Copyright © 2016 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved
I’ve loathed Donald Trump ever since I first heard of him, ever since that smug, self-satisfied mug started leering at me from the cover of his best-selling 1987 (ghost-written) memoir The Art of the Deal. I hated him every time I saw him give his verdict, “You’re … FIRED!” on the promos for his “reality” TV series The Apprentice with all the humanity and compassion of Maximilien Robespierre or Josef Stalin ordering his latest enemy to the guillotine or the gulag. (I only watched the promos; you’d have had to pay me to sit through the entire show.) And when Trump announced his Presidential candidacy in June 2015 with his ringing attack on most immigrants from Mexico as “criminals and rapists” — and he promptly zoomed to the top of the polls in the Republican primaries, a status he never lost — I simultaneously quaked with fear and tried to hide my embarrassment and revulsion that at least 40 percent of my fellow Americans could actually want that thing as their next President.
So it’s much to my surprise that 16 months later, I’m actually starting to feel sorry for Donald Trump. No, it’s not that I have any more sympathy for him or his world view than I did before. I still see him as an ugly, spoiled rich kid with bad hair who inherited a nice little fortune from his father and built it into an even bigger one without any hint of conscience or scruples. And I still see his politics as a contemptible stew of conspiracy-mongering, attempts to appease the “social conservative” wing of his party — the ones who want to shove women back into the kitchens and Queer people back into the closet — and an immigration strategy to restore America’s white majority plus a tax plan to make himself and his fellow 0.01 percent richer and everyone else poorer. I’m also repelled — though not really surprised — about all the reports about his attitude towards women, which is if he finds them attractive to treat them as animate sex dolls and, if he doesn’t, to insult them with vicious comments about blood coming out of their eyes, or their wherever.
What I’m starting to feel sorry for Donald Trump about is the obvious loss of any pretense towards sanity. At least when Adolf Hitler went crazy — sometime in 1942-43 Hitler switched from being a rational, cunning person pursuing an evil agenda to someone insane — he did it in the privacy of his various bunkers and only the highest officials in the Nazi government had to deal with it. Trump is doing it in the glare of national TV and on Twitter, where he stays up until the wee hours of the morning and shares with us the ravings previous generations of madmen either wrote down in incomprehensible journals or muttered to themselves in the hallways of asylums. When he first announced his campaign, a lot of people said, “He must be smart — he’s so rich!” Now they’re wondering, “How did he get to be so rich when he’s so crazy?”
Trump’s public unraveling began on October 8, when the Washington Post — famous in U.S. political lore as the paper that brought down Richard Nixon over Watergate — ran a story about a tape recorded in 2005 in which he spoke to Billy Bush, a distant relative of the Presidents Bush and then a host for Access Hollywood, while Trump was on his way to film a cameo appearance on the long-running soap opera Days of Our Lives. It apparently started when Trump started celebrating the good looks of Arianne Zucker, the actress who was to appear with him in the scene — in which, ironically, she was playing a woman who offered to have sex with Trump in exchange for a job, which the Trump character virtuously declined.
“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump told Bush. “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. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” I can’t remember when I first heard the term “pussy” to describe a woman’s sex organs, but I think it was around age 12 — and I found it offensive then and still do. To me, though, even more offensive than Trump’s comments to Bush was his approach to Arianne Zucker once he actually met her. “How about a little hug for The Donald?” he said. So much for his later denials that he only talks this sort of trash about women and doesn’t actually do it.
The women started coming forward after the second debate on TV between Trump and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, October 9. Inevitably, Trump got asked by debate co-moderator Anderson Cooper about those remarks. “Yes, I’m very, very embarrassed by it,” Trump said. “I hate it. But it’s locker-room talk. But I have tremendous respect for women, and they have respect for me.” When Cooper asked him point-blank if he had ever actually approached women in the ways he’d talked about with Bush, Trump flat-out denied it — “No, I have not” — and then added what he thought was a sure-fire zinger against his rival’s husband: “If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine was words, and his was action.”
In the next 10 days at least 10 women who’d had professional or personal interactions with Trump started saying publicly that he had approached women in workplaces or in public and done at least some of the things he boasted about with Bush, including putting his hands on them (one woman said he was “like an octopus”), backing them into corners and trying to kiss them. One was a reporter for People magazine who said it had happened to her when she was on assignment from People to interview Trump. With his usual tone-deafness to complaints from women about virtually anything, Trump said that at least two of the women accusing him, including the People reporter, were too unattractive physically for him to have wanted to harass them.
As more and more women came forward to accuse him, Trump’s behavior in response went further off the rails. He accused the Democrats, Hillary Clinton and the media of being in a grand conspiracy to derail his Presidential bid. This conspiracy, he said, including getting these women to lie about him. Later he started saying that the conspiracy was really controlled and financed by “global bankers” — a term that’s been code for anti-Jewish attacks since well before the Rothschilds came out of the European ghettoes at the end of the 18th century and started an international banking empire that still is a major force in the world economy. That’s one Trump characteristic that fits the standard clinical definition of paranoia: everything bad that happens to him is the doing of a sinister conspiracy out to get him.
And Trump has usually been very good at getting other people to take the fall for him. Not only is he on his third campaign manager (as well as his third wife), but Billy Bush has already lost his job at NBC. Technically Bush is on “suspension” but network executives admit they’re highly unlikely to hire him back because they think women would be upset to see him on shows like Today with a big female audience. That’s one reason Trump really thought he could get the Mexican government to pay for his Great Wall — that and, as a real-estate developer, he’s always played with other people’s money and got them to front his capital costs. More recently, he’s said that Hillary Clinton should take a drug test before the next (and, thankfully, last) debate between them October 19 because she seemed “pumped up” — even though it was Trump, not Clinton, who sniffled so often and so loudly during the first two debates that some people have suggested he’s the one on drugs.
And that doesn’t even begin to address what Trump has been saying to the legislators and other leaders in his own party who’ve been questioning whether his nomination is such a great thing for their own political careers. When House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking Republican officeholder in the country, said he was no longer going to defend Trump or campaign with him (though he was very careful not to dis-endorse Trump), Trump responded in typical fashion with a tweet saying that mainstream Republicans don’t know how to win, but “I will teach them!” There’s been so much public bad blood between Trump and the Republican party leaders that political analysts are once again talking about a civil war within the party and perhaps even the collapse of the two-party system as we know it. (Don’t hold your breath; the Republicans were supposed to have been dead in the water after Barry Goldwater’s landslide loss in 1964, and they won the Presidency the next time. Likewise the Democrats in 1976 after George McGovern’s defeat in 1972.)
In one thing Trump is right. We have had sexual predators in the White House before. There are enough stories about Bill Clinton acting similarly pushy around women, if not actually raping them (as Juanita Broaddrick, one of the bedraggled ex-Clinton paramours Trump dragged to the second debate somehow hoping they would help make his case against Hillary, has always claimed), that we can readily believe them. And, if anything, John F. Kennedy of sainted memory was even worse; if you want to read the whole sordid story, pick up The Dark Side of Camelot by Seymour Hersh (an investigative reporter most famous for breaking the My Lai scandal during the Viet Nam war), who not only reported all the gory details of Kennedy’s meat-rack treatment of women but suggested that he would have lost the 1964 election if he’d lived because Republicans had enough evidence against him to break the code of omertà that kept the media from reporting about Kennedy’s sex life during his lifetime.
But Donald Trump isn’t running for President against Bill Clinton. At one point right after the second debate he said that he and his campaign team would “turn Bill Clinton into Bill Cosby” — the once beloved, now reviled comedian whose schtick seems to have been to drug women into unconsciousness and then have sex with them — which is just another example of Trump’s craziness. Whenever a prominent man is revealed as a sexual abuser of women, or even when it’s revealed that he’s been having a consensual affair, most people think of his wife as a victim. Hillary Clinton’s poll approval ratings were never higher than in 1998-1999, when her husband was impeached and threatened with removal from office over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Indeed, one of the biggest beefs the Right seems to have against her is that, by so publicly standing by her man, she got a lot of people to think, “Well, if Bill Clinton cheated, the only truly aggrieved party is Hillary Clinton — and if she’s willing to forgive him, the rest of us should, too.”
Just how Bill Clinton’s sexual abuse of women is supposed to be Hillary Clinton’s fault is something Donald Trump has never quite explained. At some points he’s called her an “enabler” — a term that got coined in the treatment of alcohol and drug addictions, which Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines as “one that enables another to achieve an end; especially: one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior ([such] as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior.” At other points he’s argued that Hillary Clinton publicly attacked the women who claimed Bill Clinton had abused them, and that’s what supposedly makes her as guilty as he. The fact that most Americans aren’t buying it — even people who wouldn’t vote for her if it would make hurricanes stop coming and Jesus return still don’t blame her for her husband’s roving eyes, hands or (to use a Trump-style term) whatever — seems just to be driving Trump crazier.
It’s no surprise that some writers, trying to look somewhere for a silver lining in the dark cloud that a U.S. Presidential election has become consumed by which person has the more sordid past in their dealings with women — one candidate or the other candidate’s husband — have said that at least the allegations against Trump will open a “discussion” about how men treat women generally and in particular how certain powerful men think they can get away with treating women the way Trump told Billy Bush a “star” could get away with. Like the “discussions” we keep having in this country about race, most recently about the persistence of racism in general and unpunished shootings of unarmed Black men by white police officers in particular, these “discussions” about how men ought to behave around women and how women should deal with men who “cross the line” — wherever “the line” is — never seem to solve anything. They just leave their participants with the glowing, albeit short-lived, illusion that these problems are being addressed.
The facts are that, as John Gray argued in his best-selling Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, men and women approach sex very differently. Men are more likely to detach sex from “love,” whatever that means in this context. Men are more likely to want — and, if they can find a willing partner, to get — sex they desire and experience as pure physical sensation, unencumbered by and untethered to any actual or potential emotional relationship. As a Gay man, I was always surprised that Gray and other writers never did the obvious scientific practice called “isolating the variable.” If your thesis is that men and women have different drives and needs regarding sex, and that affects and largely determines how they behave sexually, the logical way to test it is to look at people who don’t need to take into account the needs, desires and demands of the other gender: totally Gay men and totally Lesbian women.
I can’t comment about Lesbians since I’m not one and I’ve deliberately avoided questioning my Lesbian friends about how they manage their sexuality. But after having lived as an openly Gay man for 34 years, sometimes single, sometimes partnered and now legally married, I think I can comment with some degree of authority on how men manage their sexuality when they don’t have to deal with women. In general (and one rule about these sweeping generalizations about human behavior is you can always find individuals who don’t behave the way the generalizations predict), men do detach sex from emotion more readily than women. As I’ve told women friends, if you’re a man and just want a sexual experience for the physical joy of it, with no emotional encumbrances, you’re more likely to find a willing partner if you’re Gay than if you’re straight.
One reason I find it weird reading about what Donald Trump allegedly did to women is that I’ve been in plenty of Gay social settings, mostly at parties with only Gay men as guests, where hugging, kissing and even groping people you’ve never met before isn’t considered such a big deal. If you start doing that to someone who doesn’t want you to, either he’ll signal his disapproval by tensing up or quietly, politely, ask you to stop and take your attentions somewhere else. And yet the same Gay men who feel comfortable being at a party like that, letting their hair down and engaging in intense physical behavior with strangers would be appalled if someone did that to them in a workplace or a formal professional setting, the way Trump is alleged to have done with the women who have come forward against him.
There’s a part of me that’s always been appalled at how much of the interaction between men and women is based, at least from the male perspective, on lying and cheating. I remember in the 1960’s, when I was a teenager and just starting to deal with puberty and the burgeoning of my own sexuality, seeing ads for a book called How to Pick Up Girls. Judging from the ads, this book — which I’ve never read — was based on the premise that women are fiercely protective of their sexuality and therefore men who want to get laid can only do it by tricking women into giving it up for them. I also remember a book by Dan Greenburg called Scoring, whose cover depicted a woman’s body as a pinball table, with various scores over sexually significant areas like mouth and breasts and the highest score, of course, over the crotch.
This so-called “pick-up culture” was supposed to have been killed by the sexual revolution of the 1960’s (though for all too many women the “sexual revolution” became just another way for men to manipulate and guilt-trip them into having sex they didn’t really want), but it’s made a stunning comeback in recent years. Elliot Rodger, the alleged mass murderer in Santa Barbara in May 2014, read extensively in the modern-day online equivalents of How to Pick Up Girls and targeted both women he thought were harming him by not having sex with him, and men who were more attractive and luckier in the seduction department than he. In his lengthy manifestos explaining why he killed, Rodger described himself as an “incel” — short for “involuntarily celibate” — and said his killings were “retribution” for those who had put him in that status.
Another unhealthy thing about men in general is their tendency to use sex as a weapon for subjugation. Ever since men have been fighting wars, they’ve regarded women as one of the prizes of victory and rape as the conqueror’s due. Susan Brownmiller’s pioneering book from 1975, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, argued that rapists were “the shock troops of the patriarchy,” the enforcement arm that told women there were limits on where they could go, when they could go there, and what they could wear. No matter how often both women and sympathetic men tell rape victims that having been raped wasn’t their fault, the social programming that says, “If you hadn’t gone out at night … if you hadn’t gone out alone … if you hadn’t worn such ‘provocative’ clothing … ,” never seems to let up — and sometimes judges in rape cases explicitly blame the victim for her rape.
There are too many examples of people in public office or high-status private careers who push women around and try to force themselves on them in the ways that have been alleged against Donald Trump. What’s more, they don’t necessarily align where you’d expect them to along the partisan Democratic/Republican or ideologically progressive/conservative line. It seems that for every Donald Trump or former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who just a month before the Trump scandals broke lost his job over his alleged harassment of women (including highly-paid women anchors on the network), there’s a former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, former Congressmember Anthony Wiener, or former Presidents Kennedy and Clinton, who also treat women like meat. For years Filner kept his seat in Congress with the support of women’s organizations — he regularly scored 100 percent on the National Organization for Women’s and National Abortion Rights Action League’s ratings — only to be revealed as a serial abuser of women when he catapulted himself from the relative obscurity of a minority-party Congressmember to the heavy media attention of being mayor of a major American city.
Donald Trump strikes me as a man who for all his surface bluster is incredibly anxious about his own sexuality. He’s gone through three wives (so far), all of them supermodels, and he’s dumped the first two as if they were simply worn-out commodities, the way other men discard a now-dull razor. He’s publicly stated that he’s sexually turned off by a woman who’s over 35 or a woman who’s given birth. His obsession with building the biggest, grandest buildings possible and putting his name on them in the hugest letters he can manage sounds like classic Freudian projection. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he has a pretty small cock and feels he has to make up for that by building those huge erections and acting like a swaggering boor. When he went into that bizarre riff in one of the Republican debates and challenged Marco Rubio over the size of their respective “hands,” I couldn’t help but joke, “This is the best argument for Hillary I’ve heard yet. If this is how people with dicks behave when they campaign for the Presidency, maybe it’s about time we had a President who doesn’t have one.”
Meanwhile, this was supposed to be the week that Hillary Clinton was to be done in by the latest passel of leaked e-mails from WikiLeaks — whose founder, Julian Assange, became a hero in progressive circles by publishing Edward Snowden’s information and then turned out to have at least two open rape charges against him. They include excerpts from some of her secret speeches to Goldman Sachs and/or other financial firms and charter members of the 0.01 percent. These may or may not have been the speeches her primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, was after her to release, but as Doyle McManus noted in his Los Angeles Times column October 16 (http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mcmanus-wikileaks-clinton-revelations-20161016-snap-story.html), the real news story is how unenlightening they are.
“Take a deep dive into the more than 10,000 Clinton campaign e-mails published by WikiLeaks, and here’s what you’ll learn,” McManus wrote: “Hillary Clinton is a careful, methodical, tightly-controlled politician. Her jokes, her tweets and even her purported ad libs are often scripted by aides. She hates to apologize, even when she admits she’s done something wrong, like keeping e-mails on a home server. She’s a progressive, but not an ideologue; she yearns for ‘rational, moderate voices’ on both sides. Above all, she’s a pragmatist who’s willing to compromise — and to have ‘both a public and a private position’ if that’s what it takes to make a deal. … In other words, she’s a Clinton — a Democrat who believes in progressive goals, but who’s willing to trim them, postpone them, even throw them under a bus (temporarily, anyway) when practical politics requires.”
When Clinton got called on that bit about having “both a public and a private position” on an issue during the October 9 debate, she invoked President Abraham Lincoln as he was depicted in Steven Spielberg’s 2012 biopic Lincoln. The movie focused exclusively on the deal-making needed to get a lame-duck Congress to pass the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, in the early months of 1865 when Lincoln’s Republican Party had a majority in Congress but not the two-thirds needed to pass a Constitutional amendment and send it to the states for ratification. As I wrote about Spielberg’s Lincoln on my movie blog, http://moviemagg.blogspot.com:
Lincoln is a film mainly about the political compromises that had to be made to get the Thirteenth Amendment passed, and in particular the outright corruption involved in securing the 20 Democratic votes needed: Lincoln and Seward hired a man named W. N. Bilbo (James Spader) — apparently a composite of several real historical figures rather than a really existing person of the period — to offer lame-duck Democrats patronage jobs in exchange for their “yes” votes on the Amendment. The offers shade over into outright bribery at times — Lincoln and Seward had given Bilbo and his two associates a kind of nudge-nudge, wink-wink indication that offering cash bribes was not O.K. but offering jobs was — something Lincoln would have been all too familiar with because he got the Republican Presidential nomination in the first place through a similarly corrupt deal.
On the first ballot at the 1860 convention Seward placed first, Lincoln second and Simon Cameron third; then Cameron offered to withdraw and throw his votes to Lincoln but only if Lincoln appointed him Secretary of War — and Cameron immediately used the War Department to reward his friends in the business community with fat contracts and ran such a lousy operation that in early 1862 Lincoln fired him and replaced him with Stanton. Stanton did such a great job cleaning house at the War Department and making sure the Union armies actually got the supplies the government was paying for that quite a few people at the time believed that he had been the decisive leader in winning the war — which explains the near-religious fervor with which Congressional Republicans defended him when Andrew Johnson tried to fire him in 1868, leading to Johnson’s impeachment and near-removal from office.
Trump, of course, responded by invoking the myth of “Honest Abe” and expressing (or feigning) shock that Clinton would cite the man who never lied as her defense against the charge that she never told the truth. Ironically, in the February 2013 issue of Harper’s Magazine progressive journalist and editor Thomas Frank criticized Spielberg’s Lincoln for the same reason Hillary Clinton praised it (http://harpers.org/archive/2013/02/team-america/):
Lincoln and his men, as they are depicted here, do not merely buttonhole and persuade and deceive. They buy votes outright with promises of patronage jobs and (it is strongly suggested) cash bribes. The noblest law imaginable is put over by the most degraded means. As the real-life Thaddeus Stevens, leader of the Radical Republicans in the House of Representatives, is credited with having said after the amendment was finally approved: “The greatest measure of the nineteenth century was passed by corruption, aided and abetted by the purest man in America.” The movie is fairly hard on crusading reformers like Stevens. The great lesson we are meant to take from his career is that idealists must learn to lie and to keep their mouths shut at critical moments if they wish to be effective. Lobbyists, on the other hand, are a class of people the movie seems at pains to rehabilitate. Spielberg gives us a raffish trio of such men, hired for the occasion by William Seward, and they get the legislative job done by throwing money around, buying off loose votes — the usual.
If this sounds familiar, it’s the lesson Hillary Clinton tried to teach the American Left during her primary campaign, when she came close to losing the nomination thanks to the votes of a lot of young people dubious about working within the Democratic Party at all but, like Bernie Sanders, willing to give it a chance. She called herself “a progressive who gets things done” and basically suggested that her willingness to make deals with the devil was key to her ability to get things done. One passage in one of the leaked e-mails (http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/10/07/leaked-hillary-clinton-speech-to-foreign-bank-my-dream-is-a-hemispheric-common-market-with-open-trade-and-open-borders/) is certainly wince-inducing to those progressives (like me) who have reluctantly reconciled ourselves to Hillary Clinton as the only person who can stop Donald Trump from becoming President.
In a speech to officials of Banco Itaú, which is based in São Paulo, Brazil, Hillary Clinton said, “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.” Donald Trump and his supporters at the Right-wing Web site Breitbart News have seized on the words “open borders” as evidence that Clinton wants to throw the U.S.-Mexico border wide open and let all those criminals, rapists and maybe some good people flood into the U.S., take what few jobs are left here for people without college degrees, degrade our standard of living and turn the U.S. into a Third World country.
Its real meaning is less intimidating but more sinister than that. The “hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders” is a reference to the worldwide capitalist dream of a world in which every country is linked to every other country by one or more so-called “free trade” agreements on the model of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), negotiated by the George H. W. Bush administration in the early 1990’s and pushed through Congress by President Bill Clinton in 1994. The idea behind these “trade” agreements is basically to take governance of the world economy away from nation-states and give it to private corporations.
According to the terms of NAFTA and most, if not all, of the treaties since that have been modeled on it, corporations which decide that national laws protecting the environment or the health and safety of workers would cost them money can appeal, under so-called “investor-to-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) provisions, to private, secret, corporate-dominated tribunals. When these tribunals rule in favor of the corporations — as they almost always do — the governments have three choices: either get rid of the offending laws aimed at protecting their workers or their environment, pay enormous fines to the corporations that brought the actions, or risk being locked out of the global economy altogether.
What Clinton’s expressed dream of a “hemispheric common market” means in practice is that the government of the Americas — and, soon, the rest of the world — will be sub-contracted to giant corporations whose demand for ever-higher profits will overrule any local protections for workers, consumers or the environment. It’s a system the corporate elites that really rule the world are determined to impose on us all, and — as voters in Greece, Spain, Italy and elsewhere have already learned — they are too determined to push this vision through to let little impediments like democracy and elections stand in their way.
During the Democratic primary campaign, Clinton was forced by the pincer movement of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, both of whom vehemently denounced the “free trade” agenda of the corporate elites for the job-killing, environment-destroying fraud it is, to back away from what was supposed to be the crown jewel of the “free trade” agenda, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between the U.S. and 28 Pacific Rim nations. But the WikiLeaks documents indicate that Clinton remains a free-trader at heart. McManus quotes a leaked e-mail from one of Clinton’s speechwriters who had to draft a speech in which she’d come out against TPP. “This is indeed a hard balance to strike, since we don’t want to invite mockery for being too enthusiastically opposed to a deal she once championed,” the writer said.
So if, with or without the aid of progressives and Leftists reluctantly settling for her as the lesser evil against Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is elected to the White House, she’ll be … another President Clinton, figuratively as well as literally. We’ll have to do a lot of street protesting and disrupting to push her as far Left in office as we pushed her during the campaign, especially since there’ll be a whole network of corporate leaders and wealthy individuals pushing her in the opposite direction. And yet voting for Hillary Clinton for President in 2016 is essential because the alternative is Donald Trump, who — as much as the Republican establishment hates him — has throughout his campaign promoted a hard-Right agenda including massive tax giveaways to the rich, packing the U.S. courts (not just the Supreme Court!) with anti-choice and anti-Queer judges, locking the doors of the U.S. to Mexicans and Muslims and cranking up the “war on terror” to include out-and-out war crimes.
It is, of course, the structure of the American political system that forces such hard choices on us. America’s single-member winner-take-all legislative districts (mandated not by the Constitution but a law passed by Congress in 1842) and the separation-of-powers system that elects the President separately from the legislative leadership makes it impossible for voters to register their discontent by electing people from alternative political parties. It made sense to organize the Green Party in Germany, where the movement started, because once you get 5 percent or more of the vote nationwide you get that percentage of seats in the national legislature. It made no sense to organize a Green Party in the U.S. because those who did so — and those who vote for it — have essentially consigned themselves to political oblivion.
This year I’ve done a lot of reflecting on the irony that I’ve seized on Germany, of all countries — the nation that in the first half of the 20th century sparked two world wars and carried out the Holocaust — as a nation that does democracy better than we do and one we’d do well to use as a model. And Germany is a model for the U.S. in another way, too; their system allowed a woman, Angela Merkel, to rise to head one of their two largest political parties and thereby, when that party won enough seats to lead the country, to become their head of state without it being any big deal.
A far cry from the bizarre stew of sexual politics our own election has become this year — though, as tough and unpleasant a choice as this year’s Presidential vote is, it does my heart good to see a man with such horrible attitudes towards women as Donald Trump facing, as the last person standing between him and his heart’s desire … a woman. And a capable, intelligent, professionally and personally competent woman at that, a polar opposite from the successive bimbos that have shared Donald Trump’s bed!