Donald Trump is lecherous and repugnant. The floodgates of allegations have been opened and dozens of women have come forward.
These dozens probably stand in for hundreds. But who knows? We never will.
What's been so frustrating about the mainstream coverage of Trump's sins has been the tone of outrage towards these allegations. Not the kind of tone used by women who have courageously taken to social media to detail their own experiences with sexual assault, but the tone only a dominant male voice from within the mainstream media could use.
That voice that is shocked to hear that this kind of "locker room talk" ever happens.
That voice that is shocked that such a pig-dog parading in a toupé and who is entirely unfit, could come so close to leading the United States.
That voice that individualizes, while sensationalizing the allegations as somehow being abnormal.
Trump's behavior is well-documented and should shock no one. A man who wants to deport people, who whips up racist sentiment among whites (especially those who are known to be violent or to plan violent actions), is a horrible human being. He is as horrible now as he has been at every step of this campaign.
And somehow, these stories are framed as if each allegation should re-ignite our outrage anew. What is nebulous outrage supposed to deliver? A Clinton victory? Then what?
We could lay blame at the feet of media outlets who, in the beginning, refused to take Trump's candidacy seriously. Who laughed off his candidacy and placed it in the entertainment section, because he simply should not be taken seriously.
We could lay some of the blame at the feet of the DNC, who if their emails are to be believed, wanted Clinton to have it out against a supervillian as her chances would be better than if she were up against a petty villain like Jeb Bush or Chris Christie.
We live in a patriarchy. The only people who could possibly be surprised there are men at the top of our sexist society who are serial abusers of women, are individuals who have never witnessed sexual abuse as a tool of power.
Hell, we don't need to go very far back to see other abusers who hold political office. Clinton has a strategic partnership with one, after all.
The structural ways in which society continues to abuse women: income inequality, income insecurity, domestic abuse, physical violence and on and on are connected to economics, politics and our social order. And, these ways are deeply entwined with other societal oppressions: colonialism, white supremacy and racism, ableism, immigration status, gender identity, expression and sexual orientation.
We know all of this already.
But this election has obscured this. Clinton's the better choice because she's not probably going to deliver the United States into totalitarianism. She's infinitely more competent and prepared for the job. She represents a victory of women over these political structures to many of her supporters. In the fight against the patriarchy, she's a symbol.
Symbols are important, but they don't lead to social change on their own.
Isolating and essentializing sexual abuse in Donald Trump might help to elect Clinton, but what happens when the election is over? Will other top serial abusers within American politics go down with him, even if they're Democrats?
Or is the hyper focus on Trump's sins going to evaporate when he loses?
Journalists need to stop covering Trump as if he's an aberration, rather than an example of what happens to powerful men under patriarchy.
From Arnold Schwarzenegger to Roger Ailes, from Bill Murray to David Faraci, from Woody Allen, Anthony Weiner to the unnamed Hollywood executive referenced by Rose McGowan, from priests across North America, to academic deans to "hero" cops, sexual assault and abuse is our society's norm.
It's so normal that within the ranks of our own RCMP, hundreds of women are part of a class-action settlement of $100 million for having endured abuse. That figure probably wont even be enough to adequately compensate the survivors.
Stop thinking about Donald Trump as abnormal. The 2016 election is little more than mainstream America engaging in an existential war between its id and its superego. These ugly elements are features of an ugly system. Once the election has finally come and gone, the real reckoning will have to happen: the one that reminds the commentariat that using sexual assault to get anyone elected is simply playing into the same system that we at the same time condemn.
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