This Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote Nails What's Off In Criticism Of Donald Trump
After The Washington Post published a report on Friday on recently unearthed tapes of Donald Trump making reprehensible, "lewd" comments about women — including how he could just "grab them by the pussy" — many men, namely politicians and journalists, came out to denounce the ear acid. And they did it with, I'm sure, the best intentions. The only problem is that many of those men dangerously missed the mark when it came to why Trump's words are indefensible. And this one Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote sums up exactly why it's important to critique their Trump critique.
For background, here's what Trump said, bragging about how his privilege as a celebrity makes sexual assault permissible:
And although he issued a non-apology apology the night the tapes were revealed, brushing off his shameful statements as "locker room banter," many of his one-time defenders aren't buying it, saying there's no excuse for the deeply offensive rhetoric. Many top Republicans in Congress and other GOP leaders have even gone so far as to rescind their endorsements.
Paul Ryan quickly released a statement to hold Trump accountable for his words and uninvited him from their upcoming event, on top of refusing to work with him for the rest of the campaign, saying:
Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, released a statement explaining how horrified he was by Trump's remarks:
It's a step in the right direction. That type of language is unacceptable. But it's not unacceptable only if you know and care about a woman — it's unacceptable because it's offensive to anyone who understands and insists that all human beings should be treated equally and with basic, fundamental respect.
Even New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, a defender of women's rights and an activist in exposing sex trafficking and highlighting the gender inequalities that lead to the crime, said in a Facebook Live feed:
The defense surely comes from a good place, but the language used to denounce the horrendous words Donald Trump puked all over the Access Hollywood bus still perpetuates the idea that women are "other" than and need special protection from men. And according to Ginsburg, when that happens, this is the result:
Kristof goes on to get a little closer to the root of the issue: "What if it were Hillary Clinton who was caught on a videotape joking about castrating men and forcing herself on young men or something?" I appreciate the analogy to illustrate the double standard Hillary Clinton faces, but even as a woman, I wouldn't be offended by Clinton saying something so disgusting because I know and care about the men in my life — it'd be offensive because you shouldn't mutilate or abuse any human.
That same spirit should be applied to the denunciations of Trump's comments. They're wrong not because we care about the women in our lives and feel compelled to protect them. They're wrong because they're disgusting remarks, and reveal a person bragging about his horrible treatment of a human.