It’s 2017, and I’m finally seeing men being held accountable for their actions. I’m finally seeing men who have been so used to blatantly disrespecting, harassing, and fettering women to positions of submission being punished, or at the least, finally being told that their actions have no place in today’s workplace. A line in the sand is finally being drawn in 2017, with men in positions of power across the spectrum of industry, political affiliation, and hierarchy being told “enough is enough” and “we won’t stand for this anymore.”
Women in their fifties and sixties and seventies, women who experienced harassment but never had an outlet to face their accuser. Women in their 20s and 30s and 40s, who are in the trenches and who can finally climb out, screaming “NO MORE” and “RESPECT ME BASED ON MY MERIT.” Girls and teens who are witnessing, possibly for the first time in history, their male counterparts having to answer for their behavior. Instead of saying “boys will be boys,” these girls and impressionable teens are finally hearing “boys being boys is no longer acceptable.” Little girls, toddlers, will grow up assuming that the STANDARD, the FOUNDATION of their future will be based on mutual respect and advancement based solely on merit rather than primarily on gender.
Can you imagine that? As you’re reading this, take a moment, close your eyes, and imagine a future where women – ALL women – white women, women of color, women of differing ethnic groups, trans women – ALL WOMEN – can advance in the workplace without being shamed, humiliated, degraded, cast aside for who they are. How amazing is that?
Some women, women I know and respect, might be thinking: “What’s the big deal? We had to deal with it, and it’s tough, but no one ever said life wouldn’t be. We fought for what we have, and we’re proud of that, and stronger for it. What has this generation done to deserve having it easier?”
Well, see, there’s the rub. You, and your mothers and grandmothers, made it possible for us to be where we are, in 2017, holding men responsible for the wrongs they’ve committed on other humans. You were deep in the trenches before we even know that trenches existed. And, respectfully, the response is: “Why perpetuate what’s wrong?”
Which brings me to the man sitting in the Oval Office right now, drinking a diet Pepsi, eating a greasy burger, and tweeting at women using inflammatory and inexcusable language. This man’s claim to fame is pock-marked with harassment allegations, scandal, and failed marriages. He is known for making shady deals and cons upon the necks of other professionals, associates, businesses, corporations. He’s a classic example of how not to run an empire.
And yet, AND YET, we elected him.
We realized this man into a respected and honored position. We took a man who, by all accounts, is the king of sleaze, and built a pedestal for him. We gave him the launch codes. We gave him the White House. We gave him the country to mold and shape to his liking. This, the man who brags about his harassment ON TAPE. This, the man who tweets about private meetings and points his fat fingers at past presidents with obviously false allegations. This, the man who launches attacks against women of all backgrounds and involved in all industries, simply because they don’t agree with him.
And it’s not just women who disagree with him that the president is attacking.
The women who stepped forward before the election to face Donald Trump as their harasser are speaking up again. Seventeen women are now accusing our president of acting lewd in their presence at the least and sexual assault at the worst. Three of those women appeared on Megyn Kelly’s morning talk show to discuss the claims in detail. 56 female lawmakers are asking the House to investigate our president’s sexual conduct claims, and this news arrives on the heels of three members of Congress announcing their resignation over lesser claims of misconduct.
And what do you think is Donald Trump’s response to these allegations?
Does that reaction sound becoming of a man fit to rule our country? Is that reaction something you, as a taxpaying American, are proud of?
As if that weren’t bad enough, Trump backed and provided support for Roy Moore, a man who ran for Alabama Senate and stands accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls. The president claimed he’d rather have a dirty Republican in the Senate than a Democrat holding a cleaner record. Party affiliation over morals, men over women, good ol’ boys over the good of the country. Slice it however you’d like, but this is the man we’ve decided should make life-altering decisions for us for the next four years.
Luckily, decency won out, and Moore lost. He lost humiliatingly and embarrassingly, and added salt to his own injury by refusing to withdraw. Voters spoke up and handed the seat to Democratic candidate Doug Jones, a seat that’s been traditionally held by Republicans. But it’s worth noting that both Trump and Moore embraced a victim-blaming campaign strategy in which the female accusers were lying, and part of a sinister plot by Democrats to tarnish the names of “upstanding” men. Thankfully, that strategy had no place in 2017 politics and, hopefully, this contest sets the standard for senate races going forward.
We went into 2017 expecting the worst. We entered this presidency knowing women and marginalized members of society faced an uphill battle. On January 20th of this year, American voters with moral standards decided not to remain seated. Since election day, there have been at least 30 marches on the Capitol and four social media protests, publicly demonstrating against everything from the president’s disregard for all human life, to the president’s blatant dehumanization of women, immigrants, and people of color, to his neglect of scientists’ expert opinions on how to make the planet more sustainable. Nothing Trump has tried to accomplish this year has been met without an equal and opposite protest.
Donald Trump, President, has been everything I expected he’d be: brash, reactionary, immature, petty, primitive, and blame-shifting – all characteristics he told the voting public he’d change as soon as he got into office. So far, all Trump has done is unite people together in the fight to restore common decency to the country. There’s my silver lining.