Sunday, 16 October 2016

Random Reads (16/10/16)

This week there has been so much in the news about Donald Trump and his attitude and behaviour against women that it has been almost overwhelming. As a feminist with a keen interest in political science, I have watched the events of the week unfold with anger and disappointment. Anger at the way in which Trump has defended himself (boys being boys, locker room banter) and disappointment at the way in which the Republican party has now responded. So many Republicans are now trying to distance themselves from Trump by saying they have daughters or granddaughters - as if they wouldn't know his behaviour was wrong if they didn't have female relations!

The thing is, none of this is new. The accusations against Trump span decades and his misogyny is just another element to a man who is fundamentally unfit to be President. Surely, the Republican Party would have vetted him before choosing him as their nominee. Surely, they would have looked for all the skeletons in all the closets and made sure there was nothing that would damage his (their) reputation. More likely it is a case of wilful blindness - they knew all about his behaviour and didn't see anything wrong with it at the time.

The good news is that Hillary will most likely become President. The Republicans will spend the next four years (a least) trying to figure out what they stand for and hopefully a leader will emerge who can see that divisive, anti-immigration, anti-women, politics is not what is needed to face the challenges in the world.

I have read some interesting articles this week about the whole Trump thing, including:
  • Trump Goes to War by Molly Ball in the Atlantic reveals how the 'unshackled' Trump is now that Republicans have abandoned him.
  • Burning Down The House by Timothy Egan in the New York Times, a powerful opinion piece on Trump's behaviour towards women.
  • The Quiet Tragedy of Melania Trump by Emily Jane Fox in Vanity Fair. This is an interesting article about Melania and what she has had to put up with during her marriage. 
The triumph of the week was Michelle Obama's passionate, articulate smack down of Donald Trump. She spoke so well about Trump's misogyny and it's impact on women and men. There is a great article, Michelle Obama Schools Donald Trump by Maureen O'Dowd in the New York Times. If you haven't seen it, you can watch it on Youtube (below).

Meanwhile, her husband penned an interesting article for the Economist called The Way Ahead. In this article, President Barack Obama attempts to answer the question 'what is happening in the American political system?'. He makes a passionate case for restoring economic dynamism to build a stronger economy through jobs and growth. 

In other news, the new Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres (former Prime Minister of Portugal) was appointed. I must admit I was disappointed that Helen Clark was not selected.  Francoise Girard wrote an excellent blog post for Ms Magazine called, We Need a Feminist Secretary-General at the United Nations, which looks at Guterres' record on women's issues. We will have to wait and see if he lives up to his promise.