Halfway through America’s four-year descent into madness, we are finally seeing glimmers of hope.
An informed electorate has awakened and given its judgment, and Donald Trump's approval ratings seem fixed in the dismal 40 percent range. Nevertheless, after all this time, I still have questions as to how we got here in the first place.
I understand why some old white men support Trump. They see History's door slamming shut on the Ozzie and Harriet/Leave it to Beaver world in which they have existed for seven or eight decades and they think that The Orange One can keep it cracked open through bluster and bombast. Just a little while longer, by any means, and then after they shuffle off this mortal coil, it really won't matter if the Brown Horde takes over.
I understand why Right-Wing Talk Radio Guy performs aural sex on Trump every day. It's his job. He's playing to the Clampetts...and the Drysdales, and he knows his audience.
I understand why people who worship the almighty dollar support The Putin Wannabe. Trump probably has hundreds of millions of those dollars (for now) and the Money Worshipers don't really care how (or from whom) it was acquired. The list of unholy alliances between businesspeople and dictators is too long even for the Internet.
I understand why racists and degenerates and abusers of women would vote for Trump. He's their hero.
However, I've never understood why roughly half of all white women who voted in the 2016 election voted for Donald Trump. It makes no sense. Women of color mostly shunned him, but white women, even in the face of all that evidence, voted for him. And today, after two years of vulgarity, buffoonery and chicanery, one out of every three white women still support him.
When talk comes up about the President of the United States being a serial sexual assaulter, a lot of men probably just don't get it and/or care. Trump doesn't brag about grabbing attractive men by their penises. And it's not like he married Taye Diggs and then cheated on him with Johnny Wadd. These are things he did (and does) to women. Which is part of why I just don't understand why the support was even there in the first place nor why some of it still persists to this day.
At this point, I feel compelled to mention that, having been married for 40 years, one of the truly important things I have learned is that you can't tell somebody how they should feel. You can argue logic, debate politics and even question the approach someone takes to solving a math problem, but save yourself (and your loved one) a world of discomfort by never telling them how they should feel.
Young guys who want to learn by hard experience, just try saying to your wife, "Wait, that shouldn't make you angry!" The learning experience will come at you like the visual effects in 2001: A Space Odyssey when Bowman enters the Jovian atmosphere. With shrapnel added for effect.
I recently found some small solace in my quest for understanding in a book. The Woman's Hour by Elaine Weiss is an astonishing account of the fight for woman's suffrage. We're coming up on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment and its edge-of-your-seat passage came after an only-in-America showdown in the most unlikely of states.
Eleven states had already allowed women to vote, but the push for a Constitutional Amendment had, not surprisingly, been quite contentious. After the bill had been passed by both houses of Congress and given lukewarm support by President Woodrow Wilson, it went to the states for ratification.
As though written by a Hollywood hack, 35 of the 36 states needed (at the time) for ratification soon signed on, while there were 12 solid nos. It all came down to Tennessee, a backwater locale where many of the residents were still upset that the Yankees had tried to give the Negro the right to vote after the War of Northern Aggression. Needless to say, there were a lot of political shenanigans going on, on both sides, including persistent rumors of the use of prostitution to secure the votes of certain legislators.
A lot of the anti-clamor came from predictable sources. A Presbyterian pastor, from the pulpit, said, "When she takes to the ballot box, you've given her a coffin in which to bury her womanhood." Newspapers and businesses generally came out against it as being something unnatural. Even muckraking journalist Ida Tarbell, quite paradoxically, came out against women's suffrage.
Quite puzzlingly, a significant amount of the opposition to the idea of women voting came from women. Some said that it would be the death knell for the "Southern way of life." Many felt that women should stay above the fray and leave the dirty and foul work of politics to men. Still others argued in favor of a Biblical subservience to men.
I would never argue that women are ruled more by their feelings than are men. It just shows how little some things have changed in the past century. Until his dying day, Sigmund Freud wondered what women want. Well, here in America, one-third of white women want a bully and admitted sex offender to be in charge of their government.