The au­dac­ity of GROPE

Jamaica Gleaner - - IN FOCUS -

WHAT HAPPENED in North Amer­ica makes the ho­mo­phones ‘in con­ti­nent’ and ‘in­con­ti­nent’ syn­onyms as well. As we col­lec­tively pinch our­selves to arise from the never-end­ing dream that Don­ald Trump, Mr Hair Force One, or­ange-faced like the Hal­loween pump­kin, has gone a shade darker and has red­dened the White House once more.

As in­cred­u­lous as the world is, Trump is the pres­i­dent-elect of the great­est and most pow­er­ful na­tion on earth. With his small hands, he groped and grabbed the P and stuck his in­dex finger and hooked it on to the ‘res­i­dent’. Like it or not, protest if you all want, post

facto, un­less some­thing dra­matic oc­curs, he will be the oc­cu­pant of 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue for the next four years. Now he is free to seek new fron­tiers.

Scary, he had promised/threat­ened to “make Amer­ica great again”. This would en­tail lock­ing up his ad­ver­sary, Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton, by ap­point­ing a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor, build a wall to keep out the Mex­i­cans who have a view to mi­grate il­le­gally, and round up all un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants liv­ing in the USA and de­port them back to where they came from. Im­por­tantly, he in­tends to end birthright cit­i­zen­ship. There­fore, as with the sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion Haitians liv­ing in the Do­mini­can Repub­lic, chil­dren who are born in the USA to il­le­gal im­mi­grants and per­haps per­sons on vis­i­tors, stu­dents or other non-res­i­dent visas, will not au­to­mat­i­cally gain Amer­i­can cit­i­zen­ship.

On top of that, he is go­ing to ban Mus­lims from en­ter­ing the coun­try, bomb the fae­cal mat­ter out of the fam­i­lies of sus­pected ter­ror­ists, a la ISIS, re­duce Amer­i­can sup­port to NATO, while em­brac­ing anti-NATO Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, with­draw from the UN-sanc­tioned nuclear treaty with Iran, beef up the mil­i­tary, and al­low wa­ter­board­ing (tor­ture) of pris­on­ers of war.

By the way, he in­tends to elim­i­nate ‘gun-free zones’ at mil­i­tary bases and schools and al­low per­sons to carry con­cealed firearms in all 50 states.

In putting Amer­ica back to the pin­na­cle of in­ter­na­tional trade, he will bring back jobs from China and dis­place the hege­mony of that na­tion. He will also do away with the re­gional trade agree­ment with Canada and Mex­ico.

THE WRIT­ING ON THE WALL

Of course, there’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip, and he might find that speech and ac­tion have a big­ger gap than he can put his hands across. True, he is likely to have an eas­ier time than Barack Obama, be­cause he has what looks like a 239:193 ra­tio in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and a 51:47 ad­van­tage in the Sen­ate. How­ever, there are sup­pos­edly large enough num­bers of Repub­li­cans who do not share these in­ten­tions, and with the op­po­si­tion from the Democrats, many could stall.

Nonethe­less, Trump’s success in the polls, al­though shock­ing to most peo­ple, had the writ­ing on the wall and the writhing in the halls of the Demo­cratic Party since early 2016. In ev­ery poll of sig­nif­i­cance be­tween late April and early May 2016, it was re­ported that he would have beaten Clin­ton in a head-to head

con­test. In­deed, he must have

been on to some­thing a decade ago, when he re­marked that when one is a star as he is, one can do any­thing. Well, he beat Hil­lary as if she were a pick­pocket caught in Coro­na­tion

Mar­ket, and came away with the pres­i­dency.

In­ter­est­ingly, for all his demon­strated misog­yny, he had 53 per cent of the white fe­male vote and, in­cred­i­bly, 62 per cent of the non-col­lege ed­u­cated Cau­casian women. In con­trast, only 32 per cent of this last group were with Clin­ton. Clearly not only did he have his finger on the pulse of the swooning ‘pow­er­less’ women, he was grop­ing, but they were feel­ing him, too. Please note I did men­tion this in an ear­lier col­umn that the op­er­a­tive ex­pres­sion was, “They will let you.”

Pos­si­bly, it could be that Clin­ton suf­fered from elec­tile fa­tigue, as fe­male politi­cians who re­main too long in the pub­lic sphere with­out clearly defin­ing their lega­cies do. Thus, as ob­nox­ious as Trump is, the vot­ers were just ‘clyde’ of her and her al­most 40 years in rep­re­sen­ta­tional pol­i­tics. And if she learned any lessons about the impact of per­for­mance in de­bates in other coun­tries, it still made no dif­fer­ence. Maybe her mo­ment had sim­ply passed. Does Hil­lary look like a loser?

AU­DAC­ITY OF HOPE

Yet, it could sim­ply be that Amer­ica is not what its motto ‘E Pluribus Unum’ (out of many one) says. As I in­di­cated in an­other col­umn, Amer­ica is still a very sex­ist coun­try, with fe­males earn­ing sig­nif­i­cantly less than their male coun­ter­parts, labour laws on ma­ter­nity ben­e­fits largely non-ex­is­tent, and women be­ing un­der-rep­re­sented in pol­i­tics. Around 100 of the UN’s 193 mem­bers, in­clud­ing five in CARICOM, have elected fe­male heads of gov­ern­ment. Re­mem­ber, it is still not yet 100 years since Amer­i­can women earned the right to vote. Our women earned this right in 1918 and the USA in 1920.

Nonethe­less, a scrupu­lous ex­am­i­na­tion of Amer­i­can history should have pre­dicted the out­come. “Once you go black, you get pushed back.” The 1865 eman­ci­pa­tion of black Amer­i­cans from slav­ery led to the as­sas­si­na­tion of Abra­ham Lin­coln, the as­cen­dancy of Andrew Johnson, and a cen­tury of op­pres­sion un­der ‘Re­con­struc­tion’, in­clud­ing the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Iron­i­cally, the Klan, which backs Trump with fists, guns and hate rhetoric, is the cre­ation of Hil­lary’s Demo­cratic Party. Sim­i­larly, the con­ces­sions made by John F. Kennedy to the civil­rights move­ment led to his own mur­der in 1963 and un­mit­i­gated state violence against black peo­ple. Af­ter the 1966 Harper v Vir­ginia Board of Elec­tions de­ci­sion that fi­nally gave black Amer­i­cans the un­re­stricted right to vote, the re­sis­tance to black en­fran­chise­ment led to the mur­der of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy’s younger brother, Se­na­tor Robert Kennedy, in 1968.

Some­how, in 2008, we had the au­dac­ity of hope; not grope and a half-white man, called by the ‘N’ word by Trump’s largest chunk of sup­port­ers, man­aged to take his melanised wife and their two pi­canin­nies into the great house and soiled the in­te­rior. It’s push­back again.

My hope is that Trump was sim­ply mak­ing empty speeches like his leaked video and he doesn’t in­tend to carry them out. I hope he will make Amer­ica ‘great’, but if the ‘again’ is any of what its history is, I’m go­ing to beg my dog for some of my sup­per that he is eat­ing.

Dr Orville Tay­lor, se­nior lec­turer in so­ci­ol­ogy at the UWI and a ra­dio talk-show host, is the au­thor of ‘Bro­ken Prom­ises, Hearts and Pock­ets’. Email feed­back to col­umns@glean­erjm.com and tay­loron­black­line@hot­mail.com.

Orville Tay­lor

AP

Arielle Moore, 19, ar­gues with a Trump sup­porter dur­ing a protest at Texas State Univer­sity in San Mar­cos, Texas, on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 10, in op­po­si­tion to Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion vic­tory.

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