A few years ago Joe Biden visited Maury High School in Norfolk. The Vice President addressed the school’s junior and senior classes and then passed along a receiving line, glad handing and back slapping, until he noticed an unusually attractive young lady who he grasped by the hand and brought close enough to whisper in her ear. He said to the 18 year old girl, “You are dangerously beautiful.”
Did that really happen? What does it mean? Is Biden a predator/creeper or just an overly friendly and complimentary guy? If he is a nice guy does it make any difference – i.e. is there no place ever for a man his age in his position to say anything like that to a female? What about her reception to his comment? Does that matter? If she thought it was funny or cool or awkward is that what defines the exchange? What if she was in college instead of high school or 30 instead of 18? What if it was the 18 year old Vice President of the senior class instead of Biden, would that make a difference?
The problem we face with stories like this are the biases each of us brings to the story. Our politics, relational history, education, and the way we feel about our selves; body, mind and spirit, in the moment we first hear a story like this, will make us assign meanings and paint in the context that fits most comfortably into our identity. This is a normal part of every day life that we usually don’t give a second thought. But in politics those biases are used to create a big story out of a little story (or if you like to use fancy words – a micro narrative is used to build a macro narrative). If you don’t pay attention and apply yourself and use discretion, you can be swept along in a wave of vague, ill-defined phrases and emotions that lead you to fit your opinion into the politician’s end. And a politician’s end could be as much about making you vote against someone as it is to vote for them.
The macro story about Trump isn’t hard to see. Trump is a womanizer at a minimum and probably a sexual predator. Woman shouldn’t be left unguarded around him, He will turn you into a number, dehumanize you, objectify you, put his hands on you, he’ll grab your daughter and whisper in her ear…Trump doesn’t do himself any favors in adding chapters to the story; multiple public divorces, affairs, and comments give plenty of material to his political enemies, and the outrageous nature of many of his public words haven’t left any room for his supporters to defend him. The macro story of Trump and women is very loud and very ugly.
On the other hand we have in Hillary Clinton a woman. That’s it. The narrative starts there, no reason to pretend it doesn’t. She is a she and that gives her a head start. But just like everything else in this campaign, the story doesn’t end there. There is nothing about Hillary’s past that suggests she would be a good president for women, any more than Trump. In fact, for the last 30 years Hillary has run a thinly veiled terror campaign against a parade of women who’ve accused her husband of doing things to them that women should never be subjected to. This is a matter of public record. She ran the Bimbo Eruption unit of Bill’s political machine, using all means necessary to suppress any damaging micro stories about him. You think Trump’s “hot mic” talk with Billy Bush was outrageous? Hillary’s statement that anyone who comes forward to report any sexual assault “deserves to be believed” is more outrageous by half. It is a lie wrapped in a lifetime of lies covered by a cloud bank of more lies. Hillary was and is a woman in charge of discrediting any woman who says anything that might damage her predatory husband.
You’ve heard the line “where there is smoke there is fire” and this is most definitely true of Hillary and Bill Clinton, but where there is fire and no smoke there is arson. While Trump has not been accused of any untoward actions toward any women until the last 30 days, Hillary has been snuffing out individual house fires that her husband lit for 30 years, and she’s done it brutally and unapologetically and with the full knowledge and assistance of the establishment elites including “feminists.”
So if you are a woman you are not being given a choice between people who make you feel good about being a woman. Trump and Hillary are not good to women, but they are not good to women in completely different ways. One is a classic womanizer who is a product of his age. He starts with looks and has to work his way to substance. But there is evidence he can do this and there is no serious evidence he has actually mistreated any women. His many companies pay women the same they pay men who do equivalent work. Hillary is a woman who does not promote women other than with words. Her Foundation pays women less than men who do the same job. She is an apologist for a man who regularly abuses women.
Even so, I have to admit that these candidates present a challenge for women. If these two stories are the only stories it may cause a lot of women to abstain from voting at all. But there is another story. We’ve talked about the micro story and the macro story, but there is another story. I call it the mega story. The bigger story. The truth is that American women have been shrunk by politicians and culture elites in the last 10 years. “Soccer mom” is not a complimentary title. It is a reduction of women to taxi drivers who are only concerned with getting little Johnny to practice and keeping him safe. Playing upon the fears of women and painting narratives that create implied threats to their lifestyles the establishment pumped their ideas down their throats. Government shutdowns were used as the main weapon against political opponents who were made to look like there were going to cut off critical services if they didn’t get their way on “obscure” points of policy like turning over a quarter of the country’s economy to the government (Obamacare).
But the MEGA STORY of American women is that they are not in need of the government or the elites to get things done. American women have always gotten everything done. They are much tougher than the politician’s macro story makes them out to be. They are much smarter than to let the media elites scare them with a caricature boogey man any woman I know could easily put in his place without breaking a sweat. No, American women are not actually as shocked and appalled by Trump’s hot mic as the media appears to be…but we all know (wink wink nod nod) how these people love to turn into the church lady whenever it’s convenient and forwards their narrative. I’m sure all the important women in my life can handle a Trump. I feel no need to protect them from someone like him. But the Clintons? That is a different matter. I wouldn’t want any woman I love to be anywhere near these people. The mega story that the elites don’t see coming is that American women are not soft and stupid, they are tough and smart. They see through the macro story because they live the mega story. Don’t be surprised when Trump does well with women and Hillary underperforms. It’s what anyone who knows and respects American women should expect to happen.