Trump as US president: Anyone but a woman

At the end of the day, nothing was enough.

 |  Rough Cut  |  4-minute read |   09-11-2016
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So America has chosen a bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic man as President.

Congratulations Mr Trump and best of luck America and the rest of the world. We’re all going to need it.

What does it mean for Hillary Clinton, a woman who embodies all the virtues that America congratulates itself on — diligence, dedication, a life of public service, and years in the public eye, braving scrutiny for not being a typical homemaker who sat at home to bake cookies, humiliation at being cheated by her husband, and constant vilification for having made money by hawking her speeches?

Worse, what does it mean for the next woman who wants to run for President?

A huge wall (not paid for by Mexico) that will have to climbed.

Even as opinion writers are scratching their heads about their Unknown Country, it is clear to the rest of the world. Americans are uncomfortable with women in power. Remember Sarah Palin when Senator John McCain chose her as his running mate in 2008? What was she except Donald Trump with better hair, smarter clothes, and Tina Fey to impersonate her rather than Alec Baldwin?

As vice presidential candidate, she was scrutinised as much and as often for her lack of understanding about international affairs as her xenophobia. The Republicans tried to rally around her, and while she was embarrassing and toxic, it was nothing compared to her greatest disadvantage — that she was a woman. Because nothing that she said (including calling the Republican Party establishment snakes and calling the media “lamestream”) is something Donald Trump did not echo, with greater force.

Even further back, anyone remembers Geraldine Ferraro? She was Walter Mondale’s vice presidential running mate in 1984, a peanut-butter-sandwich-making mother who waited until her own children were school age before going to work in a Queens district attorney’s office headed by a cousin. She was smart, had a way with words, but had a tough time answering critics of her husband John Zaccaro’s financial dealings.

Like Hillary Clinton much later, she was held responsible for her husband’s flaws. She faced misogyny, not just from men, but for men too, with Barbara Bush once calling her out on pretending to be middle class by saying she was a “four-million-dollar — I can’t say it, but it rhymes with rich.”

don-story_110916025605.jpg US President Donald Trump

It’s not that Americans have a problem with women in politics. They can tolerate them if they’re like Eleanor Roosevelt, who was powerful by proxy because of an ill husband (she was the longest serving First Lady as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s wife and eventually was appointed head of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in 1945 by President Harry Truman).

But God forbid that a woman should want to run for office and serve the American people. O no. God forbid that she has been as sharp as Hillary Clinton since her days at Wellesley (anyone who has doubts about it, please do read the promise she made to herself when graduating out of Wellesley in 1961: “For too long our leaders have viewed politics as the art of the possible. And the challenge now is to practise politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible.”) And God forbid that she was endorsed by another powerful woman, who also happened to be Black (no, not just Beyonce, but Michelle Obama).

At the end of the day, nothing was enough. Not the 112 nations she travelled as Secretary of State. Not the campaign she ran in 2008 to win the Democratic Party. Not the campaign she ran this time, trying to tell the American people that this was an election to define “who we are”. It’s a pity they chose to define themselves as racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, and anti-globalisation.

Michael Moore, who predicted Trump’s victory, called it the Last Stand of the Angry White Man. As he wrote, giving us a glimpse into the endangered white man’s mind: There is a sense that the power has slipped out of their hands, that their way of doing things is no longer how things are done. This monster, the “Feminazi,”the thing that as Trump says, “bleeds through her eyes or wherever she bleeds,” has conquered us — and now, after having had to endure eight years of a black man telling us what to do, we’re supposed to just sit back and take eight years of a woman bossing us around? After that it’ll be eight years of the gays in the White House! Then the transgenders! You can see where this is going. By then animals will have been granted human rights and a f*****’ hamster is going to be running the country. This has to stop!’’

It has stopped indeed. By a man who thinks that a woman exists so that her p***y can be grabbed.

Writer

Kaveree Bamzai Kaveree Bamzai @kavereeb

Editor-at-Large, India Today Group

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