Thanks, Obama: An Ode to the Best Bromance of Our Time

https://twitter.com/VP/status/761253705341480962 Screengrab of Joe Biden's Twitter post of obama's friendship bracelet he made him 8/5/16 Source: Joe Biden/Twitter

Source: Joe Biden/Twitter

Recently, The New York Times asked its readers to reflect upon President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House. Motivated participants were encouraged to write letters regarding what they will remember most about President Obama’s historic role. Despite the unlikely chance of being published, I jumped at the occasion to praise our Commander in Chief.

Unfortunately, as predicted, my letter wasn’t chosen, but I can’t sit back and watch this “peaceful transition of power” unfold without sharing my thoughts on the current administration. Here’s my submission:

For many, strength can be defined by how well someone conceals his or her emotions. Crying indicates an underlying weakness. But, as President Barack Obama addressed the country after the Sandy Hook shooting, periodically pausing to wipe his eyes on national television, each tear demonstrated that true strength comes from loving your fellow man, especially during their time of need. His mouth may have been moving, but it was his heart that spoke that day.

George Washington will forever be the “Father of our Country” in the historical sense, of course, but in that moment President Obama became the father figure of our generation, for his composure and compassion pulled our entire nation through one of the darkest days since September 11.

His fatherly persona extends well beyond his comforting capabilities, however, as our pun-loving president takes pride in his “dad joke” tendencies. Personally, I’m honored to say he’s the first president I had the privilege of voting for, but I’m afraid we’ll never have another Commander in Chief who exhibits the same genuine love for humanity. He certainly embodies an innate zest for life, but his successors? Well, they are bound to be lemons.

Source: The Atlantic

Source: The Atlantic

Readers were limited to 200 words, but after eight years under the guidance of both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, words are simultaneously abundant and absent. It’s truly impossible to deliver an adequate ‘thank you’ when you consider what these gentlemen and their families have done, and will likely continue to do, for the United States of America.

Beyond the professional and the political, Obama and Biden make their work personal. Through their efforts to ensure policies reflect a government that’s run by the people and for the people, Obama and Biden repeatedly prove that they’re with the people, too. Their love for America cannot be feigned, for it shines bright in their affinity for children and their gratitude toward our troops. But most of all, love for their country comes through in the friendship they’ve nurtured during their time in office.

BOCA RATON, FL - SEPTEMBER 28:  U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at the Century Village Clubhouse on September 28, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida. Biden continues to campaign across the country before the general election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Source: Getty Images

While President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama taught us the importance of partnership in both marriage and parenting, Vice President Biden showed us how to smile despite immense grief. From these foundations, our two exceptional leaders forged a bond that goes far beyond the scope of past presidential partnerships. They’re more than friends—they’re brothers. Yes, the Internet loves to poke fun at their so-called bromance. (There are enough memes floating around the Web to carry us all for another four years!) But, underneath all the jokes, we can see that they made our nation better just by loving each other.

We’ve seen them laugh together and cry together. Heck, we have even seen them eat ice cream together. Nevertheless, nothing will ever compare to President Obama’s parting gesture. When Obama surprised Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, it was hard not to cry right along with them—not only because of the meaning behind the honor, but also because this ceremony served as one somber, sweet farewell to the administration overall.

(Watch the highlights of Obama’s announcement below, or watch the entire ceremony here.)

 

No administration will ever be able to replicate their devotion to the people, and their exit hurts more than any other transition because, for nearly a decade, they have been much more than the figureheads of our democracy. Through humor and honesty, Obama and Biden have become family—the father and uncle we can all depend upon when life gets rough.

Luckily for us, they aren’t simply characters on some TV show that’s been cancelled. They’re real, live human beings! Thus, while they won’t be at the center of our government anymore, they will still have the ability to empower citizens and inspire change. I’m curious to see how Obama and Biden will put their experiences to use in the coming years. I’m eager to watch First Lady Michelle Obama take her current initiatives to the next level. I’m excited to see what Malia and Sasha will accomplish as they emerge into this brave new world.

But, above all else, I’m incredibly grateful that President Obama and Vice President were part of our lives, even if only for a short time. They taught us how to feel and they taught us how to fight. They taught us that love trumps hate. Despite the current state of affairs, I hope their words and actions will echo throughout the White House, Congress, and the country for decades to come.

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Source: Getty Images

Here’s to Goodbye

Music evokes emotion, plain and simple. For that reason alone, I will never forgive Eve 6 or Vitamin C.

By the time I graduated eighth grade in the spring of 2001, “Here’s to the Night” and “Graduation (Friends Forever)“ were seasonal mainstays. (Honorable mentions go out to “Closing Time” by Semisonic and that so-called song about sunscreen all our parents were obsessed with, as they were both irritating in their own right.) You couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing one or more of these songs on the nightly Top Five countdown, and you couldn’t attend one single school dance or graduation party without finding clusters of sappy 13-year-olds singing along.

Despite the fact that my friends and I were all moving on to the same high school, these songs triggered an odd sort of melancholy that I haven’t been able to shake since.

What’d I learn that year? I hate endings. Even endings that aren’t exactly endings. I’m like Jude Law in The Holiday—I cry all the time. I’m a major weeper.

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I’m overwhelmed with sadness whenever I watch the series finale of any television show, even if it ended years ago, because I realize how difficult it must’ve been for the cast and crew to go their separate ways.

I feel an ache—an emptiness—once the curtain closes on any live musical or theatrical performance, for I know that the experience itself and the ensuing high can never be recreated.

Heck, I even tear up during You’ve Got Mail, but not because I’m thrilled that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fall in love. I cry when Ryan’s character, Kathleen Kelly, locks up her bookshop for the last time, instead, because I cannot even imagine how heartbroken she must be to know she’ll never step foot inside again.

Now, as we say goodbye (ahem, good riddance) to 2016, we are bombarded by ‘In Memoriam’ reels that remind us of all those we’ve lost within the last year. (Turner Classic Movies ran one prior to their showing of The Shop Around the Corner—on Christmas Eve, no less—which really killed the ‘holly jolly’ vibe.) Some people still cannot seem to comprehend why so many internalize these celebrity deaths, as they’ve likely never met in person, but those who chastise fans via social media fail to recognize the influence such stars can have on the average individual.

For those mourning the loss of both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, for instance, the pain goes beyond losing two iconic actresses. Both women reached beyond their on-screen personas to inspire generations of women to embrace who they are and who they want to be. Public figures have the capacity to impact private lives, and any such guidance can transform total strangers into honorary relatives.

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Death also causes us to call our own mortality into question. We’re forced to admit that those we love will not be alive forever. Thinking about what life might be like without them by your side may cause some to hyperventilate, as your mind conjures all the worst-case scenarios, which may spark mild bouts of insanity and uncontrollable, ugly sobs. In fact, you might not want to jump down that rabbit hole if you can help it. Your head will feel like it’s about to implode and you won’t be able to see straight.

Might straightjackets and padded cells be the next step on this journey toward total mental collapse? I’m asking for a friend…

But if Semisonic’s “Closing Time” holds any truth, perhaps we need only focus on the positive side of even the bleakest situation in order to keep the sorrow from eating us whole. We must push our minds to look for the proverbial light, even when we’re lost in the metaphorical dark. We must be thankful for what was and excited for what will be, instead of longing for what will never be again. After all, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. If we don’t at least try to focus on the beauty of the future, we may all end up breathing into brown paper lunch sacks for the rest of our days.

 

(Images courtesy of Odyssey and The Los Angeles Times)

Deck Your Screens with Christmas Adverts: 5 Holiday Commercials That Stole the Show This Season

15317943_10100501619163156_4721658093138191009_nDivisive rhetoric and unrelenting fear have come to define the year in an unforeseen fashion. Our election alone has set the tone for the tumultuous times ahead. But even in this era of unpredictability, advertisers throughout the world refuse to keep quiet.

While companies, such as Marks & Spencer, have invested vast amounts of time, talent, and money into creating memorable Christmas commercials—in hopes of going viral, no doubt—many have accomplished this feat by putting social issues at the heart of their holiday messages. By tapping into themes that foster love and togetherness, brands have the platform to promote unity through universal truths.

But which advertisements have left an indelible impression on the general public this season? Those that devote airtime to emphasizing what ties us to one another instead of what tears us apart, of course.

  1. Sainsbury’s

 

Based in the United Kingdom, Sainsbury’s 2016 advert combines the charm of stop motion animation and the appeal of James Corden in an effort to convey one simple message: spending time with those you love is the greatest gift of all. Dave, our protagonist, realizes that, despite his best efforts to make the holiday special for his family, he was missing out on the activities that matter most. In response, he concocts crazy ways to avoid his everyday responsibilities so he may fully envelope himself in the joys of the season.

Best part? He’s one half of an interracial couple! I know. This shouldn’t be groundbreaking anymore. But, ever since that one Cheerios commercial sent people into an unnecessary uproar, one cannot help but smile at the subtle, yet strong, message behind such creative choices. As long as there’s love, nothing else matters.

 

  1. Allegro

 

For many, the holidays exacerbate their constant, nagging loneliness. Elderly people often find themselves forgotten, especially, as many remain holed up in nursing homes, forced to spend the rest of their days in some sort of living purgatory.

In the case of Allegro’s viral holiday ad, an elderly gentleman lives alone, far from his immediate family. In preparation for his inevitable trip, the man purchases an English learning kit from the Polish online auction website so he may greet and speak to his granddaughter upon his arrival. It just goes to show that, once again, being with the ones you love will always be the best part of the season. We must make every effort to cherish our time with those who mean the most.

 

  1. Apple

 

Brad Garrett has taken on many varied roles during his admirable career, but none are more lovable than his turn as Frankenstein’s monster in Apple’s holiday commercial. Here, we see Frankie, as he’s called, in the preparation stages of his Christmas debut. Once he joins the crowd around the town’s Christmas tree, he replaces his bolts with festive bulbs and begins his rendition of ‘Home for the Holidays’.

While some greet his advances with disdain and hate, one child starts to sing along instead, inspiring the group to set aside their differences and come together in the spirit of the season. Considering the rampant hatred our society now displays for those who don’t quite meet their conformity quota, this commercial promotes acceptance and understanding in ways many have yet to comprehend.

 

  1. Elgiganten

 

Despite being surrounded by family members, those who are considered different may still feel alone this season. But as Elgiganten, the Scandinavian electronics retailer, depicts in its latest advertisement, actions can truly speak louder than words.

While the transgender teen at the heart of this commercial appears to be uncomfortable in the presence of her family, her father walks over and silently hands her his gift. She rips the paper back to reveal her very own hair straightener. Though no words are exchanged, his gesture and her smile say it all. No one has the right to dictate how another should live his or her life. Instead, we must learn to accept people for who they are and empower them to blossom into who they want to be.

 

  1. Amazon Prime

 

Religious intolerance has become the cornerstone policy of the impending Republican administration. But Amazon Prime’s latest advertisement clearly indicates that the company has no tolerance for bigotry. This ad focuses on what happens when two old friends—a priest and an Imam—meet for tea. These two men bond over their aches and pains, ultimately sending each other the same knee braces in response. There’s no tension, no hatred—only laughter.

Here, the creatives behind this concept made sure to highlight the parallels between the two religious leaders to demonstrate that, while many tend to fixate on the differences between Christians and their Muslim counterparts, all are connected by their devotion to a higher power. Just because two people observe different faiths doesn’t mean they cannot come together in friendship. Ultimately, we’re all humans, and it’s this shared experience that should encourage compassion instead of engendering conflict.

Pop Culture References for Those Who Cannot Comprehend Trump’s Presidency

During the days immediately following the election, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the nightly news. If boredom struck, I’d cautiously scan Twitter, squinting as I scrolled, but nothing more. Yet, once Donald Trump began announcing his Cabinet picks, I ultimately realized that most major news outlets were also in some sort of daze. Most anchors made only brief references to each appointee’s disturbing history, completely disregarding their racist, sexist, and xenophobic views in the process.

Now, however, as Trump continues to treat this transition of power as nothing more than some makeshift white, male Miss Universe pageant, it’s clear that these media outlets are eager to normalize this parade of so-called “competitors” and gloss over the potential danger each candidate could pose to our civil liberties. Somehow, they’ve already come to accept that our new “reality” means treating the United States government like some second-rate reality program. Of course, while I’m sure Trump wishes he’d been elected to serve as the new host of America’s Next Top Model instead—more women for his tiny hands to grope!—that’s simply not the case.

But what will it take to get someone (ahem, everyone) to recognize the indisputable threat Trump poses to our country?

Last week President Obama claimed the U.S. government most closely resembles an ocean liner, not the speedboat many Republican lawmakers wish it to be. Unsurprisingly, that metaphor evolved into Titanic comparisons, which are never promising. But that’s when I discovered what might work—pop culture! If people are too dense to recognize the blatant parallels between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler, maybe they’ll understand things better if I throw television and movie references into the mix.6d289e61_ar-302029982

For instance, there’s always that one villain on every single season of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. You know, that one person who’s not there for the right reasons? That’s Donald Trump! While the man or woman of the hour carries on blindly (a.k.a. Trump supporters and, apparently, the media, too), falling for said villain based on little more than chemistry, the other contestants in the house (a.k.a. people who have learned from the past and don’t wish to repeat it) cannot help but warn the season’s star about the villain’s hidden agenda. Each concerned contestant then proceeds to use his or her alone time with the star to express their worries, risking their own chance for happiness just so they may protect this person from potential heartbreak. (Protesters may be on to something, huh?)

However, no matter how many kindhearted contestants come forward, the star of the show always gives the villain the benefit of the doubt (just as Trump supporters keep telling critics to “give him a chance”). But, like clockwork—almost as if the show were scripted!—the villain ultimately reveals that everyone’s suspicions were valid and that they were fooling the star the entire time. They’re usually two-faced liars who say one thing, but mean another, all in the pursuit of fame. (Hmm, sounds familiar…)

e6ae3c95f0af33832c3c54d9adb8c0Movie buffs may also note that Trump has this whole Harrison Ford in What Lies Beneath vibe happening, too. [SPOILERS AHEAD!] He tries to uphold the ‘respectable man of high society’ façade in the company of his friends and colleagues, but deep down, he longs to silence those who may expose his misdeeds to the public. He’ll stop at nothing to make sure his shady dealings remain private.

But we, the people? Collectively, we’re Michelle Pfeiffer during the bathtub scene. Trump’s unexpected victory left us all immobile, much like the chemical that Ford used to temporarily paralyze Pfeiffer. None of us could speak, stunned silence spreading across the country. We were in shock, motionless, but we could still feel the terror bubbling inside. Like Pfeiffer’s character, however, we have emerged from our paralytic state and are ready to fight. We may stumble as we try to regain our footing, but we will stand together and persevere in an effort to protect the innocent and defend our rights.

Good always triumphs over evil in the end. Each bachelor or bachelorette finds love, even if only until the attention dies down, and Michelle Pfeiffer never fails to solve the mystery of her husband’s missing mistress. But we cannot expect the same fate if we neglect to acknowledge and oppose the elephant in the room. The media must take Trump to task with regard to his policies and his appointees. If he won’t condemn the racism and hatred that continues to spread in his name—and no, an arbitrary “stop it” will not suffice—then we, the people and the media, must do everything in our power to hold these groups accountable. Dozens of red flags signal an impending presidency marred by corruption and disarray.

If only more people would open their eyes to the truth… Maybe then they would’ve recognized the evil on their doorstep before inviting it inside.

 

(Images courtesy of PopSugar and Cinematic Corner)

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Bells began to ring out from the speakers at my favorite bagel shop last Wednesday, and they have not stopped since. Holiday songs and decorations popped up overnight, albeit somewhat early even for our commercialized society, but it was easy to surmise the underlying motivation. Election Night in America effectively extinguished nearly everyone’s spark, and these establishments were determined to spread cheer in any way they could.

Many walked about aimlessly, draped in misery, cloaked in sadness. It was as if we’d all woken from the same nightmare and we couldn’t shake the feeling. Yet, despite the somber vibe throughout the day—here in the northeast, rain mixed with tears—there still seemed to be the occasional glimmer of hope. In each sweet smile and friendly greeting, melancholy mixed with kindness. Everyone realized that we’re all members of the walking wounded, that we are all in this together—that we are stronger together. We transformed our sorrow into strength by being nicer to one another. We spoke through our actions when we couldn’t find the words.

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But, elsewhere throughout the once “United” States, division and disgust crept to the fore, with Trump’s hate-filled rhetoric fueling racist outbursts across the country. From ethnic slurs to offensive graffiti, this Huffington Post article displays only the beginning of the homegrown harassment taking root. (The story of one young Muslim teacher whose student told her to “tie [her headscarf] around your neck and hang yourself with it off your neck instead of your head” remains one of the most disturbing thus far.) For each kind gesture, there have been dozens more that highlight the bigotry, sexism, and xenophobia that have raged like wildfire within the last year.

Now, more than ever, we must draw attention to these atrocious acts. While we must do our best to bring positivity to those who are scared, we must drive out the negativity by shining light on the darkness. If we normalize such behaviors—if we allow hate speech and violence to slip under the radar—people will begin to think nothing’s wrong, when in reality, Trump’s win has essentially paved the path for bullying and animosity to blossom and flourish under his watch. We need to expose and publicize said acts in an effort to demonstrate how his position (and his Cabinet) impacts everyone, including children.

Much of the hate that’s emerged comes from kids who believe it’s suitable to emulate both their parents’ and Trump’s behaviors. Bigotry of this caliber isn’t born—it’s bred. It isn’t inherited. It’s learned. These children are chanting BUILD THAT WALL at Latinos in their school lunchroom and proclaiming WHITE POWER as they march through the halls. Many now believe that bullying leads to respect and that their Caucasian skin equates to superiority. We must condemn such acts at every turn for these developments aren’t normal. We must hold lawmakers accountable, we must hold the media accountable, and we must unquestionably hold our future president accountable, above all else.

Beyond our personal well-being and the well-being of our neighbors, we must stand up and speak out to preserve and protect our children’s future.megaphone

After all, just days post-election, while most were still mourning Hillary Clinton’s crushing defeat, I saw a young Latina girl shopping with her family. She was entirely unfazed by the world around her. Instead, her only worry was whether or not her mother would cave to her begging. The desired item in question? A “Girls Rule” sweatshirt. You see? Never let anyone tell you all hope is lost.

We have officially grieved long enough. Now we must act. For many who are still trying to make sense of this new reality, those actions may amount to nothing more than Facebook posts and retweets. Others may wear safety pins on their sweaters to show their support for marginalized groups. Thousands have already taken to the streets to protest Trump’s victory. Regardless of your choice, keep it up. Your effort will not go to waste. No one truly knows which steps are the correct steps to take next, but we can agree on one factor—we must not go quietly into the night.

Stay positive. Stay focused. Stay loud.

 

(Image courtesy of Fotolia and Catalyst HCC)

What If I Don’t Want to Be a Woman Anymore?

Does anyone else remember the F.A.O. Schwarz Friendship Tree? He’d always say, “Thanks for coming to play with me!” (I’ve tried to Google the rest of his spiel on numerous occasions, but I just can’t seem to fill in the blanks.)

However, I do recall how he’d entice children with claims that there were “things to touch and feel and more.” Yet, for any woman suffering through this election cycle, that seemingly innocent invitation from an old mechanical centerpiece may cause an involuntary twitch. In fact, it sounds vaguely familiar…

Oh, that’s right. It sounds like “locker room talk.” You know, something that might’ve come straight from the 2016 Republican presidential nominee’s mouth.

Women! We’re nothing more than objects for men to grope and fondle.

After all, he’s Donald J. Trump. He’s a star.

(Stars can do whatever they want.)

Welcome to his world of toys.

For women, the 2016 election truly marks both the best of times and worst of times. While Hillary Clinton promises to hold our collective hand and lead us on the path to progress, Trump wants to grab us all ‘by the p—y’ and drag us down the path to destruction. To harken back to First Lady Michelle Obama’s iconic speech at this year’s Democratic National Convention, Trump wants to pull us low, while Clinton strives to lift us high.

But, unfortunately, no matter which candidate leads the electoral majority, misogyny has already won the popular vote.

If Trump wins, men who wish to exploit his view on women will see this moment as their opportunity to justify any lewd and crude behaviors they’ve suppressed until now. If Clinton wins, every single move she makes will be analyzed and scrutinized until the end of time. (I’d say the end of her term, but we know any and all problems impacting our country will be attributed to her time in office for at least the next 50 years or so. At least.)

Despite the fact that her historic win would shatter the glass ceiling, women, in general, will be forced to wade through the shards that fall on Clinton’s behalf. All women will be held accountable for her actions because, while men exist and operate independently, women are often seen as one collective unit. Thus, her success will be our success. Her mistakes will be our mistakes. Her failures will be our failures.

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Even if Hillary Clinton wins the election, we cannot write this off as some epic victory for women overall. This one battle will not end the war. In fact, it will likely fuel the fight. We like to pretend our country has moved beyond its humiliating past. Many honestly thought that electing our first black president would end racism, but we can clearly see that race relations are as volatile as ever. Many believe that electing the first female president will eliminate sexism and misogyny, too, but this agonizing campaign indicates otherwise. We’ve peeled back the bandage and exposed wounds that haven’t healed. Based on Trump’s rhetoric alone, it’s hard to imagine they ever will.

Like Full Frontal host Samantha Bee—notorious breaker of glass ceilings herself—recently said, Clinton’s presidency would unleash a ‘tsunami of misogyny’ upon the American people. Still, Clinton has yet to win, and we’re already drowning in vitriolic sentiment. We’re about to reach the breaking point even though we haven’t yet approached the starting line.

Well, what if I don’t want to be a woman anymore? What if I’d prefer to live as some androgynous being who’s respected for their brain, not judged by their genitals? What if I want to shirk the assumption that I’m some plaything created for men’s visual and physical pleasure, nothing more?

Over the last year—the past few months, particularly—we have been forced to call into question not only how people perceive us, but also how we perceive ourselves. It’s both disconcerting and discouraging, exasperating and exhausting. We bear the daunting and perpetual burden of trying to prove our power and our worth time and time again.

But if we don’t, who will?

It’s tempting to throw in the towel. The hatred and oppression emanating from Trump’s followers alone could inspire any woman to crawl under their blanket and remain hidden for the next decade. But if we refuse to embrace our womanhood and fight for equality, we will never gain the respect we deserve. We must carry on the legacy of those women before us—those whose sacrifices brought us to where we are today. We owe it to past, present, and future women in our country and across the world to continue this fight, as misogyny will not cease without effort. Sexism will likely exist in some form for lifetimes to come, but we have the opportunity to be the generation that makes great strides toward gender equality once and for all.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

 

 

How About We Build That Border Wall Around Donald Trump Instead?

sticker375x360-u4For the last year, Donald J. Trump has used his platform to both humiliate and denigrate Mexicans and those of Latino heritage. He’s called them “murderers” and “rapists” in his attempt to gain support for the border wall he hopes to build if elected president. But, after the whirlwind reveal of his supposed “locker room talk” last month, all eyes are on the culture of abuse right here at home.

Before The Washington Post unleashed Trump’s 2005 Access Hollywood recording, it was already hard to deny the Republican nominee’s lack of respect for women. From Alicia Machado to Rosie O’Donnell, his prior verbal attacks were far less than presidential. Yet, once the video was made public, it became impossible for even his most staunch supporters to refute his lack of respect for both the mental and physical well being of women across the spectrum. His exchange with Billy Bush exposed his inclination to sexually assault any woman he deemed physically attractive—those most likely deemed “9” or “10” on his notorious rating scale—by instinctively kissing them or grabbing them “by the p—y.”

Since the reveal, Trump has repeatedly claimed that his remarks were nothing more than typical banter one would expect from the average male. But it’s in this justification that society must recognize that the overall normalization of objectification and abuse has permeated the surface layer of our culture, deeply rooting itself in our collective conscience and threatening to poison the mindset of our youth. If Donald Trump were to take office, the young boys and girls of this country would pay the ultimate price.

In recent months, we’ve seen numerous accounts of alleged sexual assault and rape that led to trials, but no convictions. As with the Brock Turner rape case, it appears that judges prefer to put the future of the man ahead of the well being of the woman, resulting in nothing more than a metaphorical slap on the wrist. Such cases perpetuate the idea that, even when caught, men will face little to no repercussions for their actions, thereby confirming that they can help themselves to any woman’s body if they so choose.img_8781-768x491

We are essentially teaching children that such actions are not only normal, but also accepted. Each time another alleged rapist or attacker evades jail, we are teaching boys that their actions will have few consequences. Each time we send another girl home from school for “inappropriate” attire, we are teaching the next generation that women must be on guard at all times because men cannot control their sexual urges. And if we elect Donald Trump, we will teach the boys of this nation that they can abuse women for decades and still hold the highest, most respected office in the world. We cannot allow this to become reality and we cannot allow these young boys and girls to grow up in an atmosphere that only widens the gender gap even further.

As it stands, even Trump’s attempt to deflect his controversies by focusing on Bill Clinton’s indiscretions further perpetuates the concept that women are responsible for men’s actions. Remember: Bill Clinton isn’t running for president, yet Hillary Clinton continues to face persecution for his sins. He’s not on the ballot and she should not be put on trial for his past actions. After all, Melania Trump hasn’t been forced to answer for her husband’s lewd behaviors.

Should we be happy that the Republican nominee for president continues to try and justify his remarks?

Of course not.

Should we be grateful that this tape has sparked a national discussion about how society treats women?

Absolutely.

Beyond all else, we need men to support our fight for gender equality, not rally against our efforts. Much like Emma Watson’s “HeForShe” initiative, we need the men and boys in our lives to be advocates for change. We need them to view women and girls as dignified human beings, not objects of visual and physical pleasure. We need to counter the damage Trump’s harmful rhetoric has caused by turning his atrocious behavior into an example of what not to do.

We have an exceptional, teachable moment on our hands and we have an obligation to further establish the sort of future we’d always envisioned for the children of our world.

Like First Lady Michelle Obama once said, “When they go low, we go high.” Let’s continue on the path toward creating a world that encourages every child to reach for the stars, instead of electing someone that thrives on fear and oppression, for his term will surely cause a negative ripple effect for generations to come.

 

(Images via Redbubble and Democratic Underground)

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