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sexism

Nope, nope, nope. All due respect, Michelle Goldberg, but I disagree with you on 100% on this one.

If there is the barest sliver of consolation, it’s that Trump appears almost as miserable and anxiety-ridden as we are. He’s losing the tiny bit of control he had. It’s better for Trump to show us all who he really is than to let his lackeys pretend he’s remotely worthy of his office. Every time he tweets, he reveals his presidency as a disgusting farce. Let’s hope he keeps doing it.

Trump feeling emboldened to make these kinds of brazen statements? That’s not refreshing. That’s terrifying.

Society only works when people recognize that there are lines you don’t cross, things you don’t say out loud. It only works when people react in horror to these things, as they ought to.

But Trump’s supporters aren’t reacting in horror to what he’s doing. They’re cheering him on. They’re feeling increasingly emboldened to make similar pronouncements themselves, free of any kind of societal disapproval. Meanwhile, even his detractors are reacting with a kind of numbness, as we lose our capacity to be shocked by the sheer volume of excrement coming out of Trump’s mouth (or, as it were, Twitter account).

The more he does it, the more it becomes normalized. That’s how societies break down, all throughout history.

Trump’s not breaking down. The US is. And if he “keeps doing it”, shit’s only gonna get worse. Because there’s nobody out there who seems inclined or able to stop him.

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Barack Obama gave a widely-anticipated speech in Montreal today.

I watched online and, for most of it, Obama was in fine form: Eloquent, respectful, inspiring. But then there was an odd section, late in the speech, about gender equality and advancing the cause of women. Which included this line:

“I did conclude at a certain point that if you just put women in charge of every country for just about two years, the world would make a huge leap forward and just be better off generally. And that’s why I do think you guys (women) are a little better.”

With all due respect to Barack Obama — and he deserves a lot of respect — that statement goes way too far.

It’s one thing to encourage more gender parity, and better representation for women and minorities in politics at all levels. On this we agree entirely.

It’s another thing to assign false stereotypes to female politicians and assume that because of them, women would automatically make better leaders than men.

Marine Le Pen. Theresa May. Sarah Palin. Indira Gandhi. Imelda Marcos. Eva Peron. Dilma Rousseff. Margaret Thatcher. Kellie Leitch. Pauline Marois. I could go on here.

Women aren’t automatically more compassionate, wise, nurturing, caring, insightful, or resistant to corruption. I suspect that we have these qualities in roughly the same proportion as men do.

And politics inherently elevates the ruthless, the corrupt, the power-hungry and the populist, while chewing up and spitting out the idealistic, the competent and the well-intentioned. Most of the corrupt, terrible leaders have been men, but that’s just because most leaders in history have been men, period.

If and when the glass ceilings disappear, I suspect we’ll have just as many terrible female leaders as we do male ones. We may be hoping for a Michelle Obama, and end up instead with an Ivanka Trump. Or, for that matter, a Claire Underwood.

That’s not to say those glass ceilings oughtn’t be shattered. Of course they must. But we must demand better from ALL our leaders — male, female or otherwise.

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