If you watch nothing more today, I ask you to watch this video.
Donald Trump has used a number of phrasings across his campaign that many, many people have found offensive.
He’s criticized the weight and looks of women, spoken of his penchant for doing what he wants, when he wants with them.
He has crossed so many lines, we find ourselves applauding his efforts when he manages to make it 20 minutes without an insult.
The general response from his supporters can be summed up as ‘who are you to be offended at my speech?’
CNN commentator Van Jones made a comment this evening that really resonated. Paraphrased, he stated that it is the responsibility of the person making the comments, as a function of civility as a foundation to our civilization, to pause, understand and consider their words.
Freedom of speech is not freedom from the consequences of your actions, which includes offending people and the fallout therein. You don’t get to tell people what offends them is wrong.
A comment by user merrywidow struck a chord with me today. The comment was in response to a blog post by Leslie Salzillo recounting the experience of Amber Nelson on an Alaska Airlines flight. On this flight, a male passenger interrupted an air safely briefing to comment on the appearance of the flight attendant. Commenting on this blog post and event, merrywidow commented:
Gonna be tough for a lot of men when women get parity in public and private, no more putting up with this crap.
Here’s the thing: parity is not an infringement on our rights as males.
Holding your tongue and refraining from creating an uncomfortable or hostile environment is what moral, civil people do.
Anything less – any rationalization – of sexually suggestive, demeaning, taunting or aggressive is tantamount to declaring that men have some inherent right to this speech.
This is not the case. Words are not “just words”.
This is an excerpt from a letter I penned to my daughters:
Words are not just words.
Words have power.
They are an act of will.
They are an expression of a thought.
They are the physical manifestation of an intent to speak, the audible result of will.
They are thoughts given life, an act, which inspire others to further action.
Demanding parity is not an infringement on the rights of men.
It is, instead, honoring the equal right of women to enjoy a space free of aggression, of hostility, of having to play defense to ‘words’.
Gov. Pence’s response to this question speaks volumes. The question:
There was a Girl Scout troop, came to our station the other day for a tour, and afterward, there was an 11-year-old girl who told our staff, and she said this completely unsolicited. She was talking about Donald Trump’s words in campaign commercials. She said this: “When I hear those words and look in the mirror, they make me feel bad about myself.” Again, she said that totally unsolicited. What would you say to that 11-year-old girl?
“Well, I would say to any one of my kids and any children in this country that Donald Trump and I are committed to a safer and more prosperous future for their family. The weak and feckless foreign policy that Hillary Clinton promises to continue has literally caused wider areas of the world to spin apart, the rise of terrorist threats that have inspired violence here at home, and we’ve seen an erosion of law and order in our streets. And we’ve seen opportunities and jobs evaporate and even leave Ohio and leave this country. I would say to any of our kids that if Donald Trump and I have the chance to serve in the White House, that we’re going to work every day for a stronger, safer and more prosperous America.”
He cannot answer the question, because Mr. Trump’s words are indefensible. His conduct toward others on the campaign trail is indefensible.
It has left his surrogates to make a choice: integrity or politics.
It’s clear the choice that Gov. Pence has made, with responses like this.
No additional commentary beyond, “Well said, madame First Lady.”
Senator Warren lambasted the GOP today for their continued obstruction of consideration of President Obama’s nominee for the SCOTUS.
Consider: Senator McConnell is holding up the due process of consideration of the legitimately elected President, in the hope that the GOP nominee wins the next election. If this happens, he will have denied the Consitutional right of an African American man, in hopes of electing a white man over a woman.
What say you?
A friend shared this with me today. It directly ties into the conversation of gender and race the nation is or should be having right now.
You can’t make this stuff up…this is Speaker Ryan’s most recent tweet.
Warning: Graphic Language