Downtown View:Make America Grope Again

October 28, 2016
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By Karen Cord Taylor

First, thank you to my friend Alicia for the title of this column. It’s the sign her daughter’s roommate held at the second presidential candidates’ debate at Washington University in St. Louis.

We have to endure only two more weeks. Then this toxic election will be over. Let’s be clear: there is one sinister person—the orange predator—who has made it toxic. No more false equivalencies.

Friends tell me how they are coping. Some refuse to watch the debates. Others are foregoing newspapers. Some shut off the radio. They never go to Twitter. Others, like the Washington University student, are turning their disgust into great word play.

I have a strategy for getting through. First I explore all the possible names I can call that repellant braggart. Then I collect the ironies. Some are delicious.

For example, a Bush finally prevailed over that dirty old man who’s running for president. It wasn’t Jeb, but Billy, his apparently low-life cousin.

It’s juicy to follow the creepy bully’s sycophantic male hypocrites, who continually remind us about Bill Clinton’s sexual exploits, and in doing so, remind us also of theirs. Here’s a partial list: toady Rudy Giuliani, known for dumping wife two for wife three without telling wife two; repulsive Newt Gingrich, famous for carrying on with a congressional aide while his second wife was in the hospital battling cancer and he was impeaching Bill Clinton for an extra-marital affair. There is rich fodder here.

Poor, clueless Melania. She doesn’t have an ironic bone in her body. Yet she gets pulled out from time to time to undergo humiliation and show us what irony is. She copied Michelle Obama’s words. After her husband’s remarks about his success in “grabbing pussy,” she sported a pussy bow. She traded a good career for a boring life in the Trump Tower ghetto. Just because you’re young and hook up with an old, serial bankruptee doesn’t mean you should be put at risk of plagiarizing a first lady’s words or wearing clothing that emphasizes that bankruptee’s sordid sexual behavior. Melania is not up to the task, and the campaign is cruel to use her.

Locker rooms have also become ironic. How wonderful that the menacing 70-year-old trash talker managed to victimize men as well as women when he chalked up his degrading remarks to the locker room.

Ridiculously, when the slimeball criticizes his opponent, he is actually describing himself. After people suggested a cocaine habit might be causing his snuffles, he said Hillary should have a drug test before the next debate. He has no insight into what his remarks reveal about him. It is so weird.

So many ironies. So little time.

A more serious irony involves Republican dogma for the last 30 years.

What happens when you pass state laws restricting the right to vote, falsely claiming American elections are fraudulent? You get a narcissistic blowhard as a candidate who shouts “rigged” because he’s losing an election.

What happens when you reduce government spending and initiatives? You get a rotting America—bad roads and bridges, declining public universities that bleed students dry, messy health care that can’t be fixed because Congressional leaders would rather see Americans die or go bankrupt instead of giving their fellow citizens an affordable health care system that works.

Americans, you get no paid parental leave, no gun control, no government-subsidized day care, no speedy trains, no affordable colleges and no universal pre-K, unlike the rest of the developed world. Live with it, McConnell and Ryan say, and don’t complain since we are keeping government out of your lives—except, of course, when it involves women, who aren’t smart enough to manage their own reproductive systems. That’s where we’ll let government intrude.

No wonder people want to make America great again. I do too. And we’re groping for ways to do that.

Maybe it has less to do with nostalgia for an America that was more white and more to do with remembering when America dreamed and spent big. We built the interstate highway system, put men on the moon, fueled the fastest-expanding economy ever while the richest paid 90 percent of their income in taxes, declared war on poverty and passed some of the most important civil rights legislation ever. We funded public universities so well that in 1965, when my husband, who had graduated from two of those distinguished public universities, arrived at the law school of the “World’s Greatest University,” we looked around and said, “This is kind of shabby.” Those were the days.

            Best of all the ironies will be on November 8 if that insulting, misogynist, blubbery sexual predator loses. A woman will be the one to take him down.

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