America Owes Monica Lewinsky an Apology

Source: Mark Seliger/Vanity Fair

When the Monica Lewinsky Scandal first came to light, I’d just turned ten. Aside from the traditional “birds and the bees” overview and Judy Blume’s “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret,” my health education was relatively limited. (It’d be nearly two years before I fully grasped what those “relations” entailed.)

Since 1998, however, Ms. Lewinsky’s name has yet to escape the nation’s collective consciousness. As she wrote in her recent essay for Vanity Fair, “there has been at least one significant reference to that unfortunate spell in our history every day for the past 20 years.” Beyond the media’s fascination, Ms. Lewinsky’s image has also become ingrained in popular culture. One cannot watch 2008’s “Made of Honor” without being bombarded by countless beret-clad doppelgängers, after all, and the final season of “The Nanny” remains chock full of timely jabs that have retained their wit and relevance decades later.

But after 20 years of ridicule—in the midst of the #MeToo moment, no less—we must ask ourselves one seemingly simple question: Should Ms. Lewinsky still “own” the scandal?

Although Ms. Lewinsky might be the most notable, she was by no means former president Bill Clinton’s only alleged extramarital affair. Yet, because she was 27 years his junior at the time of the given sexual encounters, she was the most salacious, and therefore, the prime target during the subsequent inquiries into Mr. Clinton’s lies and infidelities. Thus, we watched as Ms. Lewinsky was dragged through the proverbial mud, her life upended indefinitely in an effort to uncover the sordid truth about the most powerful man in America.

In an earlier essay for Vanity Fair, Ms. Lewinsky emphasized that, although the relationship wasn’t abusive in the sexual sense, there was an abuse of power at play in the years following the affair.

“Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship,” Ms. Lewinsky wrote. “Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.”

While Ms. Lewinsky explicitly addressed her detractors in her latest essay, noting that none of her recent realizations absolve her of her responsibility for what happened—“I meet Regret every day,” she wrote—#MeToo and Time’s Up helped her understand that there was much more at play, and that the subsequent bullying and slut-shaming she’s endured was unwarranted and unjust. She was forced to bear the brunt of the blame, forever changed, while Mr. Clinton emerged relatively unscathed as a result of the latent misogyny that’s only recently received widespread exposure and condemnation in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein reckoning.

Source: Associated Press

Women are all too accustomed to being held accountable for men’s actions. Ms. Lewinsky, for instance, isn’t the only one who’s had to pay for Mr. Clinton’s sins. His wife, former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton, has fallen victim to this tendency repeatedly throughout her career. Most notably, shortly before the 2016 presidential election, Mrs. Clinton’s Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, invited numerous women who’ve accused Mr. Clinton of sexual misconduct in the past to speak out against Mrs. Clinton in an effort to discredit her leadership potential. Despite being accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than a dozen women himself, Mr. Trump thought it smart strategy to dredge up Mr. Clinton’s past to damage Mrs. Clinton’s future.

Although many might think society has matured, when husbands stray, critics still reflexively chastise the wife for failing to fulfill her “duties.” Instead of portraying the husband as the cheater he is, outsiders attack the wife—a victim in her own right—by blaming her alleged “prudish” nature for his adulterous ways.

But women aren’t merely “stiffs” or “temptresses.”

We are more than vessels for pleasure and progeny.

We are individuals who exist separate from our relation to men.

Honestly, the dynamic between men and women over time seems inherently contradictory and hypocritical. While many lawmakers believe our gender cannot make informed decisions about medical and reproductive care, they’re the first to deem us responsible for the illicit “reproductive” activities of the men in our lives.

In her essay, Ms. Lewinsky also mentions her post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis. Yes, even now, the activist—who’s made it her mission to address and prevent the very sort of bullying she experienced—still struggles with the anguish of being publicly outed and ostracized all these years later. As she wrote, Ms. Lewinsky often jokes that her tombstone will read MUTATIS MUTANDIS: “With Changes Being Made.”

Yet, if Ms. Lewinsky’s writing her own narrative now, chapter-by-chapter, then America must pen an apologetic preface. We botched the editing process the first time around, but we have the opportunity to make corrections moving forward. We can’t erase the pain caused in the past, but we can convey our remorse by making sure that no woman has to suffer such prolonged scrutiny. Let’s put an end to the #MeToo movement once and for all by ensuring no woman ever has to say “me, too” again.

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Donald Trump ‘Hears’ Shooting Survivors’ Pleas—But Was He Really Listening?

Source: Carolyn Kaster/AP

Donald Trump’s cue cards were accurate: he hears you, mass shooting survivors—but his actions prove he wasn’t listening one bit. In the midst of impassioned pleas to implement stricter gun control laws from the survivors and families of mass school shootings, Trump interjected by emphasizing his desire to boost security by training and arming the teachers and administrators responsible for educating America’s youth.

“A gun-free zone to a maniac—because they are all cowards—a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us,'” Trump told the crowd gathered for the White House’s 90-minute listening session about gun control on Wednesday. “If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.”

“I really believe that, if these cowards knew the school was well guarded by professionals with great training, I don’t think they’d go into the school to start off with,” he added.

However, Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, rebuffed Trump’s suggestion, arguing that his wife, Jackie, who’s a teacher, “will tell you that school teachers have more than enough responsibility than to have the awesome responsibility of lethal force to take a life.”

“Nobody wants to see a shootout in a school,” Barden said, adding that, if a “deranged sociopath” wants to commit an attack, after which many attackers then commit suicide anyway, “he’s not going to care if there’s somebody there with a gun.”

Despite the fact that the U.S. pays teachers very little to educate generation after generation, leaders now want these under-appreciated professionals to risk their lives each day. While it’s likely in their nature to do so without thought, asking them to wield the very weapon which threatens their students puts an undue burden on those who already carry more than their weight in responsibility. The government has the capacity to regulate the dissemination of deadly weapons, except leaders continue to pass the task onto others to absolve themselves of any guilt as they quietly cash those checks the NRA keeps sending.

Require more people to own or operate guns, while pretending such measures are designed to protect the people? Sounds like a win-win for the cowardly GOP.

Others have also noted that, while access to such weapons would come under the guise of safety, in the hands of the wrong teacher, they could represent a clear and present danger to unarmed troublemakers who merely require intervention and discipline. After all, there are likely many instances where a teacher could become unhinged and threaten students’ safety just as easily as a mentally disturbed kid.

Countless second amendment supporters have tried to discredit the students who are adamantly fighting for gun reform as they grieve for friends and faculty. With the old youth excuse in mind, detractors claim these kids can’t be taken seriously because they’re too young to understand what they’re saying. But, if they’re old enough to purchase an AR-15—the exact weapon that took the lives of 17 people during the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School—aren’t they old enough to speak out against gun violence, too? It’d seem the only thing they’re too young for is to be treated with respect.

Let’s face it—if Trump needs the phrase “I hear you” written on his notecards, he clearly never planned to listen to these distraught individuals in the first place. You see, hearing someone and listening to someone are entirely different, yet both are intricately linked. While you might hear what someone says, their remarks often go in one ear and out the other, as they say. Listening, however, requires active participation. It requires each party to consider one another’s perspective and understand the merits of each view, even if you ultimately disagree.

Trump’s response to this overwhelming call for reform, however, was not only ignorant; it was tone-deaf. He wants to combat the problem by throwing more guns into the mix, which runs counter to everything those directly impacted by gun violence stand for at this moment in history. Halfhearted measures won’t be able to muffle their cries, though.

The Parkland students have spoken, but they won’t go quiet until the U.S. government truly listens to what they have to say, for they are the speakers for the dead and they won’t rest until the victims can rest in peace.

(This post originally appeared on Storia.)

Thoughts And Prayers Mean Nothing Without Common Sense Gun Control Laws

Source: Resonant Muse/Facebook

Like archived stock footage, we’ve seen this happen time and time again.

Breaking news alerts flood social media as reporters broadcast live footage from the scene on every major TV network. It’s slow at first, but soon information begins to flow alongside images of students and teachers as they evacuate the school to escape the armed individual wreaking havoc inside. Everyone scatters as they rush to safety, their arms raised to prove they’re not the threat. Practice drills could never have prepared them for the terror and carnage they’ve just witnessed.

But well before the survivors have found refuge in the arms of loved ones, and long before the casualties have been counted, lawmakers take to Twitter and Facebook to offer their thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families when, in reality, they should be apologizing for their inaction and their greed.

Mass school shootings have become almost routine in the US. We’re so desensitized now, in fact, that these tragedies often fade from the national spotlight mere days after lives are irreparably shattered. Congress and news outlets might be able to allow the memory of the given massacre to fade, but for the residents of Parkland, Fla., in this case, the wound may never fully heal.

On February 14—Valentine’s Day—Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when he ambushed students and administrators with a semi-automatic assault rifle. Despite being a day dedicated to love, this southern town will forever remember this date as one filled with death and destruction.

Now, as residents grieve those taken too soon, survivors and supporters are calling upon Congress to turn their half-hearted thoughts and prayers into common sense gun control laws in order to prevent this sort of killing spree from happening again once and for all.

Within the first 45 days of 2018 alone, the US has seen 18 school shootings — that’s an average of one attack every 60 hours, and that’s beyond unacceptable when you pause to consider that every single death or injury could’ve been avoided if only Congress valued innocent lives more than the almighty dollar. After all, we elect these lawmakers under the assumption that they’ll always have our best interests at heart, even though their personal interests are all that inevitably come into play.

Despite the public outpouring of thoughts and prayers, many GOP representatives and Congressional leaders are beholden to the National Rifle Association (NRA) because they’ve accepted millions in donations from the controversial organization over the years. Thus, while they are doling out their condolences online, they’re only thinking about how they can spin public perceptions and praying that gun control debates calm down in the coming days so they, too, can emerge from this atrocity unscathed.

Bess Kalb, writer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” spent the aftermath of the Parkland shooting responding to GOP tweets with the amount they’ve accepted from the NRA to date. Donations indicate the given official’s likelihood to favor less strict gun laws, as they profit from the money made off these unstable murderers. Every dollar that crosses their palm represents the blood on their hands, for every time they avoid enacting the common sense gun laws citizens so desperately desire, they become an accomplice in the murder of another innocent victim.

As Everytown’s latest commercial states: “It’s not too soon to talk about policy change. It’s too late.” Lawmakers believe pouncing on the topic of gun control so soon after a mass shooting politicizes the tragedy, but the fact that such attacks continue to happen with such frequency because of the lax laws these officials condone makes each instance inherently political. By not acting in the heat of the moment, officials allow the outrage to simmer so other issues may consume the national conversation, enabling them to dodge the issue — until the next mass shooting occurs, of course. By ignoring the huge death toll, these supposed leaders prove that they’re, in fact, being pulled around by their purse strings.

When Donald Trump took to the podium to address the Parkland massacre Thursday, he assured: “We are here for you — whatever you need, whatever we can do, to ease your pain.” He emphasized that he would work to enhance school safety and improve mental health care in America.

However, nearly one year ago this month, Trump quietly signed a bill rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun. That’s right! One of his first orders as president was to essentially put guns in the hands of the mentally unstable because he, too, was swayed by the NRA. In the moment, he says one thing in an effort to placate the public, but like his colleagues, his words rarely lead to action.

Promises mean nothing if they’re empty. Thoughts and prayers are worthless when there are ways to prevent tragedies without the need for divine intervention. GOP members cannot claim they’ll be there for these survivors when they’ve proven that they don’t truly care in the past. If they did, they would have enacted stricter gun control laws after the 2012 killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. If the deaths of 20 small children couldn’t coax these supposed leaders into action, nothing ever will.

Source: Elizabeth Banks/Twitter

Our elected officials clearly don’t care that our nation’s children have become collateral damage in their support of the NRA. Thankfully, many of these survivors will be able to vote in the next presidential election. If Congress won’t act on their behalf to prevent future deaths, they can express their disgust at the polls, thereby dealing the blow that finally (hopefully) takes these reprehensible gun laws down for good.

(This post originally appeared on Storia.)

Saturday Night Live Should Cut Ties With Alec Baldwin

Source: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Like your favorite bartender or local pizza joint, Alec Baldwin has become a Saturday night staple. His impersonation of Donald Trump earned him an almost-regular role on “Saturday Night Live” back in 2016, putting him at the center of the American zeitgeist, and making the sketch comedy program a must-see for NBC.

But all good things must eventually come to an end, especially when that “good thing” happens to be part of the problem.

If SNL hopes to maintain its credibility, the show must cut ties with Baldwin. While his impersonation has certainly become tired, adding little to the national conversation as of late, Baldwin himself has been more than vocal about his support for his friends and former collaborators—and alleged sexual predators—James Toback and Woody Allen.

Recently, Baldwin came under fire for his comments about Woody Allen and the sexual assault allegations brought on by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow. Baldwin claimed that the accusations were “unfair and sad,” casting doubt on Farrow’s accusations—the very behaviors that discouraged women from coming forward about such violations well before the #MeToo Movement came to be.

“Woody Allen was investigated forensically by two states (NY and CT) and no charges were filed,” Baldwin tweeted in January 2018. “The renunciation of him and his work, no doubt, has some purpose. But it’s unfair and sad to me. I worked with [Woody Allen] 3 times and it was one of the privileges of my career.”

“Is it possible to support survivors of pedophilia and sexual assault/abuse and also believe that [Woody Allen] is innocent? I think so,” Baldwin added. “The intention is not to dismiss or ignore such complaints. But accusing [people] of such crimes should be treated carefully. On behalf of the victims, as well.”

Back in October 2017, when more than 300 women spoke out against Toback, Baldwin also went on the defensive, telling the Los Angeles that the allegations leveled against the famed director and screenwriter were “heartbreaking” despite the fact that he knew Toback was the kind who “hit on a lot of women in a very vague way.”

“Meaning that he had an appetite for going up to women and saying salacious and provocative things to them and introducing himself with his credentials and so forth and laying that on people to seduce them,” Baldwin said. “I never knew any details of what he did that was assault in nature, or rape in nature, or criminally actionable. Never, never, never.”

However, during this same interview, Baldwin went on to criticize the alleged actions of his alter ego. “On the record, there’s all kinds of evidence that Trump has behaved this way,” he said, “and he’s the President of the United States, and that being just one of the things that is horrifying people about Trump, his opinions, his behavior, his methodology and there’s nothing you can do about that.”

How can one man—a self-professed sexist, no less—shame one alleged abuser, while supporting two others?

After all, Baldwin admitted that he’s been guilty of sexism, too, voluntarily outing himself during an appearance at the Paley Center in November. (As if preemptively confessing your faults could make us forget about THAT voicemail…)

“From time to time, I’ve done what a lot of men do, which is… when you don’t treat women the same way you treat men. You don’t. I’m from a generation where you really don’t and I’d like that to change. I really would like that to change,” he said.

“I certainly have treated women in a very sexist way,” Baldwin confessed. “I’ve bullied women. I’ve overlooked women. I’ve underestimated women.” He also explained that the Weinstein reckoning was “a very eye-opening experience” for him personally.

“We’ve got to be vigilant in a new way to make sure that everybody is comfortable, and that we get the job done together that we’re there to do,” he added.

But, no matter what lengths Baldwin goes to in his effort to sugarcoat his previous indiscretions, the actor has been beyond forthcoming with his support of predators who deserve their own day of reckoning. His time on SNL has cast him as some sort of national treasure, making the show appear topical and relevant, all the while allowing its writers to fallback on the same old concept without acknowledging his glaring faults. Allowing Baldwin’s reign to continue aligns the show with his views, intentionally or not, adding an element of hypocrisy to every scathing remark he utters under the guise of Trump.

When it comes to sexual misconduct, you cannot pick and choose who gets the benefit of the doubt. Yes, some abuses are far more severe than others, but this does not negate the fact that each victim deserves to be heard and trusted. SNL can’t ridicule Donald Trump relentlessly without first taking stock of its own moral standing. Judging by the running commentary, it’s easy to conclude that the show serves as a platform for liberal ideas, but its reluctance to shake Baldwin says otherwise. Presidential jokes and skits are par for the course regardless of who’s in office, but did they really need to cast an actor who resembles Trump in both appearance AND ideology? If there’s anything the writers have learned from Trump’s example, it should be two simple words: You’re fired.

(This post originally appeared on Storia.)

Playground Politics for the Trump Era

We should’ve seen it coming.

The moment Senate Republicans refused to hear Judge Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination—screaming “La La La” with their fingers jammed inside their ears, no doubt—our democracy transformed into the middle-aged, predominantly male version of Mean Girls.

“You can’t sit with us!”

Republicans were determined to attain ‘Queen Bee’ status no matter who got burned in their wake. Most didn’t seem to care how such actions might undermine democratic tradition, as they were merely out for revenge against President Obama. Garland’s credentials were hardly relevant—his bid floundered before it even had the chance to flourish.

But now, as Senate Republicans once again work to subvert our country’s founding principles by stealing health care from 22 million of Americas most vulnerable citizens behind closed doors, it’s clear to see that these behaviors weren’t the exception, but instead, the new rule.

Melodramatic as it may sound, Donald J. Trump’s fledgling presidency, and the contentious campaign on which it was built, exacerbates this trend toward infantile impulsivity. After all, those drafting the latest version of the health care bill essentially established an offshoot of the boys’ club we all know D.C. to be. At this point, it’s not even far fetched to imagine these 13 men congregating in some makeshift treehouse with a “No Girls Allowed” sign tacked to the door.

For modern Republicans, party “trumps” people, so to speak. Despite the fact that these elected officials were chosen to represent their constituents long before Trump moved into the neighborhood, they seem desperate to remain in the good graces of the curmudgeon-in-chief. Few have had the backbone thus far to speak out against Trump’s polarizing policies, not because they agree with his views necessarily, but because they don’t want to lose their seat at the lunch table.

Most Republicans are so unprepared to defend their actions, in fact, that they’ve actually tried (and failed) to curtail press freedoms within the halls of Congress. Let’s just say, these so-called leaders never would’ve survived my eighth grade history class. Our teacher, Mr. Finn, warned us that, if we crossed paths in the hallway outside our designated class time, we might still be subject to an on-site pop quiz. No one enjoys being caught off guard, but when your grade’s on the line, you’ve got to use any opportunity you can to excel.

Of course, we are talking about the party that used the national debate stage to argue about the implications of male hand size, so perhaps shining in the spotlight isn’t their strong suit.

But at the end of the day, the bell tolls for those who’ve compromised their dignity to appease the man who, judging by the true results of the 2016 election, wasn’t actually the most popular candidate in America. Delaying the vote on a bill that’s more reminiscent of a death sentence cannot and will not absolve this group of the guilt associated with their methods, either. Their colleagues—on both sides of the aisle—must hold them accountable for its content and its creation.

Trump himself deemed the bill “mean” in a private meeting with Senate Republicans—and he’s the Regina George of this entire mess, so that speaks volumes. Yet, even if the bill still isn’t as “kind” as he’d prefer, there’s no doubt that he’d sign it into law if it manages to pass. Like the rest of his cohorts, he’s determined to destroy Obama’s legacy by any means possible.

From climate change to Cuban relations, Trump will scribble his name on any executive order or piece of legislation that undoes Obama’s landmark achievements, even if it means compromising America’s future in the process. He’s all about spectacle, not substance. “Getting things done” means nothing if, in the end, everything’s come undone.

Maybe, if we promise to stick a gold star at the top of each document that crosses his desk, Trump will finally sign something that benefits the greater good.

 

Trump’s War on Women Includes Mother Nature

Women’s bodies are always under public scrutiny. We’re on display from the moment we’re born. Why do you think so many of the naked babies featured in films and advertisements are clearly girls? Even before we learn to command our own bodily functions, our bodies are not our own.

And ever since Trump and his cohorts came to town, it seems almost illegal to inhabit the female form.

Sexual assault victims, as it stands, will soon be treated as accomplices of their own attack if the GOP has anything to say. Under Trumpcare, victims will no longer have access to safe abortion services, should the need arise, leading them to take matters into their own hands or carry the child to term—an alternative to the traditional life sentence. Because rape will soon count as a pre-existing condition, victims likely won’t be able to afford maternity care and mental health services either, forcing them to pay—both monetarily and emotionally—for the sins trespassed against them.

Of course, while women are nothing more than “second-class” citizens whose only crime was being born, Trump has chosen to tackle an even greater foe of the female variety—Mother Nature. By pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Trump has stripped Mother Nature of her rights. And she will not remain silent.

Source: kellybdc/Flickr

While women continue to speak out against the injustices we face, it’s easy for the predominantly white, male Republican Party to brush us off as nothing more than noise. But Mother Nature? No, she will never go quietly into the night. No matter how deep their denial flows, lawmakers cannot and will not put an end to climate change by pretending it doesn’t exist.

Because it does exist. Anyone with common sense and an eighth grade education will agree. We’ve failed our planet and, in response, our planet has begun to fail us. Why do you think the massive crack in Antarctica’s ice shelf grew 11 miles in only six days? Why do you think the once-vibrant Great Barrier Reef now suffers from coral bleaching and imminent death? Why do you think koalas, polar bears and countless other animal species are struggling to survive in their evolving habitats?

It’s downright preposterous that the political party that so closely associates with the pro-life movement continues to pursue policies that imperil the lives of those who are and those who will be. They might not live to experience the repercussions of their decisions, but their children and grandchildren certainly will. Even great wealth won’t save them from what’s to come.

Remember when Cal, played by Billy Zane, tries to bribe his way onto a lifeboat in Titanic? While Mr. Murdoch takes the money initially, he ultimately throws the stack back in Cal’s face as he says, “Your money can’t save you anymore than it can save me.” No amount of money will ever be able to reverse the damage Trump’s decision will inflict.

We are all in the same boat and everyone’s the captain—if the U.S. proves to be the iceberg that destroys the world’s environmental efforts, we’re all going to go down with the ship.

Government officials and their law enforcement lackeys can continue to treat women like one collective menace to society, but they cannot punish Mother Nature without being punished in return. Climate change will persist no matter how fervently the GOP resists. We might not be able to leave this planet in a better state than it was when we arrived, but we can do everything within our power to make the future brighter for those who don’t yet have a say.

In this instance, Trump shouldn’t be concerned with the people of Pittsburgh or Paris. When it comes to Mother Nature, he should focus solely on the children of tomorrow. He has an 11-year-old son, after all. Such disregard for science should be considered some form of negligence, if you think about it. In fact, it’s downright criminal.

 

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(This post originally appeared on the Ms. Magazine Blog.)

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)