The Type of People Supporting President-Elect Trump

The world has gone crazy. Donald Trump will be our next president and, for some, well, for many, all of the reasons he won have nothing to do with Hillary Clinton being a terrible candidate. Actually, it seems that even in losing, Hillary can do no wrong, at least as far as her supporters are concerned. Why take an honest look at her and the many reasons she lost when you can instead say outrageous and inflammatory things about Donald Trump and his supporters.

Robert DeNiro took time out of making his 13th sequel to Meet the Fockers and compared the loss to 9/11. Miley Cyrus tweeted a pathetic crying jag. Lady Gaga ran straight to Trump Tower for a photo-op. Her latest single isn’t doing well, so what’s a girl to do besides stand on a dump truck in front of Trump Tower. It is unclear as to whether or not Madonna is  too busy performing oral sex  on Hillary supporters to make a statement. Then there’s Beyonce and Jay Z. Are they going to take back the free tickets they gave to those promising to vote for Hillary?

But let’s forget the celebrity world that was sure they had America’s ear and could sway America’s votes. Let’s talk about the regular Joe going on social media declaring Trump supporters to be racists and misogynists. I mean that has to be it because it can’t be that Hillary Clinton alienated voters. It must be that everyone who could not, in clear conscience, support her has a white hood hidden in the back of their closet.

I’m tired of the Holocaust and 9/11 comparisons. I love a vigorous debate, but not when they are stupid, and comparing how you feel with the real victims, you know, the people lined up and shot by the Nazis or forced into ovens to be gassed to death, well, it is probably the most offensive comparison you could make. 

Hillary Clinton losing is not the same as the Holocaust. If you are one of the idiots saying that, please stop.

It also is not the same as 9/11. I was married to a first responder. He and many  of  his coworkers went  in daily to sort through ash desperate to find survivors. When they realized there were none they continued to sort so that families could lay loved ones to rest. It was awful.

For weeks we  attended wakes of other first responders. A childhood friend was killed that day. It took weeks, if not months, for his family to get his remains. I remember just how many other friends lost loved ones, firefighters and police officers who ran into falling buildings hoping to save lives while losing their own. 

So stop comparing Hillary Clinton losing with the selfless sacrifice made by our men and women in the NYPD and FDNY. There is no comparison. It is offensive to all of the lives lost and to the families that are still trying to pick up the pieces 15 years later.

Let’s also stop declaring those who voted for Trump racist misogynists. Race issues have been a problem in this country long before Donald Trump so why not address the issues and stop making him the scapegoat. Also while crying about the lack of diversity did anyone pay attention to Hillary’s diverse choice in a running mate. Oh wait! She picked a white guy.

I am not a racist. I am not a homophobe. I am not a misogynist or any of the other phobe or ists that seem to be getting thrown out there.

I’m a single mother who has made a lot of mistakes in my life but those mistakes never included anything discriminatory. I’m a single mom who works two jobs to make ends meet and cannot afford health insurance through my job because the premiums and copays are too high. I am a single mother who didn’t believe that Hillary Clinton would best represent me as president, and it is not because she is a woman. I would have loved to see a woman get there, just not her. That doesn’t make me evil or any of the other things I keep reading about the “type of person” I must be.

Other than my children there is nobody I owe an explanation to about the type of person that I am. I can only hope that the people who know me know what is in my heart. If you want to reduce who I am to one vote in one election then I think that is more a reflection of you than it is of me. Instead of casting stones and making awful and offensive comparisons to real tragedies, why not look at what it was that turned so many off to Hillary Clinton. I promise you that there’s plenty there.

 And give Donald Trump a chance. He’s either going to prove you wrong or he’s going to prove you right. I would hope that you’re rooting for him to prove you wrong because, in the end, he will be your president and you can be a part of uniting this country or dividing it. The choice is yours.

 

 

 

 

Sexual Assault and The White House

img_4311Donald Trump is guilty of sexually assaulting several women, at least if you believe the allegations popping up in the media over the past several days. Interestingly enough, these are not allegations that have ever been attached to Donald Trump before, despite a long history of making comments that could be construed as sexist. The allegations are gaining traction right before Americans cast their vote for the next president of the United States.

 

I won’t call these women liars or, in any way, attempt to discredit them. We’ve come far enough in this country, at least I hope, to understand the nature of sexual assault as well as the reasons victims don’t come forward right away.

 

Still, something feels very political about these allegations, even if it is just the timing, and I  can’t help but notice that Donald Trump is being painted with a brush that glosses right over a former president, and the man who happens to be married to Donald Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

 

Making it feel even more politicized was a powerful speech given by our First Lady, Michelle Obama. It was a very powerful speech with a message meant to empower women, but something really bothered me.

 

Michelle Obama spoke about Donald Trump’s words and the ugliness behind them. She spoke about parents being afraid to turn on their televisions out of fear of what their children might hear. It made me wonder if Michelle remembered a little ways back to a time when parents were wondering how they were going to explain what oral sex was or whether or not it was considered sexual relations. That was a conversation many parents could no longer avoid thanks to a story in the news about our president and his intern.

I listened as Michelle spoke about being shaken to her core. But I had to wonder why it was only Hillary Clinton’s opponent that had her shaken, had her trying to save our young women. What about Bill, Hillary’s husband? They have sold themselves as a partnership from day one, so why are they getting off so easily?

 

If a woman, or women, comes forward and claim they were raped, sexually assaulted, or sexually harassed, do we only believe them if we don’t like the accused? If the accused is a governor or sitting president, do we disregard their claims? The answer seems to be yes, whenever Bill Clinton is involved.

 

As Michelle Obama vilified Donald Trump, she gave Hillary Clinton a huge pass by conveniently forgetting the history attached to her partner, Bill. You can’t call out one while the other refuses to even address the allegations. And let’s not forget that Bill Clinton settled a sexual harassment suit while a sitting president. Does that not shake Michelle Obama to her core?

 

The shame is that it was a very powerful speech with an important message, but it also shows how far we haven’t come in terms of sexual assault in this country. We twist the message and exploit the victims for our own political gain and then say that we are trying to empower our young women.

 

Believe what you want about Donald Trump. The guy certainly makes it easy to think the worst about him. His attacks on the women coming forward, his claims that they were not attractive enough to sexually assault, well, they’re more of Donald Trump being Donald Trump. But while we’re recognizing that Donald Trump is capable of ugly, let’s not forget that so is Bill Clinton.

 

Like Michelle Obama, I am shaken to my core, but not just by the allegations against Donald Trump. I consider the allegations against Bill Clinton to be equally upsetting and worthy of answers. So hate Donald Trump. Think what you want about him, but stop conveniently letting Bill Clinton off the hook just because you really want his wife to win the election. She owes us answers too, and “when they go low, we go high,” is not an answer.

 

 

 

Politically Correct Slut Shaming

Today Joy Behar used her platform on The View to slut shame. Whether she considers the women in his past victims or consensual, she essentially slut shamed. And there is no chance that she will be fired. Of course she has already issued the requisite apology. Twitter has exploded, as Twitter does, but she will be forgiven. She is on the right side of the slut shaming.

 

Yes, I get it. She is a comedienne, and she was joking. But we’re not allowed to joke in America any longer. We’re not allowed to say anything that causes outrage on social media. If we’re going to become a trending topic, then we better make sure we’re on the right side of the trend.

 

So Behar called Bill Clinton’s women bimbos. On The View. She didn’t distinguish between the ones who had consensual sexual relationships and the ones that have accused him of sexual assault. There was no disclaimer that stated that a man in his 40’s, a sitting president, shouldn’t have been inserting cigars in the vagina of a young intern or accepting blowjobs from her. There was also nothing explaining that he perjured himself, as a sitting president, or any mention of him settling a sexual harassment suit. Nope, there was a generalized comment calling them bimbos. Not him. The women involved.

 

Even sadder was the discussion I saw on social media following her joke about those women. People that I know and respect said they’d believe the allegations against Bill when credible women come forward. In case you missed that, CREDIBLE WOMEN. Please let that sink in for a moment.

 

For years there has been a conversation about sexual assault, victim blaming, and the difficulties of bringing rape cases forward. There has been increased understanding regarding victims and the victim shaming and slut shaming that occurs that oven prevents victims from coming forward. And, I believed, we had become more educated when it comes to sexual assault. Someone with a colorful sexual history can be a victim of a sex crime. Someone with multiple partners can still be raped. And what is it that actually makes a victim credible?

 

Joy Behar is a comedienne though her joke was ugly. Her joke had the potential to send victims back under cover, afraid to come out. The comments I saw on social media had the same potential.

 

No victim of sexual assault should have to worry that they are not credible.

 

What does that even mean in terms of sexual assault?

 

Meanwhile the conversation will continue about Donald Trump’s ugly words. Billy Bush has been fired from NBC. As if that settles the problem. And then people who claim to be progressive will talk about the accusations about Bill Clinton and demand credible victims.

 

Joy Behar slut shamed victims today on The View, but she’s not the only one. The American public has been slut shaming for years, even the so-called progressives. Demanding credible victims shows that we still have so far to go. So let’s stop firing people because Twitter demands it and actually have a real conversation about sexual assault and support victims, not because we hate the accused, but because they deserve to be heard.

 

 

 

 

Picking and Choosing Sexual Predators for President

Many years ago I was one of the many defending Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky. I remember being a little creeped out by the age difference but overall believed she was of consenting age and a willing participant. I also remember feeling sorry for her in the aftermath. She was the victim of a major smear campaign, one I attributed to both Bill and Hillary Clinton. And no, there was no part of me that blamed Hillary for staying, even if it was for a future political career.

 

Politics is a dirty business and we were still mad at Hillary for declaring she was not some woman standing by her man and baking cookies. So it wasn’t a stretch to believe that she looked at Bill and saw opportunity and not love.

 

But anyway, back to poor Monica, the only one in that whole situation who paid a heavy price for her involvement with a sitting president, the same sitting president who had been accused of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. The same sitting president who ultimately settled out of court on the sexual harassment case.

 

I have a daughter who is now away at college. She is looking at internships. I look at my daughter and think back to a young Monica Lewinsky. I cringe at the thought of any man in his 40’s, a sitting president no less, engaging my daughter in a sexual relationship. Yes, she’s of consenting age, but what man in his 40’s, what man who has reached the highest office in the land, looks at a young intern and sees a candidate for romance. And that’s being generous. He used her and later allowed her to be trashed while he waved his finger and said, “I did not have…” well we all know the rest.

 

Sadly it took watching my daughter grow up to really feel the impact of Bill Clinton’s actions regarding Monica Lewinsky. Monica was one of his supposed consensual relationships though I don’t know of any company in this country that wouldn’t consider that scenario a major human resources disaster. CEOs are not supposed to have sexual relationships with their interns. Do we really need a rulebook to know that’s gross and wildly inappropriate?

We, as a country, are also to blame. We trashed a young girl, or at least, many of us watched, as she became a punch line on late night. She was publicly ridiculed in the media. Meanwhile Bill and Hillary went on with their political careers. They cashed in while portraying themselves as middle class and champions of women.

 

Monica wasn’t the only one we watched get destroyed. Paula Jones, the only one of his alleged victims to successfully beat Bill Clinton, was also dragged through the mud. Remember the jokes about her? The jokes about her nose or insinuations that she wasn’t attractive enough to be sexually harassed?

But that’s what we did to women in this country. WE did that. WE allowed that to happen and WE allowed it to continue to this day. Look at all the memes that still circulate about Monica Lewinsky. Then gasp when old tape magically appears in which  Donald Trump is heard making crude remarks.

 

Bill Clinton has lied every single time he was confronted with one of his transgressions whether we want to believe they were consensual or not. His actions towards women are predatory. If he wasn’t Bill Clinton we’d be calling him a sexual predator. Instead we find reasons to blame his victims, to not believe them.

Let’s not forget how many victims tried to seek justice for years when it came to Bill Cosby. Let’s not forget how his power, fame, and money prevented publicity and justice for many years, creating opportunities for him to victimize again and again. Then let’s think about what it must be like to be a victim of the president of the United States.

 

If you can’t get justice when it comes to a sitcom star, imagine trying to get justice when it’s the president.

 

So while everyone is so outraged about Donald Trump’s comments on a red carpet, a decade ago, maybe it is time to share some of that outrage. No. Bill Clinton isn’t running, but his own wife has said we need to believe victims when they come forward. Apparently she means just not her husband’s victims. And if you don’t want to believe that Monica Lewinsky was a victim, then look at your own daughter, your sister, any woman you care about, and ask yourself if you would want her to be treated the way Monica was treated, not just by Bill and Hillary, but by us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Shame or Teaching Moments

A teacher in Smithtown posted something on Facebook and now, depending on who has your vote, she should either be fired and sent into exile or lauded for being a truth teller. Follow the truth telling claim with all of the reasons you believe anyone who supports Trump is racist, ignorant, uneducated, misogynist…well, you get the idea.

Its almost as if nobody has ever said anything stupid or outrageous on social media. If you happen to be on the wrong side of the sentiment you should lose your job and face public humiliation. Right? And let’s not forget if you’re on the right side of the sentiment you are a victim of liberal/conservative thought police trying to interfere with your rights. Are you confused? Yeah. Me too.

I’d put it in the “everyone sucks and is stupid” pile except it seems that there is nothing that can ever be discussed, you know, like in a reasonable way in which people are able to express different opinions. Just once I’d love to see someone, anyone, write in a comment section or on social media, “You know? I can see where you’re coming from.” I’d also like to see peace in the Middle East and the elimination of famine, but I’ll start smaller and hope to see more reasonable conversations.

So this teacher wrote something on Facebook that was stupid. Yes. I think its stupid because she would probably be the first person to denounce stereotypes or sweeping generalizations of any segment of society yet there she is declaring that she can spot the racists based on their Trump gear. That’s like saying…well, scratch that; I won’t start throwing out sweeping generalizations because I think they’re idiotic as well.

I don’t want to see this teacher fired. I have no desire to see her publicly shamed and then exiled to some far corner of the world. Instead I would hope to engage her in a conversation. I’d like to show her that it is possible to have a different opinion, support a different candidate, even vehemently disagree yet still realize there is more to who she is as a human being than who she plans on voting for.

Trump supporters have gotten some bad press. Yes, there are some who deserve it, but let’s not forget that ugly sells so are you going to see supporters in the news who are educated nice people? Where’s the fun in that? No. You’re going to get people who say and do things that are awful because that makes a great headline and sound bite.

Let me spare you the list of Trump supporters I know that are not googly-eyed monsters just as I’ll spare you the list of Clinton supporters who are not always the nicest people in the world. I have no need to denigrate either side. Instead, I will continue to hope to have a passionate discussion that includes actual issues and not just regurgitation of a media narrative or insults wrapped up as discussion points.

I’m sorry that this teacher believes that she can spot a racist based on Trump gear. I’m sorry that she would be so quick to judge a kid who may or may not just be mirroring a parent’s beliefs. What I’m really sorry about is that even with believing her post was dumb, it has opened up more ugly instead of a deeper, more meaningful conversation. Unfortunately, the lesson we’re teaching our kids is not that different opinions are ok, but that if you say the wrong thing, you’re going to get a public lashing. Wait. Isn’t that bullying? Hmmm. I guess this is a to be continued…

 

Shaming Addicts and Little Kids

Police Officers in the City of East Liverpool, Ohio came upon a horrific scene. Two grown-ups were high with a young boy in the backseat. So of course what’s an officer to do but take pictures and post on the city’s Facebook page. I mean what else do we do in this digital age? I hope they had a Twitter and Instagram account too. Oh, and Snapchat.

The officers, or the City of East Liverpool, I’m not sure which, decided that enough was enough. They were posting pictures of those adults because the world needs to see the garbage that they deal with. Let the world see, and, in their words, they hoped that the picture would stop another addict from getting high.

Because we all know that public shaming will cure addiction. We all know that public shaming will prevent addicts from getting high. Ok, so maybe in some fantasy world there are people who believe that, and please God, tell me that there is no police officer in this world who has not been around this heroin scourge long enough that they truly believe public shaming will do anything to address the addiction problem. For reals? This is what police officers thought? And from some reports, a police chief? God help us all, especially the addicts.

I saw a headline about this earlier today. It made my blood boil. I took some time, gave it some thought, revisited it, and my blood was still boiling. I do have compassion for the child involved, especially considering that it wasn’t the City of East Liverpool that shaded his face. No, on their Facebook page his face is clear as day. So this poor kid has to deal with life with an addicted parent AND having the police officers who claim to want to help him putting his face out there for all the world to see. Because that helps him. How again?

Police officers deal with a lot of crap. I was married to one. My brother is one. My sisters-in-law were also officers. So I know the stuff they deal with day in and day out. But the court of public opinion, and certainly not the comment section of any social media site, well, they don’t take the place of anyone’s right to the presumption of innocence nor does it do anything to tackle the problem we have with addiction.

This post, by the City of East Liverpool, is doing nothing to combat the drug problem. Maybe the officers involved eased some of their frustration, but that’s about all it did. Oh, well it also gave millions of strangers the opportunity to call two addicts ugly names. It did nothing more. We should all expect more from our public servants, even while sympathizing for what they must deal with on a regular basis.

 

Bad Guys or Addicts

People don’t understand addiction. I don’t claim to understand it either, but I have enough of an understanding to not blame the friends of an addict for the addict’s bad choices. And I’m not even sure that they are choices.

Tonight I was watching one of my guilty pleasures, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. You don’t have to live under a rock to know that Khloe, possibly my favorite K, is struggling to help her almost ex-husband recover from a well-publicized and near-fatal overdose.

Until Lamar’s very public overdose in a Las Vegas brothel, his struggle with addiction was merely rumored in the tabloids. While it was very much part of the Kardashian reality, it was not part of their show. It was not something they posted on Snapchat, Insta, Twitter, or depicted in any of their Kimojis.

The breakdown of Khloe and Lamar’s marital bliss was kept from the cameras. I don’t blame Khloe. What to share, how much to share, and even when to share are never easy decisions. I also credit her for not only standing by him, but for seeming to want to help him stay sober.

But can she help him stay sober? There we see even the Kardashian machine struggle with a question the rest of us cannot answer because if we are to believe the experts, we can’t help an addict stay sober. They have to want it for themselves. Yet there is Khloe, who has beaten the whole weight thing, for some, an even bigger issue than drugs, setting Lammy up in a lifestyle designed to keep him away from drugs, and it still is not enough.

On the most recent KUWTK, or whatever the abbreviation is, Khloe is bummed that Lammy seems to be heading in the wrong direction. She doesn’t put this on the addict she loves. She doesn’t blame Lammy for his choices. She blames the crowd he’s hanging with, even calling them bad guys. I’m sure she’s even sent a few of her not so cryptic tweets.

 Lamar Odom, her not yet ex-husband, OD’d in a Vegas brothel. It was touch and go, and many, including the Kardashians, believed he had hours to live. No judgment here but if Lamar overdosed in a brother surrounded by prostitutes, is that really Boy Scout behavior. Why is she calling other addicts the bad guys?

As someone who loves an addict, I totally get the desire to lock up our loved ones and keep them away from all the bad influences. As someone who loves an addict, actually, more than one, I get that my addict is also one of the bad influences. I get that there is no locking him up anywhere. I can only hope that he will be one of the few who gets the right help and somehow stays sober, even if I am not quite sure what the right help really is.

I can only pray that he will not overdose after a period of staying clean. And I can pray some more that the sobriety will last. And that he will not overdose after a period of staying clean. And I can follow that with some more prayers that he will be the one out of ten that does not relapse. And yes, that his relapse won’t include an overdose.

So I have no desire to call out Khloe Kardashian. I think it’s admirable that she stood by Lamar. Nobody could have blamed her had she chosen to walk away. But after watching the show, I was disappointed to hear her describe his friends as the bad guys.

They aren’t bad guys. They are addicts. Just like Lamar. Just like the addicts I love. There is still no cure. The drugs that lead to heroin addiction are still legal and available after a doctor’s visit and at your local pharmacy. Say thank you to the FDA. They are your bad guys. There is too much money in addiction. The rehab industry, which is not based in science, not evidence-based, is a billion dollar industry. Until that changes we will keep hearing a narrative that calls the addicts we love the bad guys.

I hate a lot of things my addict has done, but he’s not the bad guy. He’s just one of the many millions with a disease that nobody seems to understand.