Never before in the history of our country has male sexual privilege and priority been so nakedly on display. The second presidential debate will not be about the close listening that Clinton has done to those who supported her Deomcratic rivals, nor will it be about Clinton’s sponge-like absorption of the real issues facing black and brown communities around policing in this country and how her own connection to that past makes them struggle to see her as a solution. Tonight will not showcase her insight, or years of experience on the international stage, nor will it display her failings of private greed and ambition. Tonight will be entirely about how two cis-gender men define their sexuality in relationship to other women. The debate will begin under the cloud of one candidate having made public what is probably his usual private foul mouthed way of talking about anyone or anything he objectifies (which is most of the world); it will then play out with the reminder of another man’s dismissive, careless and usurious way of treating women (and also the world) as a weapon. Hillary Clinton could actually stay home tonight, and if this were the 1950’s, that’s actually what would be expected of her.
But in some crucial ways, we are still living in the 1950’s. Donald Trump should have been disqualified from running for office based solely upon his financial record…if not for that then when he started making blanket statements about ethnic groups. The level of outrage being expressed NOW seems WAY too little WAY too late. But then when I hear a Mike Pence, (who is the worst thing to happen to women’s rights on their own bodies since chastity belts) or any other male in this situation speaking about how having a wife and daughters is the main reason they are so offended, I am reminded what’s really going on. Whether it is Donald Trump’s ability to grab it because he’s famous or Bill Clinton’s ability to hide it at the dry cleaners or Mike Pence’s ability to legislate it because of his narrow view of God, this is all about the male gaze and male power over women. We don’t need the statue that’s been traveling around the country, Donald Trump and all ther rest of the men who can’t see women beyond their own pleasure are standing right in front of us, stark naked. Even for this gay man, the sight isn’t pretty.
I do not believe that all men are pigs. But Donald Trump is a pig. Bill Clinton is also a pig. Hopefully, Hillary Clinton will thoroughly char the barbecue at tonight’s debate. Then she should seize the opportunity to change the game by pushing that dish aside and diving into a substantive meal of policy, solutions and actually focusing on the business of governing…leaving the boys to be boys.
Thank you gentlemen…you’ve reduced our democratic process to a game of “I bet mine is bigger than yours.”