Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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On the dashed hopes of Donald Trump

Sometime between childhood and adulthood, usually during adolescence, boys become men and realize that the owner of the beauty and sexuality they desire in a woman is an actual human being, with feelings and rights and concerns and desires and complicated issues of her own.

Donald Trump in 2013 by Gage Skidmore
Donald Trump in 2013 (Gage Skidmore / Flickr CC)

In a videotape obtained and published by The Washington Post, Donald J Trump, the Republican nominee for the office of president of the United States, can be heard bragging about his sexual conquests with women. The tape was made in 2005, when Mr Trump was 59 years old.

He could even grab them between their legs, he boasted, using a vulgar term to describe that part of the female anatomy. “And when you’re a star they let you do it,” he said.

Voxitatis is suspending our coverage of the presidential election, as of the release of this tape. For the record, Mr Trump issued a statement, which resembles an apology, saying, “I apologize if anyone was offended.”

But here, it’s not so much a question of “if” or even of his words but the actions he describes. Actions speak louder than words and we can find no redeeming characteristics in Mr Trump’s campaign for the presidency. It is no longer possible for us to justify—to any audience, let alone students—the past of a man who appears to believe more than half of Americans are fit only to be assaulted or kicked or kept out.

We will, however, continue to cover issues related to education, schools, students, and teachers, as the race for the White House moves into the home stretch.

I was personally hoping Mr Trump’s candidacy could give a voice to a group of people who had become disillusioned with the political process, but that hope has been dashed and the messages from the campaign have been vacuous. Plus, when people hear a candidate for president make disparaging remarks about half of all Americans, they tend to lose interest in all other issues.

Besides, look, I try to cover what I can, but the national media has devolved into a blinding sandstorm of Trump-mania. It’s hard to find an issue in the campaigns at all, let alone an issue that might have a significant impact on what schools do. For example, it took the BBC, based in the UK, to report the story about Mr Trump telling terminally ill patients that all he really cared about was their vote on November 8.

I take this opportunity to call on the US Senate to move promptly in advising the president on his nomination of a Supreme Court justice, as the term has only just begun for the highest court in the land. We’ve got work to do.

I further call on schools to take a serious, long look at the programs they have that teach us about empathy, respect, decency, and the like. Almost half of America has expressed support for Mr Trump, including several leaders the American people have elected to some pretty high offices, and if his views truly represent their views, our education system has clearly failed to teach anything more than math and reading. As I said, we have work to do. A lot of work.

Colleges, of course, have already stepped up awareness of date rape, sexual assault, Title IX violations or investigations by campus authorities that are filled with holes. But for the half of Americans who never go to college, an education about these important issues is needed as well. Consent is very different from conquest.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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