I make a point to meditate for half an hour at the start of each day. I do this for a handful of reasons, but one is because I’d always reach for my phone as soon as my bleary eyes held open, to see nothing but bad news. A half-hour of waking disconnect from the wider world, in a peaceful, mindful bliss is something that I value in modern times.
There are some days, however, where it doesn’t matter how tranquil you feel post-meditation, the second you plug back in you’ll be filled with a distant sorrow for the wider world once more. Today was one of those days.
At a rally last night, President Trump mocked Dr Ford’s testimony in front of a crowd of die-hard supporters. He mocked the back and forth between Ford and the Republican-appointed question-asker. I’m not being flippant here, I know Rachel Mitchell is a prosecutor, but that room wasn’t a court of law. She was essentially hired because eleven old men couldn’t talk to a survivor of sexual assault. But that’s a different issue.
Trump mocked the hazy memory of some of Dr Ford’s details, which was met with jeers and rounds of applause from the MAGA-base. Man, I would love to speak with some of those people as individuals, and to stop seeing them as a hive-mind mass of red-hats and hate-filled signs. I bet some of them are brilliant, hard-working people who’ve been told a lot of lies by a man they recognise from the TV.
This mockery was in stark contrast to his statements about Dr Ford a few days ago, where he said her testimony was credible and compelling. He almost sounded presidential in those statements, in that a president shouldn’t pick sides on this issue, and simply let the process unfold how it may. He said good things about both Ford and Kavanaugh, and I thought that was the right move for him.
For those who don’t see the issue with openly mocking a victim of sexual assault — What can I do to help you? Who hurt you? Seriously, get in touch with me and we’ll talk. Not in public on this platform, as people via email.
Besides the ethical issues of mocking a victim (not believing someone is different to making-fun-of, I should point out), it shows troubling partisan roots. If the Democrats are guilty of trying to block Kavanaugh, then Trump and his merry band of white men are just as guilty for trying to rush without due process.
Trump behaves differently when he hasn’t spoken to an aide in some time, or when he’s faced with people who love him, as opposed to people who feel indifferent. If you ignore a lot of the things that Trump has said at rallies in the last year, you can almost pretend that he’s just a typical, rob-the-poor, give-to-the-rich Republican who lacks basic empathy; The devil we know and who we can at least dialogue with.
In the last twelve months he’s definitely made his worst comments at rallies, which you can read in a couple of ways.
The first is that he feels more comfortable around people who show blind love for him, and so he is more like himself; The words that come out of his mouth on that stage are the truest of Trump, and everything else we hear are just carefully prepared statements to make him palatable.
The second is that he sees the rallies as a performance. They remind him of the days when he just had to show up on a TV set and people would revere him. So therefore they’re exaggerated and he doesn’t 100% believe the words that are coming out of his mouth; He’s simply playing to a crowd.
Of course, neither of those are great. The first option reveals him as the person that everyone but his supporters know him to be, and the second is far worse. In that he’s willing to tell people exactly what they want to hear in exchange for a quick and cheap display of affection, even if those words are damaging.
The fact that a man who holds the highest office in the land can mock a survivor of sexual assault is exactly why women are only now starting to come forward about their attackers. They didn’t think they’d be believed, they thought they’d receive threats, they thought they’d be mocked publicly. Well, in 2018 all three of those are still happening.
I’ve known victims of sexual assault and very few (one) went to the proper authorities about it. The court eventually decided not to punish her attacker, the reason being largely because he was young (21) and had his whole life ahead of him. There’s a reason that our society has the problem it does.
Maybe it’ll be easier when fundamentalists who’ve been raping their wives for decades because “marriage is consent” have died-off. Maybe things will be better when we have world leaders who at least treat victims with respect. Maybe we can start to combat this problem with proper education in schools, with frank discussions about consent and what it means to sexually assault another human being. Maybe.
My heart metaphorically (and possibly physically) bleeds for survivors of any kind of sexual assault, be they male or female. It’s clear from the president’s actions last night that we aren’t yet mature enough to handle the seriousness of their situations, and that their allegations will be handled exactly how they imagined in the depths of their worst anxieties.
Some people do lie, some people do make false accusations — But extensive research tells us that 98% do not. Call me crazy for siding with the statistical majority, and with those who face open mockery and persecution for speaking out.
This morning was supposed to be tranquil, so I’ve been listening to meditation playlists as I typed these words. I can only hope it mellowed me out a little.
Today is Wednesday, 3rd of October and America is getting its first panel-show in 2019. The British invasion is real.
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