Monday, November 28, 2016

260. The four Trump tape possibilities

In my last column, I asked whether there was a tipping point for Trump voters. I remain flabbergasted that the Access Hollywood tape was not a deal breaker for more people.

The tape, in which President-elect Donald Trump bragged, in explicated terms, about sexually assaulting women and getting away with it because he was a celebrity, was headline news. Trump denied that the events that he described took place, even though nearly a dozen women came forward to confirm that what he said was true. Apologists tried to minimize the incident as locker room talk. In the end, in trying to ascertain the truth, and since Trump admitted it was him on tape, there are only four possibilities.

1. Trump was telling the truth and the women were telling the truth.
2. Trump was telling the truth and the women were lying.
3. Trump was lying and the women were telling the truth
4. Trump was lying and the women were lying.

Considering that Trump was recorded from a hot microphone and the women that came forward describing the incidents the way Trump bragged about, scenario number one seems the most plausible. When you also consider that Trump said on the Howard Stern show that he could walk into a beauty pageant changing room and get away with it because he owned the pageant, it demonstrates both a pattern of behavior and mentality. The things he said are so outrageous and nothing close to anything I’ve heard in a locker room, bar or factory. This wasn’t a consensual affair (which is also wrong but not a crime), it was an entitled sexual assault. Some people questioned the timing of the women coming forward. It should be remembered that it is a risking and invasive thing to accuse a presidential candidate of sexual assault. There are two events however that made it easier. First, Trump admitted on the tape that he did those things and second, there is safety in numbers. Once a couple women came forward, it was easier for others to do the same—like Bill Cosby and his accusers.

Scenario number two obviously makes little sense. If Trump was telling the truth, there would be no real reason for women to come forward and lie about it. None of them, to this point, seem to be alternatively motivated.

Trump adopted scenario number three. He said he was lying about what he said, that his comments were just locker room banter, and that the women who came forward were all lying. He subsequently tried to humiliate a couple of them and threaten to sue others. So, the question is, why would Trump say such things if they weren’t true? How insecure would Trump have to be to make up these stories with such graphic detail? I mean, at the time he was a billionaire and married to a young beautiful model, why would he have to lie about other sexual endeavors?  It’s usually the unsuccessful people that try to impress others with made-up stories and other exaggerations. If he did make up those stories simply to impress Billy Bush, it’s rather pathetic. It’s an ego that needs serious attention all of the time.

Scenario number four, like number two, makes little sense.

Thus, it seems either scenarios two or four are the most probable. But let’s put this in perspective with other situations—and remember that we are comparing it to, at the time, a presidential candidate for the United States of America.

If a child came home from school and reported to his or her parents that someone in the school administration said the things Trump said, there would be widespread outrage among the parents. Fathers would show up to the school with baseball bats. And whether it was true or not, the likely outcome would have be an immediate termination.

If a man heard that Trump did that to his mother, wife, sister or daughter, it is likely that a fight would occur, or at least the authorities would be notified. Guys have fought over much less.
For most men, even an accusation, with or without a verified video tape, would be enough to ruin their careers and/or cause them considerable shame. Even some extramarital affairs have ruined or ended careers, especially political careers—consider the fate former presidential candidate John Edwards.

In other words, the things Trump said would likely get a normal American citizen either fired, beaten-up or arrested, and yet this country somehow rewarded this man by electing him to the most powerful position in the world. We live in a country where people get mad over the color of a coffee cup, but sexual assault doesn’t affect women or the men who love them? Because the bottom line is that regardless of whether these women were telling the truth, Trump voters put either a sexual predator, or someone who thinks it is cool to pretend/fantasize about being a sexual predator, deplorably into the White House.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

259. What would it have taken?

Now that the election is over, I must ask Trump voters what, if anything, would have made the difference? Was there a tipping point when you may have realized you couldn’t vote for this guy from a moral or ethical perspective?

I sort of thought that the tape where Trump bragged about his ability to assault women and get away with it because he is a celebrity was going to be the tipping point—especially when women came forward saying he did exactly what he said he did. And that, of course, was after knowing that he was a cheater who regularly traded in wives for younger models and that he freely walked into beauty pageant changing rooms.

But there was much more. He was a draft-dodger and I thought that would offend military supporters. He didn’t reveal his taxes, although it was exposed that he didn’t pay federal taxes for up to 18 years. I thought that would offend every hard-working taxpayer. I mean, how can America be great if taxes aren’t collected to pay for our infrastructure, social programs and military? Conservatives throw a fit when poor people don’t pay taxes, but when a billionaire doesn’t pay taxes, tries to hide it from the public, you are okay with it?

He was sued for racial discrimination and regularly attacked Latinos and immigrants—wanting to build a wall and deport millions. I thought a more diverse America would reject such racism and archaic viewpoints. I thought Americans valued religious freedom yet he attacked Muslims for their religion. I He even attacked a Gold Star Muslim family whose son died fighting for this country. Many Republican leaders repudiated him and even Russia thought that was heartless. Russia!

Despite a multi-million dollar head start in life, many of his businesses failed and he had to be bailed out by the banks. Then he ripped off shareholders, while paying himself millions in salary, and often screwing over small businesses. Then he outsourced American jobs, and imported foreign steel as well as goods from Cuba. Why didn’t this outrage blue collar workers who lost millions of jobs? Why did people insist he was so successful?

If that wasn’t enough, he is a pathological liar. He lied so often that people didn’t even seem to care anymore. He was narcissistic, taking credit for everything while blaming others for his mistakes. He was a whiner, complaining about a rigged election and the media. Trump even vowed not to accept the results of the election, putting our democracy at risk. I guess people wanted to believe what he was saying, or just didn’t care if it wasn’t true?

Trump’s hypocrisy ran rampant, always in the name of self-interest—displaying no real principles or morals. Not a single major newspaper I know of endorsed him. He exploited every opportunity of society to satisfy his incredible ego. He even ridiculed a disabled reporter. He is a bully who constantly threatens legal action as a form of intimidation. And he has no filter and said incredibly stupid things like, “No one respects women more than I do.” Voters find no objectively or principle in their decision-making?

In a country where everyone is offended by almost anything, Trump voters are good with all of this? In other campaigns, even one of these transgressions would have ended a candidate’s future, and he is elected president?

It is not about Democrats and Republicans. It is not even about the Supreme Court. And it is not about being a sore loser. It is about a country that put this person in the most powerful position in the world.

The excuses that otherwise good people offered to defend this guy were implausible. It was like he had a cult-like following. The more people ridiculed Trump, the more people supported him. I’ve seen brainwashing, usually in regards to religion, and it seemed eerily similar. And Trump knew it . . . he could shoot a guy in public and not lose any supporters, remember?

I am just disappointed that this country has been reduced to the lowest common denominator. People don’t think logically, objectively or intellectually. And I don’t ever want to hear this is a Christian nation again—no Christian can rationalize their morality with electing this guy.

A Trump presidency, with a Republican congress, is a recipe for disaster. Healthcare will be ripped apart and replaced with “something terrific.” Climate change will continue unfettered, ruining ecosystems and environments. The rich will get a lot richer.  And, with less taxes, and more money promised to the military, the country will go further in debt. There will be no relief for middle of lower classes in terms of college debt or the minimum wage. With Trump’s vengeful arrogance, a war could be started at any time. His cabinet will certainly be filled with old, rich white guys who think like he does.

It should be awesome, just awesome.

Since Trump voters like when people tell it like it is, I am here to say I am thoroughly and completely embarrassed by outcome of this election—domestically and for this country’s reputation around the world. His election is several major steps backward and it’s not funny; this is not a game where we just throw someone new in there and see how it does. It’s real-life, with real consequences.

So seriously, what would it have taken? I need to understand.