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Donald Trump will not be president. Donald Trump will not be president. Donald Trump will not be president. These are the words I say to myself, incantation-like when the endless barrage of images and sounds of the American nightmare otherwise known as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign gets to be too much for me. And while I am still convinced he won’t be president, I do believe he has already garnered one title via his gargantuan hatred of women—King of the Misogynists.
King Donald has earned this nefarious title by irrefutably becoming the most visible American practitioner of the ancient concept of misogyny. A man with a lifetime full of undeniable examples of vile speech and reprehensible behavior directed towards the female gender. And while Trump has always been one of its highest profile subscribers, it wasn’t until he hijacked the GOP, the ballyhooed party of Lincoln, in large part by just repeating the malicious idiocies he has been saying for years, that he earned this crown of infamy in full.
Misogyny, as a word, didn’t appear in the English language until the mid 17th century, but as a phenomenon, it has existed at least since the times of Classical Greece, the civilization that is considered to be the model of all Western civilization. The word comes from the two Greek root words, misos which means “hatred” and gunē which means “woman.” So, it literally means “hatred of woman.”
While this hatred is expressed in an infinite number of ways, like all irrational beliefs, there are no easy answers when it comes to explaining or understanding it. My take on it, culled from researching various theories is this: misogyny was born out of the concept of gender roles, starting with the overpowering need of men to feel accepted by females. So when a male experiences a real or imagined rejection by a female, so begins the hatred by the male of the female. The underpinning of this is it takes place in a constructed society in which, from birth, males are indoctrinated with the belief that they are superior to females and thereby have neverending power over them. Therefore, they believe, they are entitled to total or near total submission from females and the fact that they don’t capitulate or submit fully to them is seen as a rejection of their power, privilege, and superiority. Add to this a culture saturated and obsessed with images and verbiage that demean and remind women of their inferior status and you have our current society. It is a society that not only potentially produces a Donald Trump, but also millions of individuals who would be willing to elevate him and his hateful rhetoric into the highest office of the land.
So while it is tempting to say King Donald was foisted upon us by the media and the 24-hour news cycle, that’s not entirely correct. Even though it is true that at times the American media has been a willing participant and enabler in Trump’s cynical reality show masquerading as a presidential campaign, he is an American monster, which is to say he comes from America itself. He is the inheritor and one of the great 21st century propagators of multiple lines of venomous thinking concerning race and gender that have existed in the American intellectual soil since its inception as a nation. Over the past eight years—in that soil—there has been an especially bitter and angry crop of these kinds of ideas growing (think Tea Party), which are rooted in the past and ripe for the picking, waiting for any politician to harvest and use them. Trump is the proud harvester of all of these poisonous and malignant ideas, and he uses them as the basis of his campaign.
King Donald is simultaneously the political bullhorn of his followers, who are mostly white males, and the great expresser of their inconsolable anger at political correctness and their perceived loss of privilege. For them “Make America Great Again” means “restore my white male privilege at the expense of others and the Constitution, if necessary.”
And if Trump is the king of misogynists then they are his loyal subjects, undeterred by his anti-female venom spewing out of his indefatigable mouth, because he is only saying what they think and feel already and only repeating the discussions that they have in their workplaces, homes and on social media.
While every American presidential election can potentially be construed as a crossroads moment in her history, some elections loom larger than others when it comes to this measuring stick and 2016 is one of those elections.
It can’t be overstated that a Trump Presidency would be disastrous for this country on so many levels, not the least of which being women’s rights. With the fights for full access to reproductive rights and equal pay at the forefront of social issues needing to be addressed by this country and her next president, the thought of King Donald becoming President Donald is a specter that should scare the hell out of all of us.
The founding documents of this country both explicitly and implicitly state that a core belief of this nation is that “All men are created equal,” but it has only been in the last 100 years or so that that the word “men” has come to be recognized as both “men and women.” It is a sobering reminder to me to consider that when both of my grandmothers were born, they were born into a society that barred them from the right to vote. These two women, who were good enough between the two of them, to birth four sons who would later fight to help save this nation and the world from the Nazis and the other Axis Powers, were both in their early 20s when they received this right.
Less than 100 years later, it is unconscionable to me to think that a major political party has the unmitigated gall to present to the American people someone as bereft of presidential value and as full of misogynistic fervor as Donald Trump as their candidate for president. For that, I say, the Republican Party needs to be punished and punished heavily at the ballot box come election day this November.
This post originally appeared on Feminine Collective.com on 5-23-16