When Donald Trump was partying in New York with now convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in the 1990s, few could have known that in 20 years Trump would pitch a bid for the White House.
The Associated Press reported Epstein was convicted of soliciting prostitution from underage girls in Palm Beach, not far from Trump’s Palm Beach pay-to-play private club, Mar-A-Lago. In New York magazine, Trump boasts of his connection to Epstein, who was convicted in 2007 of the prostitution charge:
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump says in the interview. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it ― Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
The two men are notorious for partying with underage girls and exploiting and sexually assaulting women. It should be enough for any Trump supporter to throw up their arms in exasperated disgust and support the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, even if they don’t agree with her because they know that a vote against Donald Trump is a vote against rape culture, abuse, prostitution, sexism and the oppression of women’s rights.
But in Ohio men are flocking to stand behind Donald Trump. Men I have talked to and interviewed are continuing to support Trump.
In a recent conversation about Trump’s sexual exploitation of women, one man told me he still favored Trump and said, “You can’t always believe what you hear.”
True, but it’s Trump himself on record saying that he was good friends with a pedophile for 15 years. This isn’t heresy. There is substantiated evidence that Trump has assaulted and abused women. One of the young women, who was allegedly 13-years-old at the time Trump raped her, filed a case against Trump and claims have been filed against Epstein.
In another conversation, I asked a woman what she thought of Donald Trump saying on record that he openly assaulted women and thought he could get away with it because he was a star. Her response was that she continued to support Trump, and that to her, whatever Trump has done isn’t as bad as Bill Clinton’s infidelity to his wife Hillary.
Hillary Clinton was a victim of her husband regardless of when she learned about his behavior. Trump continues to project himself in public speeches into calling out the Clinton sex scandal. He won’t stop because sexual exploitation is a big topic for Trump. It’s a part of his identity.
The thing about the Clintons is that their incident happened in the past and they have had 20 years to learn and reflect on their mistakes.
Trump is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl 20 years ago and even though that incident allegedly happened in the past, it’s actually not an incident that happened in the past. It’s an ongoing incident. He has a court date for the rape case and has continued over the years to make inappropriate and demeaning statements about the treatment of women. He has continued to exploit women over the course of the past 20 years.
Epstein was friends with a lot of people. It’s been reported the Clintons were associated with Epstein. Perhaps they were but in 20 years I have not yet read a statement in which Hillary Clinton said sexually exploiting young women is okay. Hillary Clinton will be the first mother to serve as president in the White House. Hallelujah.
Women have been treated as second-class citizens across space and time. Women were arrested and jailed for trying to vote before the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920. Some of the imprisoned women were beaten with clubs. The point is that the victimization of women has never ended. It is a space-time continuum.
Right now there are men and women supporting Trump because they like the emotional response they feel when he says something blatantly ridiculous. There are people who support Trump because they don’t like the Clintons. There are women who support Trump because they are unaware of their position in history and the fact that they are victimized descendants of ritualized oppression.
This isn’t new stuff. Abuse and victimization morphs into different forms and there are men who support its many different forms. That’s what their vote for Trump in this election means. It’s not just a vote against Hillary Clinton that propels support for Trump: the treatment of women as second-class citizens is so well ingrained in a person that they cannot see it for themselves.
In The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live in, John Lubbock writes, “What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”
Ignorance is blind. Faith is blind.
As Rosa Parks said, “Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”
Indeed they will. What message does it send to the children to see and hear on the day that they awaken to the state of the world that their leaders supported the continuum of abuse and the victimization of women?
Malcolm X said, “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”