I used to love politics. I spent my high school and college years volunteering, debating, and studying politics. The beauty of it, the part I loved the most, was the philosophical and policy discussions I’d have with friends with diverse opinions.
Man, could we get rocking. Things would get heated. We’d all hone our arguments and positions to be sharp and efficient. Logic was held sacred. And being false in an argument was the ultimate shame. It was embarrassing enough to one’s reputation if your research was poor or biased. But if you went the route of intentionally misstating facts, lying, using falsehoods, or attempting to sell “alternative facts,” well, you were simply banished from the club. The betrayal of the collective commitment honoring the objective realties of the political landscape made you unworthy of the group’s trust. And frankly, it was lazy and disrespectful of the group’s intellect.
That’s what I miss about politics. I loved to have to think hard, do my research, listen carefully to the details of my political opponent’s arguments to understand their perspective so that I could effectively communicate mine. Because the goal of the dialogue was to find the best solution, not to be right. We stood on the shoulders of solid thinkers whose passion for public service inspired our own.
And now we are here.
The President completely eliminated any joy I take from politics because he eliminated the ability to debate policies. He did this by giving men permission to sexually assault women with his “locker room talk.” Politics can only exist in my life if I feel reasonably safe from violence. And because the current president made it crystal clear he advocates and behaves by non-consensually grabbing women, I have no room in my life to consider politics. The only mandate from his election is that 46.1% of voters believe it is acceptable for a man to non-consensually “grab [a woman] by the pussy.”
When the candidate who became our president on January 20, 2017 said these words below, I could no longer consider policies and political opinions in my decision. My only option, I repeat my only option, was to do everything in my power to resist having a president who believes he is entitled to assault me.
Let’s recount here for clarity’s sake what the president said:
“Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. 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. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
He doesn’t even wait. The president doesn’t wait to grab them by the pussy. He doesn’t even wait.
Maybe he would wait to grab me by the pussy. I’m just not sure. Do you think he would wait to grab your mom by the pussy? Hard to say. How about your daughter? He would probably be more likely to grab her by the pussy if she’s young and beautiful.
As I marched yesterday, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that 62,979,879 Americans want a leader of our country that grabs women by the pussy. It came to me, along with my deep disappointment in missing real politics, that had that shocking presidential quotation not included the word pussy, so many of those almost 63 million would have likely thought harder about their vote.
Like me not being able to ever overlook that my president said he can grab me by the pussy, these Americans might have objected to a candidate who said he grabs people by the “dick” or the “hair” or even the “arm.” I’m convinced the only reason this president was elected was because he admitted he grabs people by their “pussies,” and not their penises or their hair or even their arms.
Imagine for a moment this alternative fact that your president said: “I just start grabbing them. It’s like a magnet. Just pull. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the dick, or the hair, or the arm. You can do anything.”
How do you feel about a president who grabs people by the arm? How do you feel about a president who grabs people by the hair? How do you feel about a president that grabs people by the penis?
If that alternative fact quotation above incites you to anger or disgust more that the presidents actual, factual, voice-recorded quotation, well, you are likely not alone. No one is immune to the internalized sexism resulting from living in a culture that systemically oppresses women’s right to free will and autonomy.
I miss real politics. I look forward to the day when I can have fun with and care about intellectual, policy debate again. In the meantime, I have to protect myself, and your daughters, and mothers, and grandmothers. Until I live in a country with a president who doesn’t believe he is entitled to grab my body and not even wait, my only purpose is to protect women from sexual assault.
We live in a country that now demonstrates to all Americans and the world that women’s bodies are public property. Or if not public property, at least women’s bodies are presidential property. I disagree. I resist. Is he my president? Shockingly, yes. Hail to the Chief? Absolutely not.