THE ONES WHO LAUGHED

 

Is anyone surprised that Donald Trump verbally attacked a victim of sexual assault? The surprise came days ago when he responded to a question about Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony in a measured, civil tone. But it was only a matter of time, and we all knew that. This is a man who always reveals himself as ice-cold and attracted to cruelty. This is a man who gleefully imitated a journalist who has a physical disability. And who has called women horrible names…when he’s not talking about grabbing them between their legs.

What should chill us to the bone is how the crowd around him reacted. They laughed and jeered at his take-down of a woman who had the courage to appear before the entire country and give sworn testimony about the worst day of her life, when she thought she might be raped, when she thought she might be killed. When asked what moment haunts her the most, she answered that it was the way Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge laughed at her.

Now she has to endure the sight and sound of thousands of people laughing at her expense. Donald Trump knew exactly how to inflict the deepest wound – she told us in her testimony where that wound was. He wrote his script that Thursday. He just decided to play nice for a few days before acting on it.

But Donald Trump’s legendary cruelty is not what will doom us as a society. The thousands of people who go along with it will be our downfall. I looked hard at the faces behind him. There were undoubtedly parents and grandparents there, probably church-going folks who say grace before meals and don’t let their kids swear. And they were laughing at a woman who was violently assaulted. What did they say to each other, to their kids, when they got home that night? Did they gush about how inspirational the president was? How he’s such a good example of how to treat other human beings? Did they tell their daughters to never accuse a boy or a man of assault because it might ruin his life, and did they then tell their sons that their lives are in grave danger because hordes of women have started a movement and are making up false stories about innocent men? How exactly do those people who cheered and jeered at Donald Trump’s mockery rationalize their behavior when they go home to their family and friends?

Standing to Donald Trump’s left was a young boy – he looked to be about 9 or 10. His face was passive, unemotional, but it seemed clear that he was paying close attention. Who will he grow up to be?

Donald Trump will not ultimately dictate how we go on from here as a society when it comes to our treatment of women, particularly women who have been assaulted and raped. The thousands of people whose laughter will echo around all of us, weeks and months from now, will set the tone for our future. Donald Trump Jr. said he’s more worried about his sons than his daughters because he fears that his sons will be unjustly accused. Obviously, he loses no sleep over whether or not his daughters might find themselves pinned down by a guy who wants to rape them.

I’m worried about his sons too – I’m worried they’ll turn out to be just like him.

8 Responses to THE ONES WHO LAUGHED

  1. Rodney Wilson says:

    These are terribly difficult days and this essay crystallizes precisely why. I’ve never been so disheartened.

  2. Stephanie Gootgeld-Melograno says:

    Excellent Patti.

  3. David Marks says:

    Patti, we can collectively group Trump’s words and actions into a cauldron of nearly insane, yet inane, stew of outrageous words and behaviors, and look to those who seemingly stand around in support, and wonder why. We can question just where these people come from, and there’s never been a more fair and deliberate question, but the answer, unfortunately, is too outrageous to try to find an answer. Trump’s response to women, like his response to families wanting a better way of life, is to guard himself first, insult his detractors, second, then, until he sees himself losing, try to rally his base in his own, misguided direction. Obviously, I agree with you, and most do, but until we devote our lives to the end of Trump, a man, whose nearly sociopathic view of women, of people, is challenged by the archaic law makers in the Senate, like Lindsey Graham, very little will change. I do believe he is the first treasonous president, and I do believe he has no regard for our position the world over, but none of that will change, and the only remedy is to remove him from the presidency. He is far more dangerous than Nixon, and represents the very worst of what America has to produce. What surprises me most, is that there are people, from the richest enclaves of American life, to the poorest, least educated, who will not easily budge. The richest, the seemingly best educated, will never alter their support, but his base, ah, his base, is founded upon mere ignorance, and they are the rightful targets for change, even in the slightest manner, because their pocket books are tethered, easily broken open with small holes, and the little they have, can be largely lost. You’ve raised upsetting points here, which you must, and which we must know as true. In order for evolution to join our hands, we must all be willing to be honest about the most reckless, most dangerous man to ever serve the nation. Kavanaugh is an extreme example of the horrific people he can bring into his fold, but he can be defeated. Thank you, Patti, as always, for taking your readers on a journey through the simple, yet expansive world of Trump. Hopefully, you will change some minds, but even if you do not, you have provided us with truth.

  4. Jill Deming says:

    Even more disturbing to me are people that I know that are STILL defending this man and think he’s absolutely delightful.

  5. Kimothy Cruse says:

    THANK YOU Patti. You’re usual clarity and insight into the truth of how we must fight the cruelty and pathetic tactics of an insane person like Trump and more importantly, his supporters, gives renewed hope and determination to me and many others. #RESIST #VOTE THEM AWAY

  6. Good work, Patti. Yes, it is chilling to the bone that there is, indeed, a crowd who joins him in his mockery of women. A crowd that cheers him on and applauds the tone of disdain, ridicule, and hate not only for women, but for anyone who dares to call him out for his daily hate-filled rants against those who don’t approve of his words and behaviors. The true toxicity of his impact is how contagious, normalized, and emboldening these words and acts of hate have become in our public discourse.

  7. My daughter is my only child. Believe me, I am concerened about the world we are leaving her.

    If I want to see a more loving, kind society, I have to be more loving and tolerant. I need to show her how a good man lives life. This is powerful, actions are far louder than words.

    I also need to vote in every election.

    I am sickened by what I see in our country. I need to be the change, its the only way.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are getting people to talk about important stuff. That is huge!

    All the best,
    Charles

  8. Michael Baron says:

    Brilliant points, Patti! Thank you for once again providing such invaluable insights and perspectives! You are making a very powerful statement about how sexual assault and rape should be acknowledged and discussed — for all of our sake! We all owe you substantial gratitude for your incredible wisdom!

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