Your Outrage Is Bullshit

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So Donald Trump’s “Grab Her By The Pussy” video was leaked last week, and predictably, everyone is all up in arms, as they have been every time he says something shocking, which is pretty much every week.

News anchors are outraged. Republicans are outraged. Democrats are outraged. Social media is outraged. Everyone is all, “How can he talk like that? That’s sexual assault! He’s talking about sexual assault!”

That outrage is bullshit.

Every single one of you has heard a guy talk like that. Maybe he didn’t say, “Grab her by the pussy,” but he said something equally, if not more, offensive. You’ve heard it more than once.

I’ve heard guys talk like that more times than I can count. And I don’t make it a point to hang out with douchy guys, but that is the culture we live in. Women are consumables, and this language – this behaviour – is a testament to how superficial and disposable we are.

If you tell me you’ve never heard someone say something like what Donald Trump said, you’re lying. You have. If you didn’t realize at the time how offensive it was, and you needed the world’s outrage at Donald Trump to make it clear to you, well then let it be clear now.

You’ve heard it before.

And you didn’t just hear it in the locker room. It was in the car. It was at the mall. It was hanging out with your friends. It was in the boardroom.

Remember when Donald Trump said, “She had blood coming out of her…whatever..” and everyone was all, “What did he just say?!?!”

I remember being in an employee meeting ten years ago. In a bank. With a Vice President. A Vice President who, in that meeting, said the words, “I think she was in a bad mood…I don’t know…she must’ve been on her period or something.”

If you’re a guy and you’re reading this, check yourself. You’ve said a questionable thing or two or twenty.

Everyone was so mad when Trump said, “I just start kissing them. I don’t even wait.”

Guys, you never did that? Never kissed a girl without asking? Never touched a girl who didn’t want it? Here’s a tip: If she pushed you away, she didn’t want it. If she cringed, she didn’t want it. If she turned her head, tried to wrestle free, told you to let go, she didn’t want it.

You’ve all done it. Or you know someone who has.

I remember the first time.

I was in a crowded movie theatre. I was 15 years old. The man next to me put his hand on my knee.

I was young. Innocent. I didn’t know what to do. I wondered if he had mistaken my knee for the arm rest. I was scared.

It took just one hot minute before his hand started to move up my leg. I shoved it off fast, then didn’t move a muscle. He didn’t touch me again.

How many women have been touched by men on a crowded bus?

All of us.

How many women have been grabbed by a guy in a club?

All of us.

Guys, did you ever see a girl you thought was hot? Did you ever grab her around the waist and hold her tight, saying something like, “Hey baby, come here. I wanna talk to you.”

Ever hold on to her waist, her arm, her wrist, so she couldn’t get away? Ever seen someone else do it? Have you ever seen a woman be assaulted like that? Have you ever assaulted a woman like that?

Don’t act surprised and offended by Donald Trump. You know someone just like him. You may be just like him.

Don’t act indignant over what he said and did when you have said or done the same thing, or have witnessed someone saying or doing the same thing and not intervened. You didn’t shut them down.

You didn’t defend the woman who was grabbed.

You didn’t help the woman who was trying to get away from unwanted attention.

You didn’t call out the friend or teammate or coworker or boss or vice president for saying something so insanely asinine and offensive that you almost couldn’t believe that they said it.

They said it. They did it. You probably have too.

Your outrage is bullshit.

Trump isn’t an anomaly. He’s just another guy.

**Don’t even come at me with your Not All Guys crap. DON’T EVEN.**

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19 Things

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1. I support the rights of gay people to live without persecution, with all the same rights and freedoms as everybody else.

2. I support the rights of women to make their own choices with their bodies.

3. I believe in government-funded healthcare and education.

4. I support Black Lives Matter, and I tried to join the NAACP.

5. I believe that the entire criminal justice system in the United States needs a complete overhaul.

6. I think I will break if I see one more video of a black man being shot in the street.

7. I don’t like to eat animals, because I think it is mean to the animals, and that matters to me.

8. I am against routine infant male circumcision.

9. I support the right of the Palestinian people to live with dignity and humanity.

10. I support the right of Israeli’s to live in peace and security.

11. I believe there is no place for religion in the school system.

12. I think it is utterly shameful that in Ontario, public money is used to fund Catholic schools.

13. I think most of the news media is entertainment, not journalism.

14. I think that large-scale animal agriculture is the biggest threat to our planet.

15. I cry when I think about Syria.

16. I cried when it was over for Bernie Sanders.

17. I believe that if everyone doesn’t have them, they’re not rights, they’re privileges.

18. I believe that injustice will never be abolished until those who are served by it are outraged by it*.

19. I believe we’re all just walking each other home*.

 

*With special thanks to Plato and Ram Das for being more eloquent than I could ever be.

I’m With Her.

Last night I lay down on the couch, with my head in my mother’s lap, and together we watched Hillary Clinton accept the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States. And though she wasn’t my first choice, it was a profound moment.

My mother was an immigrant. And she is the granddaughter of immigrants. And there we were, with my own sleeping daughter on both of our minds, as we watched a woman move one step away from the Oval Office.

A moment for my mother, who was so often called “mouthy”.

A moment for me, who was incessantly bullied with the words “aggressive” and “bossy”, and who is still told way too often to “tone it down.”

A moment for my young daughter, whose legs and mouth and mind never stop moving.

And now Hillary Clinton, the mouthy, aggressive, boss lady, who has been told way too often to “stop screaming” and “smile” is one step away from being President of the most influential country in the world.

It was a moment where I understood in a unique way that my daughter’s life will be fundamentally different because of the barrier that was broken tonight. And all of a sudden, all I want to do is buy her a Hillary doll wearing a white pantsuit.

Hillary

I can’t pretend that it doesn’t matter to me that a woman is up on that stage. It does. Maybe she wasn’t my first choice, but now she is the only choice, so I’m moving forward with optimism. It’s a “Fine, I’m With Her” instead of a “Hell Yeah, I”m With Her”, but I’m with her just the same. And not just because it brought tears to my eyes to see a woman up there, embracing her own daughter, before accepting the responsibility of running for the highest office on the planet. But because the alternative is unthinkable.

Because it is likely that the next President could appoint up to 4 Supreme Court judges. Those appointments will shape the future of the next generation of the United States, and that could shape the next generation in the world. I do not want my daughter to be a citizen of a country whose next door neighbour, largest trading parter, and biggest influence, thinks that a bunch of white men reading from a mythical book of metaphors should decide what women can and cannot do with their bodies.

It is no secret that I am a huge fan, supporter and adorer of Bernie Sanders. His authenticity, his compassion, his unadulterated belief in the goodness of people and our ability to rise above our base fears to work together for each other is both inspiring and liberating. I mean it from the bottom of my heart when I say that I love him, and that he changed my view not just of what’s possible in politics, but of what’s possible in people. His movement brought out of the shadows millions of people who believe that the more you give, the more you get. They worked so hard for him, and they can’t stop now.

Here’s the thing:

Hillary is not the world’s greatest orator, but some moments of authenticity really shone through last night. I appreciated them, and I’m hanging on to them as I jump onto her bandwagon. She said a lot of things I wanted to hear – a lot of things that many of Bernie’s supporters wish she had been saying all along. But she’s saying them now. And I hope so hard that all of the people who worked tirelessly for Bernie will work for her. Help her win, and reset the course of the country. And then hold her feet to the fire. Make her honour her word, and demand justice when she doesn’t. Get involved in any way you can in the engine of democracy in your country. The revolution that Bernie started was never about him, it was about everyone. Get behind Hillary now, and move the revolution forward.

I remain hopeful

It’s election night in the United States, and the world is holding its breath to see if Barak Obama will maintain his seat on the throne of the world for another four years, or if Mitt Romney will usurp him as head of the free world.

Mitt.  Damn.  I hate that name.

But anyway, I digress.

Four years ago, I watched the election results unfolding with excitement while sitting on a friend’s couch, as Obama rode his “Yes We Can!” magic carpet all the way to the White House, with no real opposition.  While results are still coming in, I feel fairly confident that Obama will ride that carpet back to the White House, though he may be holding on to the tassels this time around.

In 2008, it was heart-stopping to think that a black man could be President of the United States.  The excitement around that possibility was palpable.  After Obama won, a downtown movie theatre showed his inaugural address to those of us who lined up in the cold to watch.  Even in Toronto the feeling was electric.  My favourite line from that speech was one he addressed to those opposing forces in the world: We will extend our hand, if you will unclench your fist.

Magic.

And now it’s four years later.  Another election, another couch, another spark of hope for the future.  But maybe not quite as bright a spark as the last time around.  The economy in the States is still a mess, family and national debt is mounting, and unemployment remains higher than everyone is comfortable with.  In all this, hope is slowly being displaced by desperation.

Even though this isn’t my country, it is the country that has the most direct effect on what happens in Canada.  That gives me a vested interest in what happens south of the border, and I remain hopeful.

I remain hopeful because even though he didn’t do everything he said he would, I truly believe Barak Obama spent the last four years doing his best.

I remain hopeful because he repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, a policy so revolting and unconscionable that its time on the books will certainly go down as a blight on the country that instated it in the first place.

I remain hopeful because Obama finally finally finally came out in support of gay marriage, throwing his support behind the love and lives of all the citizens of his country.

I remain hopeful because even though his opponents tried to stop him at every turn, Obama pushed forward with an agenda that would ensure health care for every citizen in the country.  It seems baffling to me that this should have been a bold move, rather than an obvious one.  But bold it was.  And he did it.

I remain hopeful because even though she didn’t win the nomination, Hilary Clinton came awfully close last time.  A strong, independent, assertive woman.  I do believe we will see a woman sitting on that throne before the end of my life.  Maybe even more than one.

I remain hopeful because as Barak Obama lit a spark at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that grew into a fire that led him to victory, I saw a new spark lit at the DNC this year when Julian Castro spoke with passion and engagement to a crowd that went wild.  He gave me hope that there are still good politicians coming through the ranks – people that will invigorate new generations of voters in the years to come.

But mostly, I remain hopeful because I have to.  Without hope, without optimism, what’s left?  A life of resignation.  A life of inevitable disappointment.  A life of long sighs and downcast eyes and waiting for the next axe to fall.  I don’t want that to be the world I live in.  I don’t want that to be the world my daughter lives in.  So I remain hopeful.  No matter what happens.