Reaping the Whirlwind

Madam President

Shortly before the election, Newsweek went to press with an issue commemorating Hillary Clinton’s victory.  They made a business decision and took a calculated risk, and they lost.  But some of the inside front cover copy caught my attention:

…But as the tone of the election went darker and more bizarre by the day, President-Elect Hillary Clinton “went high” when her opponent and his supporters went ever lower….

Well, maybe.  Much of Hillary Clinton’s campaigning was built around the notion that she is not Donald Trump.  But, in any event, she didn’t have to run a negative campaign.  The media ran it for her.

It’s normal in politics to favor one candidate over another, and it’s normal (and appropriate) to point out a candidate’s shortcomings.  Ultimately, the voters assess the good and the bad about the candidates, and make their decision.

Donald Trump has made many insensitive remarks, some of them borderline racist.   But there is a big difference between making a racist remark and being an actual racist.  We all know people who are given to running off at the mouth and saying stupid things, but we know that they don’t mean anything by it.  (Alternately, there are some who would say that racism is America’s original sin and that we’re all racists.  But even then, there is a big difference between a mere sinner and a Ku Klux Klansman.)

The media seemed to overlook this essential difference.  Perhaps it’s that in the modern world, no story is worth telling if it can’t be told in five seconds.  Perhaps it helped to sell newspapers.

And Trump refused to play the game.  He could have walked back his statements and gotten all mumbly, and shown himself to be Just Another Useless Politician.

The media came to tell us that Trump is not just a man who runs off at the mouth, he’s a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic bigot.

It’s normal in politics for a candidate to call his opponent nasty names.  But among politicians, there are limits: after all, you might need a favor from your opponent, or his party, in the future.  This is the first time I’ve seen the news media vilify a candidate on their own power.

In fairness, there have been radio announcers and other public figures who lost their jobs over making insensitive remarks.  It’s totally OK, when assessing candidates for office, to make a similar judgement and hold a candidate’s remarks against him.  It’s OK for a newspaper to run an editorial endorsing whatever candidate the newspaper prefers, under whatever criteria they care to use.  What isn’t OK is for a newspaper or TV network to let their editorial viewpoints color their non-editorial reporting of events.

Perhaps it makes for exciting television.  But it can backfire, not just for the news media, but for the rest of us: what happens if the ‘evil’ candidate wins?

*          *          *

In other news, South Korea has been overtaken by political protests: people are very angry at their President, who is resisting calls to resign.  It seems that Madam President in Seoul, among other things, has been sharing government secrets with a female personal advisor who has no security clearance.

And we’ve hardly heard a peep about it in the US.  I wonder why….

9 thoughts on “Reaping the Whirlwind”

  1. Trump is a racist and misogynist. The proof is out there, he’s discriminated against blacks for example. Women, ugh he’s the worst of the worst and so is Pence. Neither believes women are equal and that’s immoral. Sorry but I don’t want to be a mom or controlled by a man.

  2. I don’t want to argue with you: you can’t convince me that Trump is a racist or a misogynist, and I can’t convince you that he isn’t.

    Yes, Trump is sexist, but not a misogynist, unless you deem him to be one because he ran an aggressive campaign against She Who Would Break the Glass Ceiling.

    Neither Trump nor Pence nor anyone else are particularly concerned whether you want to be a mom or not. As an individual, you are free to make that decision for yourself.

    But my point is that, by coloring their reporting with the editorial narrative that Trump is an evil bigot, the media did an immense disservice to this country. They’ve made it more difficult to move on now that the ‘evil bigot’ was elected.

    Indeed, their efforts may have backfired: in turning news into propaganda, they may have lost the trust of much of the electorate, so that enough people voted against the narrative for Trump to win.

    1. Actually both are misogynists and has nothing to do with Clinton. Sanders ran against Clinton in the primary and he’s far from a misogynist. Trump judges women on their looks and Pence doesn’t think moms should work. Both of them have stated moms shouldn’t be working. As for Pence, he is so horribly pro life that many actual pro life people think he goes too far. I mean locking up women because they had miscarriages? Let’s not forget that Pence stated women shouldn’t be in the military. If you think either is pro woman you are mistaken.

      As for racist, I don’t know if Pence is but Trump sure is. He was sued for not renting to blacks. He’s said evil things about many groups.

      Here’s the thing, you’re a guy and you’ll never know what it’s like being a woman in the workplace. I have been discriminated against for being a woman and have lost jobs to men. This happens a lot. Many women I know had problems with jobs after having babies. People assume women are a certain way.

  3. Oh, dear… by that standard, I’m a misogynist!

    I’ll be the first to admit that I judge women on their looks. Then again, I judge men on their looks, too. I even judge whether a person is a man or woman on… looks. Do you mean I’ve been doing it wrong all these years, and there’s a better alternative?

    And I happen to agree, in general, with Trump and Pence about working moms. A small child needs peace and serenity and someone consistent and loving to look after him/her, preferably a parent, and usually the child’s mother. My mother was very definitely a career woman, but she stayed home until I started nursery school. Sometimes it works out that the father is the better parent to look after a young child, and now, with technology, it is practical for some stay-at-home parents to work without commuting. But having a parent at home is best for a child up until about the age of four. In fairness, that often isn’t possible, and we all have to respect people’s choices.

    If this makes me a misogynist, so be it.

    You’re right that Trump’s organization was sued for racial discrimination… over 40 years ago. He inherited the organization from his father, and not that long before, discrimination was not only legal, it was considered a best practice. Trump changed his organization’s practices in response to the lawsuit, and that, for me, effectively closes the issue.

    You’re right: I’m a guy, and I haven’t experienced personally what it is to be a woman in the workplace. I can’t experience other people’s experiences, and so my interest is limited to asking: what is the government’s role? Equal pay for equal work has been the law for over 50 years now, and the anti-discrimination bureaucracy has been in place almost as long. I’m not sure what else the government can reasonably do, as people’s attitudes can’t be changed by fiat. I’m also not sure what difference a President Trump would make, as the laws and regulations have been with us for a while now, and are beyond controversy.

    1. If you truly believe a mom should be at home with her baby then yes that makes you a misogynist. I don’t think she should have to, it’s her choice, same as a guy. It’s attitudes like that which hurt women like me who don’t have kids because men just accept women are like that. Even though we have laws it’s not always in play. I went to the EEO because even though I did the same job as my coworkers I wasn’t paid equally and they got around it by giving my a slightly different job title. Trust me, being discriminated against still happens.

      As for judging on looks, I judge on looks on some cases but if it involves things like jobs, then it’s misogynist. Contrary to what many men think women don’t want a guy they find repulsive. I don’t date men I think are ugly.

  4. I believe someone needs to stay with the child, and in many cases, it’s most practical for that person to be the mother. At that point, it isn’t about what the parents want, it’s about what the child needs. If that makes me a misogynist, I’m sure I have lots of company.

    When I’ve considered candidates for a job–male or female–I’ve been looking for someone who carries himself/herself as a professional. A candidate who is overly fussy about his/her appearance gets a few ticks off, as some of the workplaces are dirty, and cringing or running off to wash are not options.

    1. Well, if it’s the mother making less or not making enough to pay for childcare, then sure that makes sense. However, just assuming that a woman who has a good paying career should quit, then yes that is wrong. If anyone stays home it should be the one making less. However, I generally don’t feel it’s right to pressure someone to do that.

  5. Even the military requires parents to have a child care plan, though that applies more to when a military member deploys., and factors in more when both are in the military. If a single parent is in the military, there has to be someone willing to take care of the child when the custodial parent deploys. Maybe it is the ex who serves as the carer, maybe it is the custodial parent’s family. It used to be that women were required to resign from active duty military after they had a child, but that changed after the Vietnam War. I believe that they were still allowed to be in the reserves or National Guard, and a child care plan would have to be in place should they need to deploy.

    That said, I don’t think that it should necessarily be the woman who stays home to take care of the children. It is more difficult for a woman to have an uninterrupted career unless she is some sort of professional and earns enough to pay for child care after taxes, preferably by a wide margin. One of the larger problems of childbirth is having some time off to bond with the baby, and it’s difficult to do that in a way that doesn’t appear to favor people with children. I liked the way that the federal government did it: you could use all of your accumulated sick and vacation leave for maternity or paternity leave, plus get up to six weeks of sick leave advanced. If you were planning to have children less than 30 months apart, you would do well not to take the advanced sick leave because you would not have any sick leave available for the next pregnancy. because the 2 hours a week that you earn of sick leave would be going to pay back the advance. You could also ask people for leave donations, but that requires that someone who makes more money donates leave to someone making less money, which is a benefit to the government if someone donates leave to another person who made two-thirds what I did, as was the case for our admin.

    I am of the “sexist, but not misogynistic” camp with Trump. There is an economic argument for women not to work while their children are small if they cannot earn at least enough to pay for child care net of taxes and work-related costs. The same can be said if a man is the lower-earning member of the couple.

    1. I do not get why someone works (either gender) when they pay more for childcare. I asked someone about that and she had a good explanation and that was when a woman (or a man, but it’s more women than men)take years off to be a stay at home parent it hurts their career. This way they are still in the workforce. My former employer had a great way of how they handled leave and that was they gave everyone time at the end of the year depending on length of service. After that, the employer had paid medical leave no matter the issue, one coworker had a baby, another had a stroke, etc. That was fair to me.

      I think when I joined the navy you couldn’t be a single parent because of child care. I know they changed this though.

Leave a Reply