Late last night as the election results calcified, I received a text from a very good friend of mine in Wyoming reminding me that I had correctly called the election this summer. I told my disbelieving liberal friends in June that Trump had a very strong chance of winning. When FBI Director Comey announced 11 days ago that the Clinton email fiasco re-emerged, I knew in my heart that Hillary’s chances of winning were minimal.
What led me to have such a strong sense of Trump success even though I vote Democratic? First, Hillary never could shake, even among highly educated white women, the tinge of dishonesty or more correctly, covertness. Everyone says Hillary is a private person but I believe in transparency in government. Hillary began her national career at Bill’s side as First Lady leading the failed health care reform effort behind closed doors. I totally disagreed with her policy approach at the time though not the recommendations for a national health card. This sense that Hilary is not being completely candid has haunted her for years. I wanted to love her but I couldn’t. I respect her years of tenacious advocacy for women and children, her policy knowledge, her ability to be knocked down and get back up again but I never got chills when I thought about voting for her. I would love to live to see the first woman elected President of the United States. I would have been fine if that woman was Hillary but personally I was never captivated by her. Today, I could feel Hillary’s pain when she conceded. She has given it her all to lead this country on two different occasions and I think we all realize now that this is a dream that will elude her.
I am not sure Hillary could have done anything differently during this campaign. Her failure is one of charisma which I’m not sure one can learn. The Obamas both have it in spades. I cried with joy when Obama won the Presidency the first time. When he and his family walked on stage after winning, I felt the world had moved. I had goose bumps when Michelle Obama spoke at the 2016 Democrat Convention about how “When they go low, we go high!” Having watched The Apprentice for many years with my daughter when she was younger, I know that Donald Trump is capable of captivating an audience. In a world of social media, the personal image is political reality. Trump correctly assumed as the polls and pundits did not that the large crowds he was drawing would result in a swell of passionate, dedicated Trump voters. These folks were what I call shadow supporters, not readily available to traditional pollsters. Can you see a big think tank reaching out to someone who goes to a rally wrapped in fake green turf to show their “grass roots support.” My guess is Trump supporters got chills voting for him and cried when they saw the swing states predicted blue turning to bright red right before our eyes.
Winning a national election requires great outpourings of emotion (Of course, it can be argued Trump didn’t win the election since Clinton got more votes but given our electoral college approach, he put together the strategic states to run the board). In our electronic world, the charismatic individual whether we like their ideas or not has an advantage from the starting line. Trump is nothing if not charismatic; even his greatest detracters followed his every move providing tons of free publicity for him through tweets, late night comedy shows, news stories. I admit to some dark part of me daily checking what new strange tweet he had sent out. Silencing his tweeting near the end of the campaign and keeping Trump on message further strengthened my sense that he could win this thing. Throughout the campaign, he had been his own worst enemy. Once someone wrapped up his spontaneous outbursts and put him on an airplane crisscrossing rural America, Trump’s personal image solidified as a political outsider, pro-life business man who could build our economy, relished a fight, told it like it was and was focused on protectionism. HIs consistent mantra that America needed change struck a cord in America’s heartland. His other failings such as sexual predator, misogynist, inconsistent statements from day-to-day, no clear policy positions on many issues, and a protectionist approach based on racism never stuck. Hillary’s image on the other hand, as a policy wonk, part of the power elite establishment and probably dishonest to boot was with her from day one and stayed with her throughout the long arduous campaign, the dishonesty piece finally solidified for undecided voters with the Comey announcement of more emails for the FBI to check (so much smoke there must be fire).
The Republicans now control the Presidency, Congress, and with Trump’s nomination in January the Supreme Court. Our nation will no longer have divided government though we remain poltically and socially divided as a country.
It will be interesting to see what a Republican health care approach looks like. My bet is thousands of individuals will once again be thrown off insurance. But a step backward may be the only way to leap forward. I agree with Bernie Sanders that the only viable long-term health care solution for the U.S. is a national health care plan. Radical right regression may be what will unite progressives where nothing else has.
Democrats have every reason to be discouraged. They are without any recognizable leaders, they won the national vote, lost the election, failed to gain control of the Senate, lost the opportunity to transform the Supreme Court and will need to reorganize and re-energize. But as another friend of mine says, America made it through the Civil War and we will make it through this.
I was in McCall, Idaho last weekend when the Christmas Tree for the nation came into town. It was cut down at the little ski hill outside of McCall. There were crowds of people mulling around, an announcer shouting repeatedly the tree was coming, , the giant Idaho Potato came into sight, the McCall High School Band came by on a truck, a hundred or so disorganized children paraded by and then this big shining red semi-truck turned the corner dragging a gaily wrapped something which turned out to be the tree, covered for its journey East. I thought at that moment this is America at its best, small town America coming together and celebrating something as simple as a giant pine tree on the move across our great country.
My husband and I were probably the only two Democrats in the entire crowd given how the voting across Idaho went. Idaho Democrats lost five legislative races on Tuesday bringing the Republican Legislative Super Majority to 84%. Idaho is the redest state in the Union. I have a friend who chides me that Idaho Democrats can meet in a phone booth there are so few of us if we can find a phone booth anymore. I still hope to see a woman elected president (Preferably a Democrat though I open to any strong, thoughtful female leader) in my life time. But for now I am glad to be an American. I celebrate we can have a contentious, nasty, close election and get up the next morning knowing we will be free to walk out the door, talk about how crazy the voting was yesterday over a cup of coffee, express our opinions openly on Facebook or a blog and not worry about our safety.
The Trump Lexicon keeps evolving as President Trump moves forward implementing his agenda. To see the latest Trumpisms go to: pinkpoliticsllc.com
Our words have the power to destroy and the power to build up (Proverbs 12:6).
I volunteer to tutor refugees. These individuals have escaped unspeakable horrors and are learning English. Working alongside these kind, hard-working adults has taught me how blessed we are to live in America. Mr. Trump has created his own language to describe America, Trumpism. Mr. Trump’s own description of Trumpism: “I know words, I have the best words but there is no better word than “stupid”. Words most frequently used by Mr. Trump: win, stupid, weak, loser, moron, politically correctness, smart, tough, dangerous, bad, lightweight, amazing, huge, tremendous, terrific, zero, out of control, classy.
Listeners know when we hear Mr. Trump that his terminology is slightly off but those of us who grew up in the U.S. intuitively understand what he is saying. I challenge you to think about what you would think if you and your family had just escaped extreme violence half way across the world for sanctuary in the United States and you heard Mr. Trump describe America. Below is a short list of Trumpisms. There is no attempt to capture all of his misused words or to provide citations. Rather, I want to capture the essence of his language.
Trumpism: Words made up by Mr. Donald Trump in his run for President of United States in 2016. Mr. Trump has a vast, original lexicon which creates sweeping indictments and vicious mental pictures using just a couple of words or phrases. Some of his words are spoken; others have been tweeted in the wee hours of the morning. Trumpism could also be considered Mr. Trump’s political platform. Trumpism pushes nativism (foreigners are suspect) and populism (giving power to the people rather than political elites). Through twitter and his speeches, Mr. Trump has created a mish-mash of images of America as a dark, dangerous place in deep economic decline. Mr. Trump’s America needs saving. His slogan is “Make America Great Again” as if returning to the past is a positive. His primary policy proposals are deporting illegal immigrants, tightening and/or stopping future immigration of certain groups particularly Muslims, emphasizing that foreign individuals living in America commit the majority of violent crimes particularly rape and robbery while taking away American jobs. Trumpism’s primary focus is that Muslim refugees are terrorist infidels, illegal Mexicans are criminals and global trade has crippled America.
The Wall: Mr. Trump’s proposal to have Mexico pay for a wall dividing Mexico and the United States with the intention of stopping Mexicans from illegally entering the U.S. Mr. Trump estimates the wall will cost $5 billion dollars. He promises the entire cost will be paid for by the Mexican Government. The Mexican President has refused to pay for the wall in a tweet. Tweeting seems to be the primary form of policy development in this election year. Mr. Trump sees the wall as a beautiful thing with a door right in the middle for legal Mexicans to be welcomed to America.
Bad Hombre: Uncomplimentary reference to undocumented Mexicans living in America. Hombre is Spanish for man. Trump used the reference to reinforce his vision of increasing hordes of criminals illegally crossing the Mexican border. In fact, the Pew Research Center documents that the number of illegal Mexicans coming into the U.S. has stabilized in recent years and declined by about 1 million since 2007. About 2/3 of all illegal immigrants have lived in the U.S. for a decade or more. About half of immigrants coming into the U.S. are women. There are 5000 children in foster care whose parents have been detained or deported by U.S. immigration authorities. This figure is estimated to rise to 15,000 children over the next five years because of tightening immigration policies. These women and children have not been part of any policy discussion during this presidential season.
Nasty Woman: Mr. Trump’s description of Mrs. Clinton at the 3rd and final debate. He uttered it to interrupt Mrs. Clinton presentation on Social Security. His intent was appeal to the old boys club where powerful women are seen as unpleasant and pushy and frequently described in private as “bitches”. In this case, Mr. Trump’s effort to belittle women led to a social media backlash from women who saw Trump’s remark as sexist rather than as descriptive of Mrs. Clinton’s temperament. As a young professional woman in the seventies, I can attest that smart, ambitious women were not described in positive terms by their male coworkers. I am proud to be a Nasty Woman.
Miss Piggy: a revered children’s puppet on Sesame Street. Miss Piggy is a large female Pink Pig who dresses in extravagant outfits and frequently wears a crown. Most American’s know Miss Piggy. Mr. Trump referred to Miss Universe 1996, Alicia Machado, as Miss Piggy when she gained weight after winning the Miss Universe title. Using Miss Piggy as a descriptor is a classic example of Mr. Trump’s skill at choosing short phrases to create a lasting image.
Miss Housekeeping: Another term, coined by Mr. Trump, to describe Ms. Machado, who represented Venezuela in the Miss Universe Pageant. This image is premised on Latino women largely serving in housekeeping positions in the U.S. This nickname can be seen as a sexist slur against Latino women and as slamming hard work done by many Americans who are surviving on pay below a living wage. Nationally, unauthorized workers compose 23% of all domestic workers.
Locker Room Banter: Mr. Trump’s justification of the conversation he was having with Billy Bush prior to an appearance on AccessHollywood in 2005. In the recorded encounter, Mr. Trump used extremely vulgar terms to describe women and what he would do to them. When the tape was released, Mr. Trump defended the conversation as the kind of talk that routinely goes own in all male places such as locker rooms. My husband played college basketball and when I asked him about it, he responded that young guys might not use the best language but this is an example of a 60 year old man (at the time) who could be expected to have outgrown the titillation of talking dirty. Billy Bush was relieved of his position on Good Morning America for his role both in the conversation and for not bringing the tape to light sooner.
Bigly: Frequently used by Mr. Trump to describe an idea or policy which is large in scope. Bigly is an adverb and Mr. Trump has used it correctly. On questioning, Mr. Trump’s staff clarified that Mr. Trump is not saying “bigly”. He is instead saying, “Big League.” Here is an example from an actual speech: Donald Trump has said, “Iran is taking over Iraq and they’re taking it over bigly.” According to staff this is incorrect reporting. Instead, Mr. Trump said, “Iran is taking over Iraq and they’re taking it over Big League.” I personally think bigly is easier to understand in the contexts he uses it. Either term gives us the idea, that this is something big.
Extreme Vetting:Mr. Trump’s proposal to conduct ideological screening of new arrivals from countries with a history of terror (specific countries are unspecified). Mr. Trump had previously said he would ban all Muslims from coming into the country. This proposal would allow in some individuals. However, all individuals from countries harboring terrorists would be banned from the U.S. until this new screening test was designed and in place. The U.S. already has extremely rigorous screening approaches in place sometimes taking many years. In addition, it is difficult to assess an individual’s most innermost beliefs and private opinions. In a country that values free speech, this proposal may be difficult or impossible to implement. Finally, individuals from other countries are less likely to engage in violence than native born Americans.
Yuuuge: Mr. Trump’s unique way of saying huge.
Braggadocios: A braggart who boasts so much about themselves that they become annoying to their audience. The term was commonly used in the 19th century. The word is so seldom used in the 21st century, braggadocios is not considered part of our common vocabulary. Mr. Trump, who usually says he does not want to seem braggadocios, has breathed life back into this word.
Birther Movement: People who question of the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth certificate. Starting in 2011, Mr. Trump persistently demanded to see President Obama’s birth certificate to demonstrate that Obama was born in the United States as required by the U.S. Constitution. Recently, Mr. Trump has said he believes Mr. Trump was born in the United States.
Speaking Mexican: Reference to Jeb Bush in a tweet. Mr. Trump means that Mr. Bush is fluent in Spanish, something Mr. Trump obviously is not.
Taking the Shackles Off: A twitter comment on Mr. Trump’s revised strategic campaign breaking free from the traditional Republic platform and policy. Trump’s new approach was the result of some Republicans disavowing their support of Trump in the wake of NBC sex tape. This announcement was followed by a stream of tweets filled with rage and resentment towards traditional politicians.
Rigged Elections: As political polls have begun indicating that Mr. Trump might lose, Trump has become more strident in his claims that the media and the Democratic machine are rigging the election. Mr. Trump has said he would accept the election results if he won. However, when questioned during the third debate, he refused to confirm that he would accept the results. The charge of rigged elections is at the very heart of the U.S. democracy where for centuries Americans have cast their votes and lived with the results. Mr. Trump’s charge also suggests he is not familiar with the structure of U.S. elections. Elections (even for national candidates such as Congress and the President) are under the control of the states. Forty-seven of the fifty states and the Puerto Rico have a Secretary of State position. The primary duty of this individual is to serve as the chief election officer for the state. In the three states without a Secretary of State, the responsibility for elections falls to the Lieutenant Governor. Given the diffuse structure of elections in the U.S. it would be difficult to rig the outcome nationally. As we know from the 2000 Bush/Gore Presidential election, the role of the Secretary of State in a close election can be very important. Former Vice President Gore received about 540,000 more popular votes than Bush across the nation. In Gore’s presidential run, the Florida Secretary of State, Republican Katherine Harris certified that Bush had won the popular vote in Florida. Her decision was confirmed by the United States Supreme Court on a 5 to 4 decision preventing a recount of key precincts in Florida. Former Vice President Gore honored the decision and has been largely invisible on the national stage since.
Gloria Steinman told a sold out crowd in Boise on October 17, 2016 that the right to vote is what makes America great. People have fought hard and lost lives for each of us to have the equal opportunity to weigh in on America’s future. The America of 2016 is far more expansive and inclusive than our forefathers envisioned. We are a nation where each of us can vote regardless of race, religion or gender.
The refugees I work with fled totalitarian and military reigns with the hope of becoming Americans and gaining the right to vote. Hidden in Trump’s mangled phrases is the clear threat to equal opportunity. Isolationism doesn’t create greatness but it does breed fear. I am yuugely hoping that Americans in bigly numbers will notpick a braggadocios birther, who engages regularly in unseemly locker room banter demeaning women, for their next president.
Right before my son, Scott, left for college he came up with idea that I should create a paper mache Trump figure. Wacky Trumpster featured in this blog would make a great gift for politicos from either major party. Trumpster is a convenient paperweight to keep track of all those nasty receipts you need at your finger tips when you are audited by the IRS. If Trump had a Trumpster, we may have seen his tax returns by now. Remember Trumpster comes with real hair which you can wash and comb. If you are loosing your hair, here is your opportunity to style someone else’s hair to your heart’s content. Trumpster is made entirely of recyclable products when you grow tired of him just toss him in the Dumpster. Each Trumpser is unique and lovingly made with only the finest old, used products. Don’t wait to order yours!
More reasons that Trumpster is this Election’s trendiest gift.
Trump Supporters: Give them a Trumpster along with a carton of legos. Trumpster is entirely made in American by a 6th generation American (me). The legos are so your Right Wing friend and Trumpster can build walls to their hearts’ content at no cost to tax payers.
Trump Detractors. Give them a Trumpster to help them work off anger and frustration with the current Congress:
Made of paper, Trumpster can serve as a bulletin board to remind you of key dates. For example, the Presidential election is Tuesday, November 8, 2016. If Trump looses, political commentary won’t be near as much fun.
If you have a ghoulish side you could just push pins in Trumpster any time you are upset. I don’t think Trumpster contains any voodoo magic but punching holes in a wind bag is bound to make your day better.
To Order your own Trumpster or Trumpster for your friends and loved ones message me on Facebook or WordPress or go to:
I started working in paper mache this summer to create sellable items for a Christmas Bazaar where the funds go to charity. So far I have created assorted cats and woodland angels. These items have not proven very popular on Etsy or Facebook. I am beginning to have a craft room full of colorful cats and flying nymphs made of paper, paint and paste.
My college son, Scott, is of the opinion that anything “Trump” no matter how bizarre will sell. Scott may have a point. Trump seems to hold a weird fascination even for his detractors. All across America we wait with baited breath to hear the next outrageous Twitter or giggle at Trump’s explanation of how Obama created ISIS only to learn that these wild statements are a new form of “sarcasm”.
I took Scott up on his challenge and created “Trumpster”. Paper mache Trump is functional which is more than can be said for his real-life counterpart. He is a paper weight. Mr. Trump sits on a replica of Trump tower, a raspberry box filled with rocks(I liked both the symbolism of Trump perched on raspberries and his tower covered with a gold facade but really holding nothing but rocks like many of his failed real estate deals). Trump’s body is made from a recycled brew cup. We have lots of these from coffee every morning, might as well put them to good use.
As Scott noted, the only things you need to denote Trump are big hair, pointing fingers and orange skin. The reality bar is quite low because Trump has made himself into his own reality TV character. The hardest part of the project was the hair. I finally clipped hair off my Sheltie, Shani, and glued it on a wig form. When I told Scott this, he worried that I had given Shani bare spots. Do not be alarmed, Shani has more hair at any one time than most dogs grow in a life-time. As you can see by the picture, Shani looks no different after providing Trump with his gilded hair than she did before my gentle clipping. Once the hair was glued in place, the wig fell off the model into a cup of water. Not to worry, made from real hair, the wig dried out and remains perfectly groomed unaffected by this potential castrophy.
I have lived in Idaho almost 22 years, a third of my life. Idaho is the most Republican state in the nation.The state where a perfectly normal question is “Have you heard of the group Black lives Matter? Well, in Idaho Redneck Lives Matter.” In rural Idaho, PETA stands for “People eating tasty animals.” (Probably shot with a concealed weapon, all perfectly legal.)
In this staunchly Red environment, I have transformed into a strong Democrat. I drive a blue car with a novelty license plate that says BLUEGRL. I am proud to be a Blue girl (Democrat)in a Red State. I sometimes worry about the car getting keyed for advertising my political opinions.
I have a Republican friend who says Idaho Democrats could hold the state convention in a phone booth if we could find a phone booth anymore. Idaho Democrats running for statewide office get consistently about 30% of the vote if the individual candidate runs a good campaign. We haven’t had a Democrat elected statewide since our Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction, Marilyn Howard, retired in 2006. No other position has even been competitive in the 20 years I’ve lived here
The miracle of Bernie Sanders in Idaho is that thousands of people showed up for Democratic caucuses all over the state. In Boise, there are still Bernie yard signs up. Before the Democratic National Convention several hundred people marched in Boise in support of Bernie.While I still see Bernie stickers on cars and yards signs, I haven’t seen any Hilary stickers. I got an email last week that Hilary had hired an Idaho field organizer, a young woman, recent graduate of the University of Idaho. The email said Hillary could use some help in Idaho. NO KIDDING! Hillary and Idaho? Talk about an oxymoron! The fact Hillary has paid staff in Idaho shows the fundraising process of the Democratic Presidential campaign. Maybe Hillary has a field organization in Idaho to recruit Bernie fans. But the few I know wouldn’t vote for Trump. They may choose to not vote and thus the need for Hillary to have a grassroots organization.Paying to organize Idaho Democrats for a national election is like seeing how many people you can get in a Volkswagen. You can run around a lot, create frenetic energy, spend a great deal of time but in the end the number will be quite small.
In this environment, where there are no decent Democrats running for national office why do I remain a Democrat? Afterall, I will be voting for Republican Congressman Mike Simpson in my Congressional District. Congressman Simpson is a retired dentist who supported expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He recently got Congress to pass the White Cloud Wilderness Bill, designating three areas in the Owyhee Mountains as wilderness. This legislation took years of work. In other words, Simpson is a good guy. Why bother with the Democratic label at all when I am clearly the minority?
I have wrestled with my Democratic values for some time. I am forced to when I am consistently in the minority. Saying my political alliegence aloud can lead to crazy arguments and loss of friendships.
I grew up a Republican in Wyoming. I can remember standing on the tamarack at the Cheyenne airport. My sister was dressed in white holding glittery gold poms poms along with other teenage girls. I tasted the bitter bile of jealousy as the wickedly cold wind made my eyes leak because I wasn’t old enough to be a Goldwater Girl and stand with the cheering girls. Goldwater went on to win only six states, Arizona (his home state) and five southern states. He even lost Wyoming and Idaho.
Early in my early professional career I worked for both Democratic and Republican Governors. I considered myself an independent, supporting the individual rather than the party.
I capitulated to dyed-in-the-wool, bright Blue Democrat as I saw the Idaho legislature become progressively conservative giving tax breaks to business, failing to appropriately fund our public schools, repeatedly defeating Medicaid Expansion. Last year in the legislature an emergency room physician testified that at least a 1000 low-income Idahoans die a year because of lack of health care. Our Republican Governor Butch Otter’s response was, ” Lots of people die every year.”
My husband and I give monthly to Idaho Democrats. I am volunteering to stuff envelopes for state legislative races. All of this money and energy with no expectation of it making a difference. The question is why bother?
I got the answer on Saturday at Payette Lake in McCall. I was sitting on the dock at Ponderosa State Park watching my daughter and her friend jet skiing across the lake. A woman with head covered, black leggings and a beautiful white lace top got on the back of a new jet ski behind her husband. I presume she was Muslim and the man was her husband. After bouncing across the water at full tilt, she came back to the dock sporting a huge smile. At that moment it became crystal clear to me why I am a Democrat. Jet skiing provided a great metaphor for living in our complex world. My Chinese daughter was out on the same water with the Muslin couple and behind me some black families who were speaking a language other than English, also in full dress, probably refugees, were playing on the beach and wading in the shallow water, laughing and splashing. All of us from very different backgrounds were sharing the lake linked by our human capacity for laughter and joy.
I am a Democrat because I believe all lives matter. Hurrah for Rednecks, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Muslims, Jews, Gays and everyone else! You all matter and American should be a big enough place that we can embrace and live with our differences.
The Republican primary season wrapped up last week with Donald Trump crowned the Republican nominee for President in Cleveland. Over the course of the last year, the American public has watched the 16 Republican presidential candidates drop to 1. After listening to a week of gloom and doom about the state of America presented by speakers at the Republican convention, I am reminded of the authoritarian spectacle presented in the first Hunger Games movie.
For those of you who haven’t seen the first Hunger Games (2012). The movie is set in a futurist society, the Capital of Panem. The leadership keeps the peace by annually hosting the Hunger Games. Participants in the games, called Tributes, are a randomly selected boy and girl from each of 12 districts. The Tributes fight to the death until only one remains in a nationally televised event called the Hunger Games. The Games are kicked off with much fanfare, drawing the viewer in by being both terrifying and fascinating in the leadership’s total lack of humanity. The battle to the last person standing takes place within a televised bubble in which new barriers for contestants emerge on a regular basis, reports of the progress and trials of the teens is routinely broadcast throughout the nation. A solitary cannon boom notifies the nation as each child is killed by another.
This event is presided over by President Coriolanus Snow, the ruthless, tyrannical and primary antagonist. He is a cruel and manipulative dictator who has no qualms about using force to maintain discipline. The Games are intended to give citizens a little bit of hope by allowing the victor to live but not so much hope that citizens revolt.
You may ask what is the similarly between this dark movie franchise and the Republican primary season? The Republican primaries proved to be a hard test not only for the candidates but for the Republican Party. The divisions created during the primaries have recently been discounted by National Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus . But the fracture lines are still there. Many prominent Republican chose to stay away from the convention. Senator Cruz’s caution to the convention goers of “vote your conscience” resulted in boos, personal rejection by mega-funders and media assessment of the fall-out of Cruz’s speech possibly ruining his political career.
In between the opening of the convention and the Cruz political theater, Melania Trump became involved in a plagiarism controversy. Her eloquent speech lauded for it’s sincerity upon close review was remarkably similar to Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008. While imitation is the greatest form of flattery, I am sure the attendees at the convention would not have liked to have Michelle Obama be their guiding light. Mrs.Trump’s speech became the major media story for at least 24 hours. Finally, the story was put to rest when a loyal Trump employee, Meredith McIver, was offered up as the responsible person for the mistake. This tempest in a tea pot is still not over. A major Democratic super pack, the Democratic Coalition against Trump has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission charging Trump broke the law by using his personal corporation to help with the campaign.
On the final night of the convention, Ivanka Trump presented a winning view of her father.
She described Trump as a family man committed to gender equally; evaluating workers results rather than positions, degrees, gender, ethnicity or color; understanding the need to make child care affordable and accessible for working women (a position ardently opposed by Idaho Republicans and probably nationally) and committed to making America great again by focusing on results and talent rather than degrees and bureaucracy. Though I strongly disagree with her dad on many of his political positions, I found Ivanka’s portrait of her father quite compelling. To put my faith in Ivanka’s Trump, I have to forget that this is the man who described women during his highly publicized career as fat, pigs, dogs, slobs, disgusting and when asked about these characterizations by Fox News Megyn Kelly described her as “a bimbo”. Angry about Kelly’s tough questions during the debate, Trump took to twitter saying, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever. ” (August 7, 2015). These are not comments of a man who understands and respects professional women.
Like the Hunger Games, the entire Republican primary season has been hosted under the magnifying lens created by the intense and constant attention of national media. There is no escape either for the willing participants (the candidates) or Americans. Every sound bite, twitter, picture, comment is captured and reflected out to the world to see. We know who was fired and why, who said what and when. Similar to the Hunger Games, the media keeps score of each day. During the convention, the Washington Post ran a daily analysis of the winners and losers. This constant attention to ever minor and major detail has moved campaigns from a civil discussion of legitimate policy differences to the rancor of realty TV where every day people shout that the opposition should be shot or sent to jail. Conveners at the Republican convention ganged up on each other and on those of us with different beliefs outside the convention as if having a difference of an opinion makes one an enemy rather than an neighbor who pays the same taxes, sends their children to the same schools, drives on the same highways or sits in the same pew at church.
After listening to the Republican presentations at their convention, one would think that Hilary Clinton is President Snow come to life on American soil. In this fiction, Mrs. Clinton is single-handily responsible for every ill in this country rather than one of the most respected women in the world. Scapegoating, laying the blame for societal ills on one person, is much easier than developing cohesive national policy. At the Republican convention, we heard many platitudes about “Making America Great!” and very few specifics about how we would achieve a new unified vision of the future. I wanted to hear specific proposals on how to bring our nation with admittedly many challenges together so we can build on the multitude of strengths we share.
This election is not a reality TV show, it is not a game with winners and losers, it is not a movie with three sequels, it is about what we as Americans want for our future. I, for one, am not yet ready to give up on civil discourse and the ability to look for concrete solutions to the many pressing problems facing us. Like Katniss Everdeen at the end of the Hunger Games, I refuse to follow the rules presented at the Republican Convention. I will not demonize the opposition. I am anxious to hear real solutions to real problems.
First introduced in 1959, over the past 57 years, Mattel has tried to update Barbie to adjust to the times. To that end, the company introduced last week, Barbie for President with a female running mate. This combination is intended to be an inspiration for young girls. “By introducing the new President and Vice President Barbie dolls, the first all-female ticket, we hope to inspire girls to imagine themselves as leaders,”Erin Loos Cutraro, co-founder and CEO of She Should Run, tells Babble.
Throughout her life-span, Barbie has become ethnically diverse, moved from a beauty queen and model to a professional. Her hair originally a classic long pony tail which couldn’t be combed has transformed to long, short, curly, black, red, blonde, silky and brushable to totally changeable. Barbie’s originally stiff body is now flexible.
But one thing that has not changed is her shape. Research suggests that a real woman with Barbie’s figure would be 5’9″, host a 39 inch bust, 17 inch waist and wear a size 3 shoe. Given the wildly disproportionate trunk to base, a real woman with this shape couldn’t walk, would have extremely frail bones, half a liver and probably be anorexic. Mattel is currently working on changing Barbie again by incorporating more diverse body types, though the exact nature of these changes has yet to be specified.
Rather than launching a new wave of socially engaged little girls, Presidential Barbie seems antiquated. This is particularly true when viewed in combination with Jennifer Aniston’s For The Record in the Huffington Post (7/12/2016 ). Aniston writes about unwanted speculation from the media and complains about the objectification of her body in particular and women’s bodies in general. Given these two pieces of evidence, it appears Americans have not progressed very far in their expectations of what an attractive young woman should look like.
I am left in a quandary about what American cultural expectations do to little girls self image. We are pushing young girls in to pursue STEM programs (we want girls to go into math, science and engineering). Women’s sports are on the rise with girls participating in every imaginable activity. Cheerleading is still around but not the sole way for a teenage girl to be involved in a sporting event. Yet with all these changes, Aniston writes just this week “The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty”.
I would argue the newly released presidential Barbie doesn’t encourage young women to be whoever they want but rather reinforces strongly held cultural beliefs that attractive women sport large breasts, narrow waists and are stilted rather than engaged in life. These icons of American woman have fabulous hair styles and always dress correctly.
The Republican and Democratic conventions are rolling into our media space the next two weeks. Speaking only last night, we learned within minutes of Melania Trump’s presentation that she wore an off-the-rack white Roksanda dress costing between $1500 and $2000. The dress was described as “perfect for the White House.” I am willing to bet we will read about Tiffany and Ivanka Trumps’outfits as well i.e. who designed it, cost and whether the dress looked appropriate for the setting. All three women are drop-dead gorgeous so I can’t image any tacky comments about hair or appearance. I doubt we will read anything about Marco Rubio’s, Newt Gingrich’s or Donald Trump’s suits (what they cost and what fabric they were made of, how did the tie go, did they get wrinkled or hang perfectly on TV).
While snide comments are frequently made about Donald Trump’s hair, these remarks don’t seem to have any traction. In comparison, an article about Hilary Clinton wearing an Armani suit went viral. Mr. Trump’s suits routinely cost at least $7,000 but this does not seem to be of interest to the American public. Sara Palin had a budget of $150,000 to purchase clothing for her Vice Presidential run. Demonstrating that focusing on the importance of women’s appearance rather than just judging individuals based on competence is not limited to party but rather to gender.
Michelle Obama has made being a Presidential wife or candidate accessible for the everyday woman by wearing clothes from Target along with custom designs from high end designers. A gorgeous woman and outstanding representative of America women, Mrs. Obama has also received considerable criticism from the right for “being angry” and emphasizing “being black”. Passionate women when they speak are frequently seen as “angry” rather than committed. One can hardly blame Mrs. Obama for sharing her black experience with all of us when so many of us seem to have such limited understanding of diversity. Brown versus the Board of Education, the landmark decision requiring integration of American schools was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954, five years before Barbie was launched.
More than fifty years later, Americans are still struggling with their vision of women and race. Feminism was largely a white movement and only recently recognized that American women as a group are quite diverse, representing many cultures and colors and have immensely dissimilar experiences. American women’s commonality is their struggle to be seen as unique individuals with vastly under-recognized and under-utilized potential, capable of crafting a great American future. It’s seems time to ditch the long-standing, stultifying stereotypes adopted into our culture many years ago. Maybe instead of saying “Hello” to Presidential Barbie and her look-alike running mate, we all should say”Goodbye” to Barbie and what she represents.
Number 10:Hillary Clinton is not Donald Trump. I would support almost any reasonable candidate over Mr. Trump who continues to be a bully, racist and misogynistic. The concept of Mr. Trump as leader of the free world is terrifying. His campaign rhetoric has shown him to be a thin-skinned, unstable narcissist and a pathological liar. Since winning the primary rather than demonstrating he can be Presidential, Mr. Trump has shown a total disrespect for the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers and continued on his path of “my way or the highway”. I deeply respect the Republicans who have refused to endorse him and publicly rebuked his commendation of Judge Curiel, the Mexican-American federal judge overseeing the Trump University law suit.
Most frightening to me is Mr. Trump’s strong support across a variety of income and educational groups in the Republican Party. The Economist in April reviewed Trump’s support and found that he has appeal to Republican voters across all income and education levels.
I have heard supporters of Mr. Sanders say they will boycott the election or write in Mr. Sanders’ name. I would argue this is a dangerous strategy. Given the sluggish economy and the fact that a Democrat has been President for two terms, past voting trends favor a Republican being elected. Mr. Sanders’ remarkable campaign and many victories have demonstrated that the future of the Democratic Party lies in a progressive agenda. We know, however, from Al Gore’s failed presidential run in 2000 that it is possible to win the popular vote and lose the election through the Electoral College. In my mind, Mr. Trump as President is too worrisome to waste a vote.
Number 9: Mrs. Clinton is a Feminine Warrior. I read recently that Hillary practices the yoga warrior pose when she is tired and needs to re-energize for an upcoming event. I was taken by the image of a strong woman rising to battle time and time again.
After more than forty years in politics and advocacy, Americans certainly know all her professional and personal baggage. We quite literally know her dirty laundry. Anyone who was an adult in the late nineties links the names Monica Lewinsky, President Bill Clinton and impeachment proceedings. Former President Clinton’s bimbo eruptions are a tawdry stain on his policy accomplishments as President. More unfathomable to me than President Clinton’s behavior, a known womanizer is Hillary’s ability to get through that dark period still married to the man and to have emerged with an amicable marriage intact.
On the professional front, Hillary has been beaten many times but she never accepts defeat. In 1993, Mrs. Clinton received a bludgeoning for her leadership on a proposed national health plan, a precursor to the arduous battle we are still fighting to provide health care to all. After a grueling primary campaign in 2008, she politely endorsed then Candidate Obama and later agreed to serve in his administration as Secretary of State. Time and time again over her political career, Mrs. Clinton has been pushed down and like a phoenix she has recreated herself and risen again, a proud, regal female warrior ready to do battle for what she believes in.
Number 8: Mrs. Clinton is fallible (and that makes her more human). As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton took responsibility for not providing enough security in the Benghazi Attacks (September, 2012) that led to the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, a friend of Clinton’s. Eleven hours of Congressional hearings on the subject never directly implicated Clinton but given her position of Secretary of State the responsibility for her staff did and should fall on her shoulders.
The Benghazi Hearings subsequently led to the investigations into Mrs. Clinton private server hosting her email account while Secretary of State. Apparently, this was common practice by other high ranking officials in other administrations. For example, Colin Powell used a similar approach to email when he served as Secretary of State. With the gift of hindsight and the Snowden (2013) leaks and numerous mass hacking of corporate accounts such as Target, the naiveté of keeping a personal server for government business seems absurd. But for those of us carrying Blackberry phones for business during this period, these choices don’t seem Machiavelli.
As recently as June 9th, 2016, the email debacle was still being raised as an election issue in Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. Possessing the warrior spirit, Hillary politely told a reporter she would not be indicted and the email problem would not interfere with her presidential bid. She rose to the question with grace and aplomb.
To vote for Mrs. Clinton, I do not have to agree with all of her decisions or actions. I would never assume this level of support for a male candidate. I find it maddening when talking to potential voters who do not support Hillary because she is “untrustworthy”. Would they say the same about Colin Powel (a man I greatly admire) who testified that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.S. went to war? After all, we didn’t find any weapons but that was the opinion of experts at the time.
Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has managed to stick the moniker of “lying Hillary” on Mrs. Clinton with some ease. Yet we see Mr. Trump revising his version of the facts and his comments at almost every turn. Only recently has the media begun rapidly and accurately checking his statements. Many of which have proven to be false.
Number 7:Mrs. Clinton is a policy nerd and incrementalist. When campaigning against Mrs. Clinton, Bernie Sanders cited Hillary’s incremental approach to most policy issues as a fault. As a student of public administration, I can tell you that we are a nation of incrementalists. With few exceptions, Americans tend to respond the best and most creatively when in crisis or at war. For example, the transcontinental railroad had been stymied due to bickering in Congress on whether to follow a southern or northern route. The railroad only became possible with the succession of the southern states from the Union allowing Lincoln to authorize a northern passage. Once a decision was made, we were able to overcome all engineering stumbling blocks and become a nation united.
A less successful example of American incrementalism is health care. As a country, we implemented Social Security in response to the Great Depression. But even popular four-term President Franklin Roosevelt was unable to get universal health coverage because of opposition from Republicans, conservative Democrats and organized medicine. President Truman was the first president to strongly advocate for universal health care and his proposal was stalled in Congress. President Lyndon Johnson was successful at getting Medicare approved in 1965 (thirty years after the first discussions began).
Since then, Congress has been slowly expanding Medicare benefits including covering qualifying disabled individuals, improving quality of nursing home care, adding hospice care, drug benefits (with a donut hole) and encouraging preventive care and providing the option to purchase private insurance.
The problems of Obamacare are a direct outgrowth of our nation’s inability to implement the “Grand Idea”. Harris polling indicates that a large majority of Americans believe every American should have access to health care. Unfortunately, we are unable to agree on the details. The same poll found that 87 percent of Democrats and only 33 percent of Republicans favor a universal health care system (Harris Poll, September 8 2015).
While Americans may want to hear grand ideas in presidential debates and speeches when it comes to moving a policy agenda forward Americans proceed at a snail’s pace (thirty years to get to Medicare and almost fifty years of refinements have not resulted in full coverage for Americans). The fact that Mrs. Clinton is an incrementalist is not an indictment of her politics but rather a high compliment to her clear understanding of the difficulties of implementing policies in a large diverse nation with many viewpoints and a fractious, politically divided, stonewalling Congress.
Number 6: Mrs. Clinton is inclusive. My family is inter-racial. I have an adopted daughter from China. My sister has an adopted daughter of Mexican and Native American descent. My sister’s daughter was married for a period to an undocumented Mexican man. Together they had 3 darling Hispanic children, ages 7, 8, and 9.
These children are American citizens. While my niece is now divorced, the ex still has joint custody of the children. In summary, we have a very complicated multi -cultural extended family. But we represent the future of America. We are a diverse nation and becoming more so by every day. It is our very diversity which has traditionally made us a strong country. Mrs. Clinton attracts large numbers of black and Hispanic voters because these groups see opportunities for economic and social equality consistently pushed by Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is interested in developing road blocks to forward mobility of all while creating a divisive culture. Other countries have discovered to their peril that exclusionary policies lead to social unrest and ethnic violence. We are already beginning to see this response by Hispanics at anti-Trump rallies.
Number 5:Mrs. Clinton recognizes that women’s issues are family issues. The demographics of American families have been shifting for many years. The Pew Research Center (Census data 2013) has found that four in 10 American households with children under age 18 now include a single mother who is either the sole or primary of these breadwinners. The median family income for single mothers — who are more likely to be younger, black or Hispanic, and less educated — is $23,000. The transformation of black families clearly highlights the changing dynamics of American families. In 1950, 18% of black families were headed by a single woman today that number is 68% of families. This is the reality of American children, especially low income children. They are growing up in families headed by their mother with an income at or below poverty level. Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for a family of three in 2016 is $20,160.
Mrs. Clinton throughout her forty year political career has advocated for expanded, high quality day care, expansion of pre-k education, educational opportunities for women and equal pay for women. The issues on the surface appear to be “women’s issues” but with the transformation of the American family these issues are fundamental to providing a strong beginning for most of America’s children, particularly America’s low income and ethnically diverse children.
Number 4:Mrs. Clinton wants to build bridges not walls. There are two primary philosophies about how to approach U.S. foreign policy. The first is protectionism and isolationism. The second is that our community is the world and we must be strategically engaged globally. The isolationist/protectionist approach worked well for America when we were a young nation, expanding across a vast continent. But Pearl Harbor and our entry into World War II was a wake-up call that United States could not depend on the boundaries provided by the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans for its primary protection. Our safety as a nation required that we develop strategic alliances globally. The arrival of the internet has brought further globalization. The destruction caused by 9-11 was a devastating way for Americans to learn that we sometimes harbor enemies on our own soil. We know from Orlando this week, that we continue to harbor home-grown enemies within our borders.
The choice this election is unequivocal. Mr. Trump has emphasized repeatedly his protection/isolationist approach to foreign policy. He has been clear about building a wall to keep undocumented Mexicans out of the U.S. He has suggested that entire ethnic groups such as Muslims are not welcome in our country. I believe both proposals, a wall and mass screenings, will be extremely expensive and cumbersome to implement. Assuming these polices were implemented, I’m not sure that our country will be any safer. I am sure both proposals will create further enemies both within and outside of our country. I personally do not believe that isolationism/protectionist approach is the way to keep America safe. Developing strong allies across borders and creating a global community with shared goals united against terrorism both within and outside our borders seems like a better approach to me.
Mrs. Clinton has consistently demonstrated her willingness to reach out to other nations and cultures. When Mrs. Clinton served as 67th Secretary of State, she became one of the most traveled Secretaries of State in American history. She visited 112 countries during her four-year tenure, and logged enough miles to span the globe more than 38 times.
Number 3:Mrs. Clinton has vast experience at the state and federal levels and executive and legislative branches of government. President Obama in his video endorsement of Mrs. Clinton for President said “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.” (June 8, 2016). Need I say more?
Number 2:Mrs. Clinton is a well-respected international icon. Hillary is well known throughout the world for her roles as politician, diplomat, and as an international champion for opportunities for women and girls. Her list of awards throughout her forty year career fills pages including many honorary degrees awarded worldwide. The awards vary from having a tulip created in her honor in by The Netherlands (1994) to receiving the Mother Teresa Award, the highest civilian honor given by Albania (1999) to the Chatham House Prize, Royal Institute of Internal Affairs, London (2013) for “driving a new era of diplomatic engagement and for her particular focus on promoting education and rights for women and girls.” Of particular interest to me was that Mrs. Clinton topped the list in Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll in 2015. This win was her fourteenth in a row and twentieth overall. She has held the top spot in the poll longer than other woman or man in Gallup’s history of asking the question.
Number 1:Did I mention, Mrs. Clinton just happens to be a woman.
With David Letterman gone, we now have to develop our own Top Ten Lists. Below are my current Top Ten Reasons NOT to Vote for Donald Trump:
Number 10: No one, not even Mr. Trump, knows why Mr. Trump, decided to run for president. The rumor among political correspondents is that he wanted revenge for serving as the butt of jokes at a White House Correspondence dinners.( See Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live Comedian’s presentation on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Km4R377s4M)
Number 9: By ridiculing every intelligent woman he encounters, Mr. Trump is the first presidential candidate to start a war, the gender war, while running for office.
Number 8: Mr. Trump tell lies faster than Pinocchio. Eight in 16 hours documented by the Washington Post, April 29, 2016.
Number 7: Mr. Trump’s main source for guidance on foriegn policy is watching TV (The Fiscal Times, August 17, 2015).
Number 6: If elected, Mr. Trump will have four years to continue lobbing insults at people, places, and things through his twitter account. (See New York Times, updated April 4, 2016: “210 people,places, and things Donald Trump has insulted on twitter”).
Number 5: Building walls to keep people out is so-o-o passé as foriegn policy. After all, China built the Great Wall over two thousand, two hundred years ago.
Number 4: Trump shares a bully bromance with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin has called Trump “bright and talented” and Mr. Trump has acknowledged Putin’s strong leadership skills. Mr. Trump’s admiration is somewhat surprising since Putin has jailed his critics, journalists and activists, shut off gas to the Ukraine and rest of Europe and sold weapons to Al-Assad.
Number 3: Mr. Trump can’t count. More Mexicans have left the U.S. in recent years to return to Mexico than have come to the United States (Pew Research Center). Mexican immigration is decreasing because of declining birth rate, socio-economic factors and an aging population (Politifact, August 6th, 2015). Mr. Trump continues to assert despite these statistics that “people are pouring across the border.”
Number 2: Like a reality TV show on the Home and Garden Channel or a fish out of water, Mr. Trump is a master of the Flip or Flop. Recently, Mr Trump said he could be “flexible” on his immigration policy because we need “talented and highly skilled people” in this country. “In terms of immigration and almost anything else, there always has to be some, you know, tug and pull and deal,” (Mr. Trump, March 3, 2016, Fox News Debate).
Number 1: If elected, we’d be foreced to see Mr. Trump’s hair, strangely akin to golden, spun-sugar, cotton candy from a carnival regularly on the nightly news.
My sixteen year old daughter had surgery last week for a torn ACL. While she was recuperating, we found ourselves watching a variety of movies. One of them was “Woodlawn” (2015) based on the true story of Tony Nathan a gifted, black, high school football player, who attended Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama, 1973. Woodlawn experienced federally mandated busing to enforce integration. The film opens with black and white news footage of buses burning, President John Kennedy speaking, personal stories from black people on the devastating impact of segregation and shots of the huge crowds at Billy Graham revivals. There is also footage of Alabama Governor George Wallace, a Democrat, (demonstrating that idiocy and meanness have no party boundaries) proclaiming,“I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
The premise of the story is that forced integration was not going well at the school until Hank Erin, a total outsider, converts nearly the entire football team, black and white, to Christ. The team’s spiritual conversion subsequently transforms the coach, the school and the community. Mr. Erin was part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an international non-profit Christian sports ministry based in Kansas City, Missouri. The unseen star of the movie is Christ. The finger pointing up in the movie posters does not symbolize “We’re number one!” as I always thought but “Our Power comes from the one above!”
The narrator of movie, the Woodlawn team’s coach, describes Woodlawn as a miracle.
After watching the movie, I starting thinking about when over the past couple of weeks have I seen God show up. I pray every day, go to church on Sundays but I am somewhat of a doubting Thomas. I believe in God but am also frequently asking where is He? Upon reflection, I have seen a recent very public instance of God on earth.
Pope Francis denouncing Presidential candidate, Donald Trump’s policies on immigration as “not Christian” is a triumph for social justice. Trump’s harsh campaign promises to deport more illegal immigrants and build a wall along the border, may resonate with an angry populous. Remember, George Wallace’s line in the sand on segregation got him elected 4-times. But political rhetoric and Christianity are not the same. Trump immediately fired back that the Pope is “Disgraceful”. I believe the opposite. Pope Francis represents— grace in action. He cares for the poor, washes the feet of prisoners and speaks out on issues of social justice.
No reasonable person could think hunting down and routing out Hispanics from their homes at night, loading up truck loads of Mexicans at gun point in a military maneuvers, breaking up families since children born to illegal residents in America are U. S. citizens, could be seen as Christian acts. The logistics of financing, building, and maintaining a massive wall along the Mexican border are ludicrous.
Trump is a brilliant man. He knows the challenges of putting these proposals into action. Trumpism is an effort to capitalize on the anger many Americans feel about the course of our country.
This same anger was around in the early seventies with start of desegregation. Status threat is a sociological concept with real life consequences. When people’s lives are not going as they hope economically they feel threatened, angry and find someone to blame and lash out at. The targets of their anger may be minorities, homeless, refugees, but almost always the target is someone less powerful. Current economic inequalities are further complicated by global terrorism. We have become a nation of avengers, security zealots, and foreigner-phobes. Trumpism provides a constant, shrill message to rally the masses rising to a crescendo on Election Day. I am not a political forecaster. I do not know if his tactics will be successful. They have certainly gained him international attention.
I do know that Trump’s America is not one of Christ-like service to our neighbors and community. I am not a Catholic. But with the selection of Pope Francis, Christians throughout the world have had the opportunity to see God’s boots on the ground on a regular basis.
I realize now that I started this blog with the wrong question. God is always there. The right question is, “What happens when Christians show up?The answer is miracles!
Sarah Palin and potatoes both emanate from Idaho. Yes, it is true! While Sarah is identified with Alaska; she was born in a small northern Idaho town, Sandpoint, population 7,000 people. Shortly after her birth, the Palin family moved to Alaska, her main home stomping grounds. However, Ms. Palin did return briefly to Idaho for college when she attended Northern Idaho Community College and eventually graduated from the University of Idaho with a communication degree. She is ranked as the most famous University of Idaho Alumnus on Ranker.Com right above former U.S. Senator Larry Craig. For those of you who don’t follow Idaho politics, Craig is best known across America for defending a potential homosexual pickup in a men’s restroom by “Having a Wide Stance!” As you can see from this very short list, the University of Idaho is desperate for celebrities.
I am fascinated by Ms. Palin. As the 2008 Republican Party nominee for Vice President, alongside Arizona Senator John McCain, Sarah’s selection to the Republican ticket created a series of firsts including first Alaskan and first woman to be on a Republican national ticket. She is also the first former beauty queen to be on a national ticket, having placed first in Miss Wasilla Pageant playing the flute for talent and subsequently coming in third in the Miss Alaska Pageant. We know from the 2008 Presidential campaign, Ms. Palin is a lightning rod for controversy. Even when competing in beauty pageants, hullabaloo is not far from Sarah’s side. She reportedly won the Miss Congeniality award in the Miss Wasilla contest, but this is disputed by another contestant and former classmate of Palin’s. Apparently, the oxymoron, “the contested Miss Congeniality” is not surprising when Ms. Palin is in the mix.
As a Palin watcher, I have learned over the years that Sarah has many versions of reality, none of them easy to dispute because most of us have such a hard time understanding what she is trying to say. Sarah’s star rose again last week (January 19, 2016) when she endorsed Donald Trump for President on the campaign trail.
If you watch the endorsement, you’ll see Sarah sporting a dazzling Dolly Partonesque, spiky sequin sweater, shouting out a strange rambling of disconnected thoughts on how to make America great again. The New York Daily News described her word salad, almost unintelligible rant, as “gaffe prone”.
Sarah has become a national icon of the Tea Party largely because of her tendency to transform complex public policy into a string of zeitgeist slogans with pithy punch lines such as, “Mr. President, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke.” (March 8, 2014). This trait has made her easy fodder for comedians. Some of the best political humor, I have ever watched was Tina Fey’s comedic sketches of Sarah on Saturday Night Live (SNL) during the 2008 presidential campaign. Sarah once again provided the inspiration for a Tina Fey reprisal of the Trump endorsement on SNL, January 23, 2106. The New York Times described the skit as “brilliant parody!” Dressed in the same black and silver spiked sweater as Palin, Fey ended her sketch with the zinger, Sarah had endorsed Trump as a quid pro quo for a Trump cabinet appointment, “I belong in a cabinet! Because I’m full of spice and got a great rack.”
While many view Palin’s wacky speech patterns consisting of slogans, rhymes and new words as a sign of ignorance or inability to use the English language correctly, I believe history may prove she is one of the great malapropoists of our time. A malapropism is the misuse of a word through the confusion with another word which sounds similar, sometimes resulting in ridiculous speak. An everyday example of malapropism is “the numbers don’t jive” when the correct wording is the” numbers don’t jibe” In the first “ jive” means lively dancing and so the statement would only be correct if we were watching Sesame Street and colorful, performing numbers were being used to teach children to count. In the second example, “jibe” means the numbers are not in agreement and if you are an accounting major and have this problem, you may be in danger of flunking the test.
The most brilliant example of Sarah’s use of malapropisms is the word “refudiate”. Until Sarah Palin arrived on the scene, this word did not exist (Even today, my spell checker thinks it is still not a word). The word is a mixture of “refute” and “repudiate”. When one refutes something, they prove something is in error or false. When one repudiates something, they deny any connection to something such as a family member. Sarah started using the word “refudiate” in 2010 in a TV interview, challenging President Obama to “refudiate” the NAACP’s charge that the Tea Party had racist elements (NPR, August 6, 2010). She also tweeted the word, asking peaceful Muslims to “refudiate” violent Muslim acts. The word became the salvo of conservatives who argued that refudiate shows a commitment to refute the liberal agenda while repudiating (defeating) liberals at the polls. In the midst of a raging pundits controversy about whether this was an example of Sarah’s failure to grasp the English language or her ability to be clever like a fox, Sarah complimented herself by tweeting; “English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!” In November 2010, the New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD) agreed with her by listing “refudiate” as the 2010 new word of the year. The NOAD editors wrote in a release: “From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used ‘refudiate,’ we have concluded that neither ‘refute’ nor ‘repudiate’ seems consistently precise, and that ‘refudiate’ more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of ‘reject.’”
During the Trump endorsement, Sarah once again treated us to a variety of malapropisms. She referred to members of Emily’s List, the pro-choice, Democratic women political action committee, as a “cackle of rads”. Cackle replacing either gaggle or cabal, I’m not sure which and rads replacing radical. The image of cackling, radical women similar to a group of old crones is not a pleasant one. In three words, Sarah managed to slap progressive women down with a spiteful imagine and appear as if she wasn’t even aware of her rhetoric.
My favorite word from Sarah’s Trump endorsement was “squirmish”. This word is an adaptation of “squirm” to wiggle because of discomfort and “skirmish” to brief fight sometimes part of a larger battle. But I was left perplexed and disturbed that Ms. Palin, a leader on the national stage, would described the Syrian conflict, resulting in more than 330,000 causalities and uprooting more than four million people as a squirmish. To quote Ms. Palin, “,And you quit footin’ the bill for these, nations who are oil-rich, we’re paying for, some of their squirmishes, that have been goin’ on, for centuries. Where they’re fightin’ each other and yellin’ Allah Akbar, callin’ jihad on each other’s heads forever and ever. Like I said before, let ‘em duke it out, and let Allah sort it out!
I think a better use of the term squirmish is as a descriptive noun for the 2016 Republican Presidential Race. All of the candidates are making me squirm (uncomfortable and wanting to break free) with their personal attacks on each other and the media, trivializing of complex issues and hate messages directed at Muslims and refugees. So far the primary season can be viewed as a series of skirmishes (small contests) leading up to the great battle, the Republican National Convention. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to have “squirmish” used to describe this year’s Presidential race in future U.S. Government text books. But right now I would like to refudiate all of the Republican Presidential candidates.