RISE OF THE WOMEN

Hot Press - - THE WHOLE HOG - McCANN

This was the year of the ris­ing of the women. Also the year when Hil­lary and Bill Clin­ton came sep­a­rately to grace our lit­tle is­land. Hil­lary picked up doc­tor­ates from Trin­ity and Queens. She was wel­comed at both places of learn­ing with colour­ful dis­plays of syn­chro­nised kow-tow­ing by lead­ing lights of the po­lit­i­cal, cul­tural and aca­demic elite.

She urged re­nun­ci­a­tion of vi­o­lence and re­newal of com­mit­ment by Ir­ish par­ties to use peace­ful means only in fu­ture. One ‘pa­per head­lined her Queen’s ad­dress as “a pas­sion­ate plea for peace.”

No­body screamed out that this was a lit­tle in­ap­pro­pri­ate from a woman who had never seen a war which she’d didn’t wel­come. No­body was so un­man­nerly as to men­tion the glassy-eyed glee with which she had re­acted to the killing of Muam­mar Gaddafi in 2011, bay­o­net-raped to death at the side of a road.

“We came, we saw, he died,” she chor­tled, lit­er­ally throw­ing her head back in laugh­ter.

We have no way of know­ing what or whether Clin­ton thinks now about the way Libya has plum­meted into chaos and ter­ror fol­low­ing the Nato as­sault which she had cham­pi­oned and cheered on. Hasn’t had a word to say about it. What a lady! In April, Clin­ton’s hus­band, Bill, also dropped in to be hon­oured for his sup­posed role in bring­ing us peace. He had a rip-roar­ing reception in Belfast, calls of “Thank you, Bill!” re­port­edly waft­ing upon him from the side­lines, like warm gusts of love.

This was five weeks af­ter the “rugby rape trial” which had sparked women-led demon­stra­tions from the Glens of Antrim to the Din­gle penin­sula.

Yet no main­stream Ir­ish out­let men­tioned Juanita Broad­drick, Paula Jones, Mon­ica Lewin­ski or Kath­leen Wil­ley in its cov­er­age of his visit. Clin­ton al­legedly raped Ms. Broad­drick in 1978. He used his power to have Ms. Lewin­ski give him a blow-job, his trousers around his an­kles, his back against the door of the Oval Of­fice, grunt­ing. We know that he groped Kath­leen Wil­ley. We know that Don­ald Trump paid Stormy Daniels $150,000 to keep sch­tum about their “af­fair.” How many know that Clin­ton paid Ms. Jones $850,000 for her si­lence? She claimed that Clin­ton had sub­jected her to sex­ual ha­rass­ment, in­clud­ing, in 1991, ex­pos­ing him­self to her.

She had been a vol­un­teer with the Demo­cratic Party in Arkansas in 1991. She was ap­proached by state po­lice at a con­fer­ence in a ho­tel in Lit­tle Rock and told that the Gover­nor would like to see her to dis­cuss party mat­ters. Flat­tered, she went to his room, es­corted by a po­lice of­fi­cer. Al­most im­me­di­ately, Clin­ton whipped out his pe­nis.

“He sat down, pulled down his pants, his whole ev­ery­thing and he was ex­posed, and I said, ‘I’m not that kind of girl.’” She says that when she tried to leave, Clin­ton “rushed over and grabbed the door. He said, ‘You’re a smart girl - let’s keep this be­tween our­selves.’”

She says that when she left the room the state trooper wait­ing out­side was “smirk­ing.”

Ms. Jones brought a sex­ual-ha­rass­ment law­suit. Clin­ton paid her the hush-money in an out-of­court set­tle­ment. Half the $850,000 was sourced from a bank ac­count in his wife’s name.

In 2016, footage emerged of Trump boast­ing of grab­bing women “by the pussy.” Many thought that would mark fi­nis to his po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions. But not a bit of it. Which in a per­verse sort of way was fair enough.

The late Alexan­der Cock­burn quoted Ore­gon en­tre­pre­neur

Tim Her­mach re­call­ing a visit to Lit­tle Rock look­ing for busi­ness in 1979 and a din­ner he’d had with Clin­ton at the Hilton.

“Tim re­calls that they were scarcely seated be­fore Bill was greet­ing a pretty young wait­ress in friendly fash­ion, putting his hand up her dress while an­nounc­ing ge­nially to the as­sem­bled com­pany, ‘This woman has the sweet­est cunt in Lit­tle Rock.’”

Great guy!

Her­mach is now, in Cock­burn’s char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion, “The fear­less leader of the Na­tive For­est Coun­cil and breath­ing the right­eous air of Eu­gene, Ore­gon.” He re­tired from busi­ness to help found the coun­cil in 1988, out of shock at the re­lent­less log­ging of Na­tional Forests.

He told Cock­burn that he’d lis­tened “with burn­ing ears and mouth agape as Bill talked of wom­an­hood in terms of as­tound­ing cru­dity.”

Far as I know, very few of the many in Ire­land who ex­pressed dis­gust at Trump’s as­saults on women and showed proper out­rage at the con­duct of the Belfast rape trial have con­demned the hearty pub­lic wel­come given by lead­ing cit­i­zens to an un­apolo­getic rapist and serial sex at­tacker and the spouse who covered up for him and con­trib­uted hand­somely to the pay-off. Ques­tion of pri­or­i­ties, I sup­pose.

2018 has been the year women in Ire­land went on the war-path against men who hunt them and harm them for their own grat­i­fi­ca­tion and for the buzz of feel­ing power.

For many years vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault found it dif­fi­cult to be ac­cepted as cred­i­ble wit­nesses to the crimes that they them­selves had suf­fered. This may have eased some­what - at least it’s widely be­lieved it has eased - in the post-We­in­stein era.

We­in­stein had got­ten away with it for years be­cause he was a pow­er­ful man. But that’s all changed, changed ut­terly, in 2018…

Has it now?

How can we de­mand that Trump be booted out of of­fice if, far from stomp­ing the streets in anger at the Clin­tons’ pres­ence among us, we sig­nal “no harm done” and smile a wel­come as they slither into town?

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