Monday, July 25, 2016

On Identity Politics. George Lakoff and Sean Duffy Opine. Echidne Responds.


Serendipity often plays a large role in what I end up writing.

As one example, I just read George Lakoff's  linguistic piece about how the Democrats should respond to Trump and other  right-wingers, and then, in that oddly serendipitous way, I read the identity politics opinion of one right-winger, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI).

The two gentlemen are light years apart in most of their politics, but what they have to say about identity politics* is weirdly similar.  Maybe that's because they belong to the same identity group (white guys)?

Let's start by looking at Rep. Duffy's statement:

During a CNN interview this morning, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) acknowledged the Trump phenomenon for what it is — identity politics for white men.
While opining about Trump’s RNC-closing speech, Duffy said, “There’s a viewpoint that says, ‘I can fight for minorities, and I can fight for women,’ and if you get that, you make up a vast majority of the voting block and you win. And white males have been left aside a little bit in the politics of who speaks to them.”
Duffy’s implication is that in Trump, white guys have finally found a candidate who speaks to their concerns.

Whether or not they’re effectively communicating to white male voters, white men are certainly still well represented in Congress. When the 114th Congress was sworn in in January 2015, 80 percent of members were white males. By contrast, white guys only make up roughly 31 percent of the American population.

Bolds, they are mine.

White guys make up the American society's top layers in almost everything one can think of: politics, business, arts and literature, entertainment,  journalism, science, medicine, religious and sports organizations etc. etc.  White guys earn more, on average, than almost all other racial and gender groups.**

Being a white guy in the US doesn't automatically mean that one will be powerful, of course.  There are very poor white men, there are homeless white men, there are white men with horrible problems to cope with, and to the extent the problems of these individuals are amenable to political solutions politicians should try to solve them.

But the crucial point is that it's not being white-and-male which causes problems such as poverty.  Indeed, out of the many gender-race combinations the one that results in the least amount of unfair treatment is the combination of white and male.***

So much for Rep. Duffy's opinions.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Putin and Trump, Sitting In The Tree. K-i-s-s-i-n-g?


That's from a children's song.  It's a very clever headline, even if I say so myself, for a post which is about the possible debt Donald Trump owes Vladimir Putin.

Josh Marshall writes about evidence which just might suggest that Trump gets a lot of his funding from Russia in general and a few Russian oligarchs close to Putin in particular.  You should read Josh's post to judge for yourself, but here's where I get concerned:

That Trump owes a lot of money to Russian interests could be the reason why he has not released information on his taxes:

After his bankruptcy and business failures roughly a decade ago Trump has had an increasingly difficult time finding sources of capital for new investments. As I noted above, Trump has been blackballed by all major US banks with the exception of Deutschebank, which is of course a foreign bank with a major US presence. He has steadied and rebuilt his financial empire with a heavy reliance on capital from Russia. At a minimum the Trump organization is receiving lots of investment capital from people close to Vladimir Putin.
Trump's tax returns would likely clarify the depth of his connections to and dependence on Russian capital aligned with Putin. And in case you're keeping score at home: no, that's not reassuring.

It's a possible explanation for Trump's refusal to disclose his tax returns, and it could also explain why Trump hemmed and hawed about NATO coming to the aid of the Baltic states should Putin decide to re-annex them to Russia.

Maybe none of this is correct?  The real problem is, naturally, that the other Republican presidential candidates failed to start their smear machines against Trump early enough in the process, what with vastly over-estimating the smarts of American right-tilting voters.

Thus, it's only now in the general election stage that more facts and speculation surfaces about Trump, including the question whether he might, in fact, be kissing in a tree with the other wannabe rightist dictator of the somewhat modern world.

As Charlie Pearce writes:

This should be the only story about the Trump campaign until he comes clean. It should be the only question anybody asks him. Frankly, even beyond the threat to this election, it's a measure of the pure arrogance of He, Trump. And if Trump thinks his ability to game the American real-estate market, and his success at swindling the rubes who signed up for Trump University, makes him ready to deal with a guy who managed to survive a career at the top-level of the KGB only to make himself the presiding autocrat of the world's leading kleptocracy, I'd like to be there when he finds out how wrong he is.

Bolds are mine.


I'm not going to sleep well...

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Shorter Version of Trump's Acceptance Speech


Imagine this scenario:  You are in a physician's office, waiting to get the diagnosis for that nagging pain you've had for a while.  Your doctor steps out to get some of the test results, and you sit there, biting your nails.

Suddenly the door opens and in comes an orangey guy with a very weird hairdo, dressed in Speedos and carrying a hammer and a saw.  He takes your doctor's place behind the desk and tells you that he's your new surgeon, that you have a condition that will kill you, slowly and painfully, and that all there is between you and a miserable death is this man:  Your surgeon, a man who dares all, who can fix all, but only he can help you.  He knows how rotten the medical system is and that's why most of the time he works as junk bond trader.  And what you need is someone untainted by the system.

Everyone inside the medical system is an elitist money-grabber, only wanting to exploit you and responsible for your pain.  And you are gonna die!  Unless he is allowed to hit you with the hammer and then saw a couple of fingers off.

Well, he isn't going to tell you how that will cure you, and you mustn't ask any questions, either.  You must obey.  If you obey, he will save your life, and make sure that you can skip all waiting lines while other patients are left to suffer.  If you obey (and click your heels together and make the right gestures), then the gloom, the sinister gloom will be lifted, and you will be saved.

Otherwise you are gonna croak.

That's not as good as it sounded inside my head, but then neither is Trump's actual speech.  I can't be bothered with the fact-checking which you can get elsewhere.  But it's worth noting that the speech wasn't meant to be about facts: It was all about fear and an odd kind of careless fascism as the remedy for fear.

What makes that fascism careless is this:  If you read the speech carefully you will notice that Trump only mentions two actual policies he would carry out, and they are a) ban immigration from certain Muslim countries, and b) erect a giant wall between Mexico and the US.

He also vaguely promises to get rid of crime by 2017 or so (except that most crime is fought on the state and local level, not on the Federal level), to fix the labor markets, to pull the US out of most international trade agreements (which presumably would have no repercussions) and to simply wipe out all terrorism (which he wouldn't be able to do).

But none of that matters to the true believers.  For them the speech gave much:  Hillary Clinton is responsible for everything that has gone wrong in the world since 2009!  She is so powerful that some might then conclude she should be the president, or at least that no earthly power could keep her away, given her superpowers.

On the other hand, she is also a hybrid of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Ivan the Terrible and every single woman who refused any Republican man the blowjob he felt entitled to.  That, my friends, is how the Trumpians* see Hillary Clinton, the unacceptable alternative to Donald Trump.

The true believers also heard Trump's law-and-order arguments.  To me they sounded fascist, but to the Trumpian believers they meant something different:

To regain control over the country and the globe, to restore the old racist and gender hierarchies, to remove all that fear Trump was fanning as the engine of his speech.  That Trump gave only two policies for achieving such a heaven (or hell, depending on which side of the various walls you might be) means that all the law-and-order talk was gesturing, intended to provoke the desired emotions and to provide some temporary relief from the gnawing anxiety and burning rage.

But only temporary relief, because the anger must not go away before the elections.  What happens after the elections is irrelevant to Donald Trump, though it's pretty clear to anyone who can put two thoughts together that he can't do what he promises in that speech, just as my trader-doctor cannot cure a patient with a hammer and a saw, and that those who adore him now would be discarded as no longer useful once Donald gets the crown.

Was there anything in the speech, anything at all,  that might be worth thinking about?

I believe that the effects of globalization on American working class people is the one serious part of the general Trumpian anger** that deserves attention from the Democrats.

The mainstream Republican Party is a lost cause when it comes to caring about jobs for the ordinary people, but the Democratic Party shouldn't be that.  Globalization has raised the incomes of the very rich in this world and may have helped certain groups of the poor, especially in China, but the earnings of the working class people in the industrialized West have stagnated.

But other than that the speech was almost exactly the equivalent of the little parable at the beginning of this post.  Frightening.


-----
* My term for the supporters of Donald Trump.
**  The part that comes from sexism, racism and other nasty -isms needs the attentions of a therapist, not the attentions of politicians, at least in the sense of re-creating a more unfair and unequal world.
***  Though I did find bits of it funny, such as the few paragraphs adding all the traditional Republican stuff about cutting taxes for the rich, to help the middle classes, killing the chances of any decent health care for lots of Americans and so on.  Those are probably the bits in the speech that Trump-the-president would actually try to carry out, or let Mike Pence do it for him while he takes care of America's greatness.      










Thursday, July 21, 2016

Trump Thoughts. On the Republican National Conference.


- How did you react when you learned that Donald Trump, had said this?

Trump added that, if elected, the U.S. would not automatically guarantee security to the 28 members of NATO. Russia recently started a review of the terms of Baltic countries' independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.
The GOP presidential candidate told the Times he would decide to go to the aid of small Baltic states only once he reviewed whether they had "fulfilled their obligations to us."
He added, "If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes."

My blood froze.  Honest.  That's because the man treats the large and complicated diplomatic pyramids as a toy from which he can pull out one of the bottom slabs and not have the pyramid collapse.  He believes the United States can simply disregard any contract it has entered, with no repercussions.

A "rookie mistake,' this was called.  But if you aim for the presidency of the most powerful country on earth you shouldn't be a rookie in understanding how NATO works, and you certainly shouldn't be forgiven for such a gross ignorance of the duties of the job you are applying for.

 - The whole RNC reminded me of a clown circus, to be honest.  There were the noisy clowns, in the pews, yelling "Lock Her Up", the grumpy clowns (Ted Cruz), the sinister clowns (Alt Right and Milo Yiannopoulos with their extreme bigotry,  racism and sexism).  And then there were the merely stupid clowns:

Susan, a single mother of three, said Trump has given her confidence to speak up about political issues. “I think that as a woman, I’ve always felt my First Amendment rights have been inhibited,” she said. “He’s made it OK for people like me, Middle America, single moms, to speak their minds. He’s done more for me personally than the feminist movement.”
 Mm.  Feminists got Susan the right to vote, better pay and all such trivial things.  --  As an aside, I find it hilarious when women such as Susan (and Margaret Thatcher) say they owe nothing to the feminist movement.  It's a bit like the anti-vaccination folks who don't see that it's vaccinations which have caused certain infectious diseases to have become rare enough so that people now believe they can experiment with their children's health.

 - Speaking of feminism, Trump's campaign chair lives the middle class Victorian life of 1880s America:


The permanent foot-in-the-mouth disease of the Republicans sadly has no preventative vaccinations.  Really, men like Paul Manafort should simply stay quiet.  Then we might suspect that he is a sexist.  Now we know for sure.

 - It's hard to enjoy this clown circus, given that it's also the gathering where the Republican candidate to destroy the world is nominated:

Trump’s nomination was inevitable, but it’s worth dwelling on for a moment. The Republican Party has nominated a man who is openly racist, sexist, and nativist and has normalized racist, sexist, and nativist political discourse, who has promised to order the military to commit war crimes, who knows nothing about domestic or foreign policy and has no political experience, who has promised to deport millions of people living in this country, who is, in short, totally unfit to be president of the United Sates.
While it should be noted that a number of party elites stayed home, Trump’s nomination is the result of the party’s voters, not its leadership: These voters, who have overwhelmingly chosen Trump as their nominee, will guide the party’s future, regardless of what happens in November. This is a historic and possibly cataclysmic moment for the Republican Party and for America.

When we add to that list of characteristics (openly racist, sexist and nativist) the possibility that he has the attention span of a teething eighteen-month-old, well, my blood runs cold again.








More On The Future of Women's Rights in Turkey



The first signs do not look good:

Reports of sexual harassment and violence against women have also increased since Friday. One woman tweeted that a man threatened her sexually while asking for a cigarette.
Another said that she was approached by a stranger in the subway who consecutively told her not to wear a dress. Yet another one was told to conceal her cleavage by a man who drove his car toward her at high speeds. A young woman tweeted that people celebrating the government’s survival after the overthrow attempt shouted at her as they drove by: "Bitches, you too will get what you deserve!"
“Conflicting environments, such as war or military coups, always increase violence and discrimination against women” says Selen Dogan, the chairman of the feminist group Uçan Supurge (Flying Broom). She explains that “these conflicts involve militarism, nationalism and religious motivations, all of which negate demands for freedom, equality and non-violence.”

Erdogan began as an Islamist, then appeared to have moderated his views, but now it just might be the case that he has returned to his radical roots (or never really left them but just bided his time).  He certainly appears to take advantage of the failed coup as an opportunity for a purge.  The vast numbers of people he has fired or arrested simply cannot all have been found to be guilty of plotting the coup in just a day or two or three.  Lists must have existed prior to the most recent events.

The purge could result in increasing Islamist power in the government, and that is very bad news for women's rights. 

A few earlier signs point in the same direction, such as the recent removal of the requirement that religious marriages only be conducted after a civil marriage has taken place.  This makes polygamous marriages, including child marriages with Syrian refugee children, less likely to be prosecuted, but also leaves second, third and fourth wives without any real financial security.

It's important that people outside Turkey protest any losses of women's rights in that country.  It may not matter to Erdogan, but it matters to the more secular women in Turkey, the ones who don't accept a presumed divine interpretation of them as an inferior species.

----

I write on these topics not because I want to sow depression among my readers, but because it's important that someone does.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lock Her Up. Hang Her From A Tree. Shoot Her For Treason.



Those are the sentiments of the crowds at the Republican National Convention ((RNC) (for locking her up), of a Republican Commissioner Duane Flowers in Licking County, Ohio (for hanging her) and of a Republican New Hampshire state Representative Al Baldasaro (for putting her against a wall and shooting her dead for treason).  The Secret Service is investigating Mr. Baldasaro, who has appeared with Donald Trump and advised him on veterans' issues.

I watched Chris Christie's mock trial of Hillary Clinton at the Republican National Convention, where he laid out a list of accusations (j'accuse!) against Clinton.  After each of them the crowd chanted "Guilty!"  And the refrain of  "Lock Her Up"  kept interrupting Christie's performance.  That almost all the accusations were about politics and policies and not about something for which a prison sentence can be imposed on someone* didn't matter to the crowd.  What mattered was the visceral hatred of Hillary Clinton.

Christie's list was interesting, because it implied that one Hillary Clinton had been responsible for everything bad that has happened in the last decade or so, including the kidnapping of schoolgirls by Boko Haram in Nigeria, an event which took place over a year after Clinton resigned from the position of a Secretary of State.

She has been incredibly powerful, Christie preached**.  She is the person responsible for creating ISIS.***  She has been more powerful than Barack Obama, who presumably is just a figure-head who left all practical politicking to Clinton.

Now what to make of that?  Christie ended his speech arguing that Trump, a man with no experience in the actual governing of a country, with very little knowledge about any other country, that this is the man the United States needs to lead it, with a careless (and small) hand on the nuclear button.

How much of this incoherent rage has to do with Hillary Clinton's own past history, her husband past presidency or her personality, and how much of it is thrown against her because she stands as a symbol of uppity womanhood?  As I've mentioned before a sample size of one when it comes to very powerful female politicians in this country makes any generalizations about that almost impossible.

Still, note the buttons which are being sold at the RNC.

-------

*  The exception to that rule is Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server for State Department documents.  Some of the accusations made against her could have carried criminal penalties.  But the Justice Department won't prosecute her.  Still:

Comey said the Justice Department shouldn’t prosecute Clinton because there isn’t enough evidence that she intentionally mishandled classified information. FBI investigators didn’t find vast quantities of exposed classified material, and they also did not turn up evidence that Clinton intended to be disloyal to the United States or that she intended to obstruct justice.
However, he called Clinton’s email setup "extremely careless."
 Yup.

But then there's this.  And this.  And this.  That "others do it, too" is no excuse, but it sets what Hillary Clinton did into a wider framework.

**  Contrast that view to the one expressed in the Wiki evaluation of Clinton's performance as Secretary of State:

While Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State was popular at the time among the public and praised by President Obama, observers have noted that there was no signature diplomatic breakthrough during it nor any transformative domination of major issues in the nature of Dean Acheson, George Marshall, or Henry Kissinger.[305][306] The intractable issues when she entered office, such as Iran, Pakistan, Arab-Israeli relations, and North Korea, were still that way when she left.[305] Many of Clinton's initiatives in the "smart power" realm will take much more time to evaluate as to their effect.[305] Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said that "She's coming away with a stellar reputation that seems to have put her almost above criticism. But you can't say that she's really led on any of the big issues for this administration or made a major mark on high strategy."[305] Michael E. O'Hanlon, a Brookings Institution analyst, said that, "Even an admirer, such as myself, must acknowledge that few big problems were solved on her watch, few victories achieved. [She has been] more solid than spectacular."

It's worth pointing out that the issues mentioned in that quote are pretty intractable, in my view.  Many of them (including terrorism) seem to be of this Zeitgeist and amenable to change only funeral by funeral.

***   ISIS was created partly by George Walker Bush and his invasion of Iraq for the massacre of 911 (which had nothing to do with Iraq), partly by the Saudi exports of extremist Wahhabism all over the world,  partly by global climate change (the farmers' protests in Syria which began the Syrian unrest and civil war were clearly related to weather changes caused by climate change), and partly by age-old schisms between the Shias and the Sunnis in Iraq and elsewhere.  Even the availability of the Internet probably contributed to ISIS's ability to organize its troops. 





Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Short Posts 7/19/16: On Turkey's Coups, Melania Trump's Speech and Mike Pence As The Vice-Presidential Candidate of the Christianists


1.  The military coup attempt in Turkey failed. But what Erdogan appears to be doing in response looks ominous to me:
Turkey suspended more than 15,000 Education Ministry workers on Tuesday and demanded resignations from all university deans as authorities widened their far-reaching crackdowns in the wake of a failed coup attempt.
The 15,200 personnel were being investigated for links to the power grab launched last week, the ministry said in a statement. In addition, 1,577 university deans from Turkey's public and private universities were asked to hand in their notice. A further 492 staff were removed from duty at the country's top Islamic authority.

Earlier a similar large-scale cleansing was carried out among the Turkish judiciary:

The Turkish government has removed 2,745 judges from duty in the wake of a failed military coup in which over 161 people were killed.
The decision followed an emergency meeting of Turkey’s Judges and Prosecutors High Council which was called to discuss members’ links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, the leader of a reformist Muslim movement.
The meeting saw the dismissal of 2,745 judges along with several members of the council itself, which is Turkey’s highest judiciary board.
 Turkey’s state-run news agency said authorities have detained 10 members of the council. 
The Anadolu Agency said arrest warrants have been issued for 48 administrative court members and 140 members of Turkey's appeals court.

If this indeed was a coup attempt by the military, what are the grounds for the above?  How does Turkey guarantee that these purges aren't used to get rid of all who oppose Erdogan's plans to be the tyrant of Turkey and who want to use the democratic system to express their opinions?

2.   From one end of real-world significance (the worry I have that Turkey is sliding toward extreme authoritarianism and possibly theocracy) to almost the other end:  Melania Trump's speech last night at the Republican National Convention and the astonishing similarities between her speech and that of Michelle Obama in 2012.

Rebecca Traister writes about the debacle and makes some good points.  As is my wont, I immediately focused on something peripheral in Traister's piece:

Melania’s task should have been to humanize her cartoonish thug of a mate, whether by offering a clear picture of herself, of him, or of their family life together.

Try to do a gender reversal on that.  It won't work, because the task of the candidate's wife in US politics is the one Nancy Reagan performed so well:  To look up to the candidate with adoring googly eyes, to soften the candidate by "humanizing" him, to play a supporting and acquiescent role behind the throne the candidate seeks.  Men aren't expected to do any of that, because the task has to do with the maintenance of the traditional woman-as-the-helpmate beliefs.

I don't have much to say on the specifics of the plagiarism accusations.  Directly stealing bits of language from someone else's well-known speech is a stupid thing to do in this Internet era, of course, because the chances of getting caught are very high.  That this was allowed to happen suggests that the Trump campaign is as chaotic as the Republican National Convention appears to be.

3. Mike Pence, the governor if Indiana, is Donald Trump's vice-presidential pick.  Pence is a Christianist and adamantly opposed to women's reproductive rights and same-sex marriage:

Like many young adults, Pence's views began to change during and just after college. He met his future wife, Karen, at a church in Indianapolis after he graduated from Hanover College. He later became a born-again Christian. Both remain deeply religious.

"I would say that my Christian faith and my relationship with Karen are the two most dominant influences in my life today," Pence told IndyStar in 2012.
Pence traces his views back to two historical documents: the Constitution and the Bible.
The first has shaped his passionate belief in limited government. The second has forged his strong beliefs on abortion and marriage.
In fact, the Bible says nothing against abortion.

In 1999 Pence wrote about the Disney movie Mulan as a liberal plot which tried to make little girls dream about combat roles in the military, even though Mulan was far too delicate to be able to match the performance of her "cloddish cohorts."  Pence was then opposed to military women in combat roles, and most likely opposed to women in the military altogether. 

And Pence believed that you get sex if you let women and men intermingle, and that Must.Not.Be:

You see, now stay with me on this, many young men find many young women to be attractive sexually. Many young women find many young men to be attractive sexually. Put them together, in close quarters, for long periods of time, and things will get interesting. Just like they eventually did for young Mulan. Moral of story: women in military, bad idea.

Women and men sorta intermingle in the Western societies anyway (colleges and schools, ahem, for the young ones), so the obvious corollary must be that the 1999 Pence was for gender segregation in almost all places. 

That's why I called him a Christianist, to echo the Islamist label for those who wish to re-engineer society to match their views of what might have been its form thousands of years ago in quite a different part of the world and in quite a different type of society.

Nobody knows if Pence still holds those views, but we do know that he loves nothing better than trying to remove reproductive choice from women.  The Periods for Pence -campaign grew out of that.

So that's who could be our Vice-President.  He's the pound of bloody (err) meat tossed to the fundamentalist wing of the Republican Party.  Trump needs the votes of that wing and the easiest way to get them is to let the fundies bash women's rights.  So Pence takes care of the religious oppression of American women, Trump takes care of women's  sexualizing oppression!

No wonder that most women in the US have a negative opinion about Trump's potential presidency:

A Washington Post-ABC News poll last month found that 77 percent of women had an unfavorable impression of Trump, including 65 percent who saw him in a “strongly unfavorable” light. Trump’s negative ratings among women are more than 20 percentage points higher than the ratings 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney received at any point in that campaign.  




 



Monday, July 18, 2016

And Here We Go. More About The Freedom FROM Religion.


What took place at the Republican National Convention on day one fits in so very well with my previous post about freedom from other religionsPastor Mark Burns,  leading the benediction at the closing of the afternoon session, making a special appeal to Jesus, singling Hillary Clinton out as an enemy and telling the hordes listening to him that Donald Trump believes in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ.

Today's Wish: Freedom From Other People's Religions


That's what I desire right now: freedom from other people's religions.  I'm fed up with the anti-woman and anti-GLBT stances of the Islamists, the Catholic Church* and the fundamentalist Protestants in the US.

I'm also fed up with the way freedom of religion is interpreted as the right to constrain the lives of those who don't belong to the same faith, and with the way that same freedom for women to practice their religion (often an archaic patriarchal one) is defended by some on feminist principles (along the lines of I-choose-my-oppression).

How does one even begin to argue with religious extremists?  I don't see how it can be done, given that they refuse any arguments not based on literal readings of their own holy texts, written thousands of years ago.

Not that I desire to have a row with them; I just wish they'd stick to the more secular evidence in their arguments so that there would be some common ground.  But the only ground they wish to stand on is their own literal interpretations of ancient writings.  And guess what?  Women in those olden days had no rights to speak of, which, I'm told,  means that women today shouldn't have many rights, either.

This is one of my repeating grumbles.  You may wish to consider it in the light of the weather here:  Hot and muggy.  When I leave air-conditioned spaces I feel as if my brain is being stir-fried with garlic and ginger, and that reminds me of this and of similar examples where emotions (or appeals to something we are expected to take on faith) are used alone **, and of the great power of emotions in politics:  They seem impervious to any facts that clash with them.

-----------
*  The current Pope has improved the church's policies, though more in the way the poor are viewed than in the way women are viewed.  Still, I see some slight changes in the church's prior obsessive focus on controlling women's fertility, though I doubt we shall see women get the power to participate in that policy-making any time soon.

* * Emotions are important, of course.  Otherwise we'd be machines.  But the proper role of emotions, in my opinion, is to fuel one's activism and the search for all evidence, to see to what extent they support our emotions.







What You Can Buy at The Republican National Convention in Cleveland, 2016: Sexism


These buttons, you can proudly wear on your lapel at this year's Republican National Convention:




The article I linked to also tells us that other alternatives include "Life’s a Bitch, Don’t Vote for One,” and “Hot Chicks for Trump.”



The sellers of such buttons probably have no official status, but it's still fun to point out that all three buttons mentioned above  refer to the wider animal kingdom when describing Hillary Clinton or women in general:  Chickens and dogs.

I naturally know the difference between self-identifying as a "hot chick" and being described as a dead chicken available at the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain.  The former is fuckable, the other not so much.

It's that KFC Hillary Special button (2 fat thighs, 2 small breasts -- left wing) which is both the most humorous (if one ignores its meaning) and the nastiest in terms of its meaning.

That's because it is not ultimately about one Hillary Clinton, but about the rating system sexists use for women, even for women in the public sector, even for women in power, even for women with many qualifications, lots of knowledge and skills,  and that rating system is the looks-index or the fuckability index.

All the button really says is that Hillary Clinton is not fuckable.  Why that would even be information in the race for the president of the United States I don't know.  She's not going to let any Tom, Dick or Harry from the streets to fuck her.

Well, I do know the reason for the popularity of such buttons.  The person wearing them can feel superior to Hillary Clinton on those old sexist grounds:  I wouldn't touch her with a barpole (?? is there such a word?)*, I'm more fuckable than she is, and so on.

That this brings us right back to the way Donald Trump speaks about women may not be an accident.  His utterances have lowered the bar for what can be said in public, and his utterances have also increased the freedom for the kind of sexism where women are equated with sex objects or the supply side of the sexual marketplace.

I'm not that bothered about those buttons, because they do the most damage to those who sell them or wear them:  It's a great thing to get sexists identified before we might have to interact with that person.  Still, it's 2016 and all that, and the best attack these buttons convey about  the first female Democratic nominee to be the president of the United States is that she has too fat thighs and too small breasts and, besides, she is a bitch.

Hmm.  Should I write a post about the looks and bitchiness of one Donald Trump?
-----
* Thanks, LR in the comments:  It's bargepole.
Added later:
And then there's this.