Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Inconvenient Truth About Donald Trump's 2005 Comments Toward Women

 

About this time last year, when I first began writing and designing my blog, I did so with the intention of tackling controversial topics that other people might not be eager or able to write about. I wanted to say the things that many others were thinking, but no one else was willing to say. In the beginning, my plan was to not even tell my friends and family that I was the one writing the articles, so that I could protect myself behind a mask of anonymity, without fear of personal attacks or judgment. What I didn't realize at that point however, is that without the support of your friends and family; people who will read your articles even if they suck, it is next to impossible to increase the readership of your blog. So begrudgingly, I revealed to my family and social media friends that I was the author, in order to grow my page.

In some ways, I regret it. I sometimes wish I had remained anonymous so that I could truly speak my mind with no fear of repercussions. But at the same time, I believe it has in some ways helped me personally to grow and face my fears of condemnation. The first time I posted an article that made reference to sex, I must have sat there with my finger hovering above the button on my mouse for 20 minutes, debating whether to hit “publish”, worrying about who would read it and how they might judge me for it. But in the end, I decided that I shouldn't be worried about their opinions as long as I am being honest. Sure, I've offended some people. And out of the 10+ articles I've posted, and almost 3,500 page views, I can count on one hand how many times my family members have actually shared my posts, but it's okay. I didn't start my blog to make friends or to make people feel warm and fuzzy. I created my blog to help initiate the difficult conversations that make people uncomfortable in this world that is offended by everything.

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When the headlines began surfacing Friday about the leaked conversation in which Donald Trump discussed sexual acts and what could only be described by some as deviant predatory behavior, my first instinct was to avoid it altogether. I told myself that nothing would be gained by taking either side or even acknowledging the situation. But then I realized this was a prime example of why I started my blog. If I took the easy way out and just ignored the headlines, I would be denying myself and therefore, letting my readers down.

Over the last few months of this “Presidential” election season, I have learned that any time I see a new post on social media about either candidate supposedly saying or doing something shocking that could disrupt their race to the oval office, I should first just ignore it. Since roughly 90% of what is posted is nothing more than click bait, or completely fabricated propaganda being put out by the other side, just hoping that some poor unintelligent soul will read only that article and nothing else before making the decision of who to vote for. And as sad as it may be, this probably is not a terrible approach, considering how stupid the majority of our country has become. Our media outlets are so corrupt and biased, and the average low information voter is so quick to form an opinion and take a side, based on nothing more than something they heard on the news or read on Facebook. Most people do this without even considering taking a minute to verify the facts.

So when I saw the first few posts Friday about the overheard lewd conversation from 2005 between Donald Trump and Billy Bush, my first reaction was to ignore it; assuming it was just another made up story, or exaggerated opinion of something that might or might not have actually taken place. Conveniently, just now discovered and made public a month before election day, and 2 days before the next debate. As time went on however, it became apparent that regardless of the advantageous timing of this coming to light, it seemed to be true.

What really blew me away, more than the fact that Trump had apparently said these words, was how quickly other men, especially elected politicians, publicly condemned him and distanced themselves from him. The uncomfortable truth here, or the elephant in the room, is that I would bet the money in my wallet that the majority of those men, who were all once young dumb “invincible” college students, fraternity members and well-off ivy league types, have undoubtedly made similar comments
in private, when they thought the conversation would stay in the room. Many of these men, much like Trump, knew that no matter what they did, Daddy would be there with his bank account and influence to bail them out, or to make sure their name was never seen in a news story if they got drunk and did something stupid. But how many of these men could have their careers, marriages and lives ruined by nothing more than having a previously buried and forgotten video from college come to light? My guess, is quite a few! However, since they are not the one in this video who is making inappropriate comments, they are going to say a little prayer and bet on video evidence of their prior indiscretions never surfacing. While this might be appealing to their constituents, every one of these men has now successfully condemned themselves if they are ever unlucky enough to have some dirty laundry from their past show up at the most inopportune time.

Several people I have spoken to about this situation, especially those who are a few years younger than me, have expressed just how appalled they are that anyone would think they could say those words and get away with it. And I get it! These days, I have to assume that anything I ever say or do is going to follow me for the rest of my life. The words I write in this article, could very well be used against me in years to come by a potential employer, or even by a future spouse. Because in this age of information, you can find out anything about anyone. These days, we are surrounded by technology. So even if there is not video, audio, or photographic evidence of you saying or doing something offensive, whether you did it or not, it is relatively easy to track down someone from your past who is willing to say (for the right price) that you did it. At that point, it is solely up to the media to determine if convicting you without a trial would in some way increase their number of followers.

Looking back to 2005, when the Trump-Bush video was recorded, it was a big year for me. I was a Junior in college, a manager at Blockbuster Video, and I had just joined my fraternity. I had my first serious girlfriend, a top-of-the-line flip phone, and Facebook still required you to have a college (.edu) email address to be a member. Twitter and Instagram hadn't been created yet, and Myspace, while still being the most prominent social media platform, did not require you to use your real name. Perhaps most importantly, in 2005, because social media was not yet what it has become today, people were not as aware of the potential that something they said or did could get posted, shared and then seen by millions of people around the world.

So much has changed in those 11 years; not just technology. Social media has changed everything; especially any expectation of privacy we might have once had. When I was in college, I was that weird kid who always had my camera with me. So while I'm one of the few people in my circle of friends who has thousands of pictures from parties and other various school events, I have also had several friends contact me years later, asking me to delete or “lose” any pictures I might have of them doing anything embarrassing, because they decided to go into education or law enforcement and didn't want anything to show up that might tarnish their character.

When you're in college, you think you're invincible. You drive too fast, drink too much, and say things you don't mean. And yes, when its just you and your closest friends, and you think the
conversation won't leave the room, you might even brag about your sexual conquests, even throwing in a few exaggerated details to improve the story. Trust me, I have been a witness to many of these conversations. Looking back on it, I realize just how offensive and damaging some of these comments could have been if overheard by the wrong person. However, like it or not, these conversations are quite prevalent. So regardless of how socially unacceptable it might be; no matter how easy it might be to condemn someone for saying these things, don't be fooled into thinking similar comments haven't been made by your spouse, your parent, your child, or in many cases, by you personally.

This doesn't make it okay by any stretch of the imagination, but just because someone took part in those conversations, it does not automatically mean they are a misogynist, a sexual deviant, or a predator. Actually quite the contrary. For the most part, the men I'm telling you about are all devoted husbands, loving fathers and just generally good, honorable, respectful people. And women, don't try to act like you don't have the same conversations on your girls night out. Trust me, some of the most offensive and predator-like sexual comments I've ever heard, came from women. They might not be as common or rampant, but you ladies are not by any means above reproach.

It never occurs to you when you're a young college kid that years down the road, those pictures of you doing a keg stand, or taking a beer bong, or going skinny dipping, might surface and ruin your life. Much less that a recording of some private, slightly intoxicated conversation could show up just in time to ruin your chances of being elected to a political office. Your biggest fear is getting caught and arrested for underage drinking, or driving under the influence. When really it should be the fear of injuring or killing yourself or someone else, or doing anything that has long term consequences that might follow you the rest of your life.

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I realize the majority of this article has discussed the stupid things people said and did in college, which could come back to bite them in the ass later on in life. And I know, Donald Trump's comments didn't take place when he was in college; they happened when he was well beyond middle age. He was more than old enough to not only have known better than to say what he said; it shouldn't have even occurred to him to say it. But the one vast similarity Trump had to a young, dumb college student, is that even at his age, due to money and power, he thought he was invincible. At that time, after running for President in 2000, he had no future plans to run for political office.

None of what I've said here excuses Trump for the disgusting comments he made toward that woman or women in general. But how many of you have said or done things in your past that you are not proud of, and that could do similar or even worse damage to you if you were the one running for political office? Just because you might have made similarly-disgusting comments in a past life, it doesn't mean that you can't move past that period and be a perfectly respectable gentleman, husband, father and leader.

What Trump said in 2005 is inexcusable; but it is forgivable. And that is between him and God.

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