I went and took a gander at his timeline. And it all becomes ever-so-clear. Antonio needs some attention, so he’s going to give you his bad-ass hot take — several times over — in the hopes that you’ll notice:

Just in case you weren’t clear on his philosophy:

Got that?

What would possess someone to even think such things, much less put them out there for all the world to see?  Antonio explains it to us:

You see, friends, Antonio isn’t feeling well. He’s down in the dumps. So he’s feeding off the anguish of countless others. But, hey, at least he isn’t a Trump voter.

I hate to break it to you, Antonio, but that’s not how this works….that’s not how any of this works. Maybe someday you’ll realize how fortunate that makes you.


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I’m a Sexist Hypocrite

I realized something yesterday and it’s not something of which I’m proud: I’m a sexist hypocrite. As a general rule, I’m not a fan of criticisms of prominent women directed at their appearance. Catty swipes over Melania Trump’s shoe selection? Nope. Jabs at Michelle Obama’s wardrobe? Not on board.

I hold true to that regardless of the recipient’s politics. Jabs at Hillary’s weight or “cankles” during her presidential run garnered no applause from me. I just find it poor form. If you can’t debate someone’s policies or practices and persuasively point out how they’re wrong, resorting to mean girl tactics to run them down isn’t going to win me over.

I also hold true to that regardless of the commenter’s politics. Donald Trump may wear the Republican mantel but that doesn’t insulate him from criticism for his frequent, boorish comments to and about women. So, I largely agree with Patterico’s contention that Trump supporters have no standing to criticize the LA Times for its recent (since removed) passage referring to Sarah Huckabee Sanders as “a slightly chunky soccer mom.” If you champion a guy who regularly employs the rhetoric for which Trump is known, howling when someone turns the same sort of fire on women on your “side” is the height of hypocrisy.

But then I realized my own hypocrisy on the issue: It’s not partisan — it’s sexist. I don’t experience the same level of outrage or disapproval when comments are directed at men’s appearance.  In fact, I sometimes make such comments myself. I’d be lying if I said I’d never made a crack about Trump’s hair. Or claimed that I spoke up when someone poked fun of Barack Obama’s ears.

For some reason, I apparently find it more acceptable to critique a man’s appearance than a woman’s. I don’t think I’m alone in that, either. And I have to wonder…why is that? Do we just assume men are less sensitive to such critiques? Or that women are due an added immunity? I’m honestly not sure.  Nor am I sure just what to do with this newfound realization about my own inconsistency. Guess I need to retract my claws a bit more and ease up on the menfolk. Sorry, guys!

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New York Truck Attack Suspect Was Arrested in Missouri Last Year

Details regarding Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, the 29-year-old suspect in yesterday’s terror attack in New York City, are still emerging.  Brandon Morse has the latest updates regarding the attack here.  Early reports indicate he resided in Tampa, Florida, for much of his time in the United States, but recently moved to Paterson, New Jersey.  The Home Depot store from which he allegedly rented the truck used in the attack is located in close by Passaic, New Jersey.

But his travels weren’t confined to Florida and New Jersey. Saipov was a commercial truck driver which, presumably, is how he came to receive a ticket at a weigh station in Platte County, Missouri, in December 2015. The citation was issued for Failure to Equip a Motor Carrier Vehicle With/Maintain Required Brake System, a Class B Misdemeanor in Missouri.

Rather than address the ticket, Saipov apparently failed to appear for his April 5, 2016, court date and a warrant was issued. The warrant was served on him in St. Charles County, Missouri, on October 21, 2016, though the court records don’t indicate the circumstances surrounding the service. He was arrested by the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department at that time and posted a $200 bond. On November 29, 2016, Saipov failed to appear for his court date, a guilty plea was entered, and the bond was applied to his fine and court costs. The docket sheet from his guilty plea can be reviewed here: Saipov

Per the Kansas City Star, this was not Saipov’s only traffic-related brush with law enforcement:

According to court records, Saipov also was cited in Pennsylvania in August 2012 and March 2015. Records show he pleaded guilty to exceeding the maximum length for a trailer and to operating with unsafe equipment in April 2015.

In 2012, he was charged with failing to comply with license restrictions. That charge was withdrawn after Saipov pleaded guilty to operating a motor carrier vehicle in violation of driver out-of-service standards.

Ticky-tack stuff, frankly. Still, rather unsettling to know he was out there on the roads in a commercial vehicle.


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On Weinstein and the Message We Send

The New York Times ran a story last week exposing the sordid history of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predation and payoffs sending shockwaves through Hollywood and beyond. Many have rightly wondered since how this loutish behavior went on for so long without anyone crying foul. (Other than his victims who apparently didn’t warrant defending by those with power in the industry, though they clearly have no qualms calling out bad behavior in those whose politics they oppose — more on that in a bit.) RedState’s own Patterico wrote an interesting piece last night attempting to answer the question as to how the Weinstein story didn’t break before now.  He raises a good point about the Lee Smith article in The Weekly Standard which, itself, alludes to another Hollywood mover and shaker who, despite acknowledging his own depravity, is spared being named.

I was particularly struck when I read Patterico’s article by this excerpt from Smith’s piece:

Hollywood is full of connoisseurs like Weinstein, men whose erotic imaginations are fueled primarily by humiliation, who glut their sensibilities with the most exquisite refinements of shame. A journalist once told me about visiting another very famous Hollywood producer—you’d know the name—who exhibited for my friend his collection of photographs of famous female actresses—you’d know their names, too—performing sexual acts for his private viewing. As with Weinstein, this man’s chief thrill was humiliation, and the more famous the target the more roundly it was savored: Even her, a big star—these people will do anything to land a role; they’re so awful, they’ll even do it for me.

That last sentence called to mind the big story from almost exactly one year ago: Donald Trump’s obnoxious comments to Billy Bush on the infamous Access Hollywood tape. At the time, I wrote the following about the message we send:

Several friends shared this tweet by Kim Carroll (whom I do not know):

“If you’re making excuses for sexual assault because you don’t want to lose an election, you ARE Hillary Clinton.

I hesitated before sharing it myself, as I knew it would likely rankle some of my other friends.  Ultimately, though, I felt compelled to post it – and to elaborate on my reasoning.

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: I do not like Donald Trump.  I have never supported his candidacy – have,  in fact, objected loudly to it since June 16, 2015.  I have stated repeatedly that I will not be voting for him.  I also do not like Hillary Clinton.  I have never supported her candidacy and have stated repeatedly I will not be voting for her either.  My reasoning as to both is fair game for discussion but is not the purpose of this post.

The purpose of this post is to state why Donald Trump’s comments — and how we react to them — matter.   They’ve been excerpted (and replayed) elsewhere, but I will set them out here (somewhat reluctantly) in order to make my point clear:

Trump: “Yeah that’s her with the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful… I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”

Bush: “Whatever you want.”

Trump: “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Unlike some, I’m not overly shocked by the comments.  I have, in fact, heard similar statements before.  No, not all men speak like this – and no gentleman does – but some men do.  And it comes as zero surprise to me that Donald Trump falls into that category.  (Frankly, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.)  Actually hearing the audio and watching the video of him emerging from the Access Hollywood bus with Billy Bush only to make a show of hugging the woman whose appearance sparked their comments is a bit jarring – more so than reading them in print.  There is no question that Trump made the comments; we get to hear them straight from the horse’s [ass’s] mouth.

I’ve seen many draw the distinction that these are just words and not actions (like, say, another prominent male politician whose wife is seeking the same office as Trump.)  That is true (and I’ll circle back around to Bill in a moment.)  However, Trump’s words imply that these are actions he’s already taken. On multiple occasions.  What if he’s just bragging, though?  What if he’s never actually just started kissing on a woman without waiting? What if he’s never just grabbed some woman in the most intimate of ways without first verifying her consent (because “when you’re a star…you can do anything”)? We’ll go with that, and set aside the allegations that have been made by more than one woman that Trump has, in fact, acted in just such a way (because we don’t have incontrovertible proof of such – just allegations.)  This means that, in his view, kissing and grabbing a woman “by the pussy” (side note to Donald – it’s not a handle) without her consent is something to boast about; something which ought improve his image in the eyes of others; something about which men should laud and applaud other men.  It isn’t.  It’s sexual assault.

No, really, it’s squarely within the legal definition of sexual assault. Some may balk at that because it seems like such a harsh characterization, but that is exactly what it is.  And anyone who believes that boasting about either doing it or having the intent to do it is just hunky-dory, needs to be disabused of that notion right quick.  I say this as a woman who adores men and in no way views them all as predators.  However, I also say this as a woman who on occasion has been groped or touched in inappropriate ways by men (or boys) who did not have my consent for same, and yet didn’t feel I had the right to object.  I may have jumped away or yelped or even tried to laugh it off, depending on the circumstances, and to be very clear, I was (luckily) never harmed physically. But I was made to feel like an object, and it was and is belittling and demeaning.  In hindsight, I regret not objecting and not making it clear that this was not okay – for two reasons: First, because I believe many men, if they realized how it made women feel, would not engage in such behavior, particularly not if they thought of it in terms of their mothers, sisters, wives or daughters.  Second, because those men who simply don’t care how it makes women feel should not be given a pass.

Most importantly, I say this as the mother of a fourteen-year-old girl.  And quasi-step-mother to sixteen and eighteen-year-old girls.  And aunt to seventeen and twenty-one-year-old nieces.  I adore all these young women beyond belief, and I don’t ever want any of them to think that it’s okay for someone else to touch them without their consent, or to belittle or demean them by treating them as anything other than the dear beautiful souls they are.

So let’s be crystal clear on this: Kissing a woman or touching her private parts without her consent is NOT OKAY.  Bragging to others about having done so is NOT OKAY.  Giggling with others over your intent to do so is NOT OKAY.  And if you wish to be a nation’s leader, if you wish to have millions of people (including women) place their trust and faith in you to set the tone and steer the course for our country, saying what Donald Trump said is NOT OKAY.

“But it was 11 years ago!” some exclaim.  Yes, it was.  Setting aside that Trump was a 59 year old married man at the time, who hadn’t the slightest compunction about sharing with others his “heavy” pursuit of a married woman (Nancy O’Dell), that still isn’t long enough ago to excuse him from issuing a full-throated apology and repudiation of the comments – which he hasn’t done.  Nothing in his statements about it since indicates he has the slightest clue as to why his comments were inappropriate – only that he knows others were offended by them.

“Bill Clinton has said and done worse,” others point out.  Yes, though we don’t appear to have handy audio or video of quite such a crude comment or of his acknowledged indiscretions or alleged improprieties, I’m willing to accept that it’s extraordinarily likely that he has.  But nothing Bill Clinton has said or done excuses Trump.  Does the fact that many have elected to give Bill a pass and/or to deny that any/all of his alleged malfeasance actually occurred exhibit an ugly double standard?  Yes, it most certainly does.  If you’re willing to give one person a pass for the same thing for which you’re condemning another, purely because the political party/affiliation of the former aligns with yours, you’re being a disingenuous hypocrite.  And I have to acknowledge that I’m guilty of that.  I voted for Bill Clinton twice (though that was before most of his bad behavior was known), and I’ve even recently mused that I might be more willing to vote for him than either Donald or Hillary.  I was only half serious (as that’s virtually an impossibility) but I was wrong to do so, even if it was to make a point. The fact remains that Bill Clinton’s bad behavior – whatever your belief as to the extent of it – does not excuse Donald Trump’s or anyone else’s. 

“Hillary Clinton has enabled Bill and victimized his accusers.” This is often pointed out, as well. And certainly, if even half of the allegations are true, she’s rightly criticized for doing so.  But even assuming all of them are true and she’s as ruthless and calculating as many believe her to be, that still does not excuse Donald Trump – and if you’re attempting to excuse a grown man gleefully recounting his past (or contemplated) physical assaults on women because you don’t want her to win, then yes, you are doing the very thing she’s accused of doing.  You’re rationalizing bad behavior – which you’d likely not tolerate if it were directed to yourself or a loved one – for political purposes. 

Two wrongs never do make a right and the lesser of two evils is still evil.  If you’re someone who’s decided that despite his multitude of flaws, you’re still willing to vote for Trump in an effort to prevent Hillary Clinton from winning, I accept that, even while I won’t be joining you in that endeavor.  What I don’t accept is any attempt to excuse and normalize his comments or the behavior they describe.  They are NOT OKAY. And I don’t want my daughter, or yours, or anyone’s son to come to the conclusion that they are because we ultimately elect (or vote for) a man who thinks they are.  

Now, back to Weinstein. Just as “the message we send” matters when we react to bad behavior by a candidate or officeholder, it matters when we react to bad behavior by a movie mogul or actor or rock star. Or fail to react, as so many in Hollywood who had to know what was going on, seemed all too willing to do. Because it was easier to look the other way and excuse it. As long as they were benefiting from Weinstein’s favor, it was the expedient thing to do.

Something to bear in mind the next someone sashays up to the mic at an awards show and makes grandiose pronouncements about the character of our leaders and reminds us of just how brave and bold they are for speaking out.




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Source: Red State