I will start out by saying I think Trump is going to be the next President of the US. I’d like to say I don’t care and it didn’t matter to me. But in our interconnected world of course it does matter to just about everyone in the world, who is leader of the largest economy with 2nd largest military.
I won’t pretend to have too much insight in to American politics and I will confess that most of it baffles me. Why the hell has the presidential campaign been going for 3 million years? How has a racist orange Umpa Lumpa got in to a position where he is considered a candidate for any public office, let alone the highest?
In 2008 when we found out that Obama was going to be the next President there was sense of real hope after the dark years of Bush. I had just started my 2nd year of uni and watched Obama’s victory on a large screen in our students union bar on campus. It was exciting.
Now 8 years later and the candidate winning most of the attention? The guy who has now been caught freely admitting sexual assault on women; abusing his power and invoking his sense of entitlement.
Yet the fact Trump has not only gotten away with these comments but can actually still pursue becoming ‘leader of the free world’ is indicative of the far reaching success of the rich white man. (Well he is meant to be white I think… under the satsuma colour).
Then Nigel Farage, Britain’s most awful person, has come out in defence of Trump’s comments stating;
‘It’s the kind of thing, if we are being honest, that men do. They sit around and have a drink and they talk like this’
It definitely is the kind of thing that I have heard a few men talk about. But it is not something I have ever talked about with my friends; sexually assaulting women. Nor should it be something that we tolerate. It should definitely not be an attitude we promote or excuse. And ultimately it should never be an attitude that we allow in our leaders.
But none of us are that shocked by Trump’s words because, even if we haven’t quite become used to dominant males being so blatant, we have gotten failry used to this status quo.
In the UK we have whole raft of areas in which gender inequality impacts with women being paid less, facing greater discrimination in the work place, women have been hardest hit by austerity, they have less representation in politics and the media and women are much, much more likely to be victims of violence.
To a large extent male dominance is written in to our society.Let’s not forget when our last Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron in 2011 told a female MP to “calm down dear”. Is it any surprise then that gorillas (to use Farages’ comparison) like Trump and Farage are surprised when someone pulls them up on their attitudes to women?
Sadly, I think that there are three levels of response to this latest Trump scandal;
- Those people who back Trump precisely because of this type of attitude
- People who will continue to support Trump in spite of this; if they won’t ditch him for racism and war mongering, why would they ditch him for advocating violence against women?
- Those people who never supported Trump and so still won’t.
I would suggest that the first two make up the majority views. Let’s not forget that this is a dominant viewpoint in society. Being surprised by Trump becoming president will be like being surprised that people voted for Brexit.
Across the West there is a frustration with the centre right political ground which has continued to deliver nothing for ordinary people. As a way out, across the West we are seeing examples of people taking the easy way out by backing politicians and ideologies that present scapegoats to deflect their own responsibility in people’s dwindling lifestyles.
In a misguided attempt to improve their own situation people are backing more of the same. But now it’s ‘more of the same’ on steroids. As generally speaking the concept of right and left wing politics has disappeared for most people there is a misunderstanding that what we have seen has been various shades of the right. And now that political right is stepping up a notch. The UK Conservatives themselves have raised the right wing bar a few levels during their recent party conference.
The rise of the right also means the continued and increased power of patriarchy as the two go hand in hand. As we slip further down the right of the political spectrum it is worth remembering that hyper-masculinity has always been a feature of fascist regimes.
Those of us on the left, and particularly men on the left, must do all we can to promote the way we want men to be. Rather than laying out a full plan here of what that might look like, I would instead steer you towards A Call To Men.
Or if you don’t have time to read that perhaps just take this option for understanding how to oppose patriarchy and oppression; simply do the opposite of everything that Donald Trump and Nigel Farage suggest. If you do this you can’t go far wrong really simply because these men are the embodiment of everything that is wrong with our world.
Please not that I wrote most of this before the further revelations on 13/10/2016 of how Trump has carried out sexual assaults on women. I’m not surprised by these “revelations” as I’m sure no one else is. But I would still, at this point anyway, bet on the likelihood of Trump becoming president.