Things are getting ugly.
I think we can all agree that the 45th president of the United States of America does things that are not indicative of a facility with words, strategy, politics or policy. Though a graduate of an Ivy League school, he doesn’t seem to have a great deal of interest in intellectual pursuits. He is not polite. To put it mildly. His inner circle seems to include crude, angry, unkempt, and clumsy people.
To a casual observer, to even the least-savvy political mind, Donald Trump’s behavior is fatuous, at best. I would say that, at worst, he behaves like a bully, but I’m sure it can be worse. It’s likely to get worse, in fact.
And while we watch him spew, sputter and spin out, we feel frustrated. We can see the cruelty and short-sightedness of those in power, and their rookie mistakes. And we feel like geniuses.
So why do so many of us act like an unruly mob?
The fact that the tone of our president’s language, and his administration’s language, is awful is a good reason to respond with careful language. It is not a good reason to respond with equally ugly words. We acknowledge that no grown person, especially not a person in power, should crudely insult anyone publicly. In the same breath, we echo his language to insult him, his inner circle, the misguided voters who are stuck with him, and anyone else within earshot.
I can hear you. My kids can hear you. The world can hear you. If we are all concerned about the U.S. becoming an international joke, then we need to find a better way to handle it than calling each other retards, dumbasses, and scum. If the president advocates violence, and we are offended, why do we threaten violence in return? The threat of violence shocks us, so we know it is wrong. And yet, we perpetuate it. Why insult women? We know that commenting on a woman’s appearance, particularly as a way to make a point about her husband, is wrong. And yet, it never stops.
Please. Please stop.
What, you might ask, set me off? I will tell you what. Cocksucking. That’s not a term I ever use publicly. It’s not a term that is typically uttered in polite company, but it’s coming up a lot since the White House communications director used it in a phone call to a prominent journalist — a call that was a step away from a drunk dial.
Now people are gleefully talking about cocksucking and calling each other cocksuckers. And I’m upset. Anger perpetuates anger, and I would love to live in a world where we could step out of that cycle. I would love to be able to read about politics without having a nuclear blast of hate melt my eyebrows. But the cocksucking? That’s another matter.
That term, as an insult, is a prime example of insidious homophobia. Nobody ever calls me a cocksucker. If someone did, I might blush, but I would shrug in agreement, because I like who I like, you know? (Here’s where I hope my parents don’t read my blog!) Cocksucker used as an insult is meant to slap a man right in his tender manliness button. If the men in and around the Trump administration were performing gentle, loving acts upon each other as much as people joke about it, our country might have fewer problems.
How do we hold them accountable for eroding LGBT rights when we echo the use of cocksucker as an insult? How do we convince them to respect women in word, deed and policy if we use cocksucker as an insult? Seems like cocksucking is usually a pretty nice thing for one human to do with another human. No need to use that term in such an ugly way.
Remember this lady? Remember how much we love her, how selflessly she served our country in an unpaid position? How she inspired us? You do, don’t you? Show her some respect, because she has some good advice for you.
I don’t want to be unnecessarily harsh, but I’m finding a great need to speak up when I see people who reasonably react with fear, horror, shock or frustration to the Trump administration echoing its toxic language. I’m not here to police anyone, but I certainly want to note it. If you applauded Michelle Obama for saying “when they go low, we go high,” then please: Go high. I would like to hang on to that sentiment. I’d like to wrap it around me like a warm blanket, because the toxic masculinity of the Trump administration is really, really ugly and nearly inescapable.