In case the blackening of the skies, shaking of the earth, and disembodied screams of the damned didn’t clue you in, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States one week ago today. (Just kidding; as Trump himself will tell you, there were no blackened skies because the rain stopped and the sun came out the moment he started speaking.)
[Content note: Violence against Nazis]
So the country is abuzz in the wake of an incident of violence following Friday’s inauguration. Floppy-haired white supremacist Richard Spencer was doing a sidewalk interview with Australia’s ABC when a dude in a hoodie came up from out of nowhere and just fucking clocked him, and then ran off.
Sure, I’ll weigh in, and thanks for asking.
Last night, under cover of darkness, Senate Republicans bypassed “roll back and revise” and “repeal and replace” with a third option for addressing the Affordable Care Act: “repeal and go fuck yourself,” wherein they repeal the current ACA and replace with jack shit. At 1:00 this morning, following a charmingly named all-night “Vote-a-Rama,” the Senate voted 51-48 along party lines to pass a budget measure that’s the first step in demolishing the ACA.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about dialogue and understanding. Liberals just need to try to understand conservatives, They say. People get defensive when you call them (or, more often, even just imply that they might be) bigots, They say. If we want to get anything accomplished, we need to meet conservatives halfway, (in which “halfway” is usually defined as “on their side”), They say. Generally, the response from the liberal camp is, “Fuck that shit.” You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. It’s hard and unsatisfying, and maybe the New York Times needs to do a Dialogue and Understanding piece about people who are being asked to take on that struggle. That said, dialogue can happen. Here’s how.
After four days of deliberation, the judge declared a mistrial in the case of Michael Slager, a white Charleston police officer who is accused of murder in the death of unarmed black man Walter Scott. Cell phone video shows Slager shooting eight times at Scott as he ran away after a traffic stop for a broken tail light, hitting him in the back three times, killing him. Slager’s attorney called upon the Big Black Monster defense to argue that Scott was “out of control” and fought Slager with “unusual strength.”
A lot of attention has been paid to the mystery of why, God, why, and how, and why again, any marginally intelligent person could support. How has a man who is completely unsuited, in character, temperament, knowledge base, intellect, and home training, to be the president of the United States make it as far as he’s made it? The obvious answer is that there are a lot more bigoted, closed-minded, hateful, ignorant people in the electorate than we’d originally thought possible. But we, as a society, don’t generally like to think of people that way — for all the whining about “PC culture,” we give a lot of passes to be people who absolutely don’t deserve them — and so we’ve sought out other options.
That’s where we’ve gotten “>so many articles profiling the “real” Trump base — salt-of-the-earth, working-class white voters who are stumbling into a new world of multiculturalism, who are suffering from economic woes, and who just want some support for their very real problems. And yet, for all of that, I haven’t been able to escape the feeling that they need to cry themselves a river and canoe on home.
[Trigger warning for rape]
Well, that was quick.
In a development that definitely disappoints but doesn’t surprise, Brock Turner was released from jail Friday, a stunningly short three months into an already pathetic six-month sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Early release for good behavior, you know. Nice boy that he is, who just made some bad decisions this one time.
Western Ohio… he’s yours now.
Because we needed another reminder that a promising young athlete’s bright potential mustn’t be dimmed by the consequences of a rape conviction: 18-year-old rising collegian David Becker was charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery after sexually assaulting two unconscious classmates at a house party in 2015. The district attorney recommended two years in prison, but Palmer District Court Judge Estes ordered a continuation without finding for two years. During his two years of probation, Becker has to avoid drugs and alcohol, submit to evaluation for sex-offender treatment, and stay away from his two victims. He won’t have to register as a sex offender and won’t have a conviction on his record as long as he sticks to the terms of his probation, which is good for this community service-serving, college-bound, three-sport athlete, because, his lawyer said, “We all made mistakes when we were 17, 18, 19[.].”
I apologize for Feministe’s long, long radio silence, and I hate that this is the occasion to break it. This space is available for discussion of the recent extrajudicial executions of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Updates and links to commentary will be added as they arise. Please be respectful and take your “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” elsewhere; this is neither the time nor the place.
[Content note: mentions of transphobia and child sexual abuse]
While Feministe has been down, an issue erupted in North Carolina about where trans people are allowed to pee. In response to a local ordinance in Charlotte outlawing discrimination against trans people, the North Carolina legislature passed HB2, a law mandating discrimination, requiring trans people to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate rather than the gender with which they identify.
Here are some highlights, if somehow you missed it while you were missing us.
On Thursday, Democratic legislators got enough votes to nullify overt LGBT discrimination in a military spending bill. It wasn’t actually the bill in question at the time — the offending language was on the National Defense Authorization Act, passed last Wednesday, and allowed government contractors to fire and harass LGBT employees in the name of Jesus. It passed 277 to 147 then, but on Thursday, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney introduced language into a different bill to prevent said discrimination. And it passed! To cheers! When the clock ran out, the new language passed 217-206! That’s cool, right?!
Golf writer, Bernie Sanders supporter, and self-identified privileged white guy Shane Ryan would “like to address the idea that Bernie Sanders supporters who refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election are over-privileged assholes.”
I feel like “You said it, not me” would be a petty interjection at this early stage.