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Let’s talk about ‘traditional’ values

By 2353NM

Donald Trump, in his mind anyway, is the next President of the United States of America. Last week, he was in deeper hot water than usual when a tape of a conversation between Trump and a reporter from Access Hollywood regarding his sexual exploits with women, made a decade ago, was released. Trump released an apology around midnight on 7 October (US time) and where he did state

“I’ve said some foolish things,” Trump said in a taped apology posted on his Facebook page. “But there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women.”

Turning to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Trump accused her of having “bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated” her husband’s “victims.”

It’s a classic ‘look over there’ approach, that demonstrates that while there is an apology on record, it’s a pretty safe bet that Trump’s campaign team told him he had to do it, rather than some intrinsic understanding that the original conversation was just wrong. The apology went for 90 seconds and the text is available on the CBS News website here.

While Trump’s supporters are also apparently ‘looking over there’, some Republicans are less convinced. According to CBS, his choice for Vice-President, Indiana Governor Mike Pense,

was “beside himself” and his wife was furious, according to a person familiar with their thinking. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to share the private discussion.

CBS also reports the head of the Republican Party was, if anything, more direct

“No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” said Reince Priebus, who had stood by Trump through his past provocative comments.

According to the CBS report, Trump’s justification for his actions in the original interview was “When you’re a star they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

So Trump is a misogynist. At the time of preparation of this article, Trump is refusing to stand down as the Republican Party’s nomination for US President. It’s not the first time that Trump has made derogatory comments about women, immigrants foreign countries, welfare recipients or the current President, just to name a few. The actor Robert De Niro was asked to film a spot for a ‘get out to vote’ activist group in the US, which contains a really interesting Trump character assessment:

“I mean, he’s so blatantly stupid,” the Academy Award winner, 73, said of Trump, 70, in the clip. “He’s a punk, he’s a dog, he’s a pig. He’s a con, a bulls–t artist, a mutt. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, doesn’t do his homework, doesn’t care, thinks he’s gaming society, doesn’t pay his taxes. He’s an idiot. Colin Powell said it best: He’s a national disaster. He’s an embarrassment to this country. It makes me so angry that this country has gotten to this point that this fool, this bozo, has wound up where he has.”

De Niro continued, “He talks [about] how he wants to punch people in the face. Well, I’d like to punch him in the face. This is somebody that we want for president? I don’t think so. What I care about is the direction of this country, and what I’m very, very worried about is that it might go in the wrong direction with someone like Donald Trump. If you care about your future, vote for it.”

In 2012, Prime Minister, Julia Gillard rightly called out then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on misogyny:

The speech reverberated around the world. It’s probably fair to suggest that Gillard’s speech was not just a reaction to Abbott’s claim that Gillard was supporting then Speaker of the House Peter Slipper (who probably wasn’t the most moral character in the house), it was a reflection of the years of continual sniping at Gillard’s gender and her ‘lack of fitness’ to be Prime Minister as a result. Abbott’s wife runs an apparently successful business and he has three daughters. He obviously supports and respects his family’s successes and supports their endeavours. What Abbott didn’t and probably still doesn’t realise is continual sniping of a person based on their gender (as Abbott did to Gillard) is not fair game because the victim has differing opinions, it is as Gillard suggested – misogynisy.

Both Abbott and Trump are extremely conservative political leaders. While Trump could claim that he has reflected on his 2005 comments and knows better and Abbott did suggest that Gillard over reacted, is there a common theme here?

Prime Minister Turnbull committed to retaining Abbott’s plebiscite on marriage equity when he rolled Abbott in 2015. While the contents of the 2016 Coalition agreement are secret, is widely believed that the commitment remains – as Turnbull has brought the legislation to Parliament and if it was passed, the plebiscite would have been held on 11 February 2017.

Those who populate a number of religious organisations around Australia as well as organisations such as the Australian Christian Lobby will tell you any family that doesn’t consist of a husband and wife in a deeply committed loving relationship will lead to problems for the children later in their lives. In some cases, they are probably right; however, there are plenty of people with problems later in life that came from married couples with deeply committed and loving relationships as well.

In a perfect world, it would be wonderful if every person was valued for their potential contribution to the world and treated accordingly. Apart from creating ‘ideal’ families, this ‘perfect’ view of the world would also close the detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, stop the bombing in Syria and provide food and shelter for those who are incapable of supporting themselves across the world. No Virginia, the world is not perfect, and those who are proclaiming the need for ‘ideal’ families are not similarly vocal about the conditions on Nauru, the various wars and human emergencies around the world.

This is where the moral and ethical problem is. For example, the top of the Australian Christian Lobby’s Home webpage looks like this:

Image from acl.org.au

Given that most religious groupings, be they Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or Jedi (it was accepted as a choice in the last Census) probably desire a compassionate, just and moral society through having the tenets of their particular religious text reflected in the political life of the nation, it would be seemingly obvious that ethical and moral issues such as treatment of refugees, treatment of young adults in custody and attempting to assist those around the world would be amongst the issues at the top of their mind, after all most of the religious texts request their believers to ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. None of those issues make the ACL’s ‘hit list’ contained on the 377 pages of ‘latest news’. Unfortunately, the actions of people like the Trump, Abbott and conservative groups such as the ACL do not reflect their claimed values. Unsurprisingly most of the ‘hot topics’ on the ACL’s list relate to marriage equity or sex education in schools.

Trump and Abbott clearly do not actually give women the respect they have claimed they do. The ACL has a very narrow view of Christian faith if it just stands by without calling out the Australian Government’s actions in regard to refugees, detention centres and recurring efforts to further marginalise those who can least afford private health care, private schools or even private rental homes. When others called out Trump and Abbott on misogyny, Trump’s response was to suggest that the husband of the Presidential candidate was worse than he was and Abbott suggested that Gillard ‘over reacted’. The ACL’s CEO, Lyle Shelton will make whatever claim he believes will further his argument such as

“Research clearly shows the quickest pathway to poverty for a child is for their biological mum and dad to break up, that’s just a fact.”

to argue for his preferred position of the ‘ideal family’. Shelton’s Lobby group is also potentially one of the beneficiaries of the $7.5 million Turnbull would have given the “NO” case should the plebiscite legislation have passed Parliament. As it seems that his public utterances have no factual basis, as there is certainly no collaborating evidence for the issues they claim others are going to implement made in the “Latest News” section of their website (although to be fair the entire 377 pages of items were not checked), and while Trump, Abbott and the ACL are entitled to believe they have done the right and honourable thing, the reality is somewhat different.

There are numerous reasons why a child may not grow up with their biological mum or dad. One parent may have died, the parents may have separated, a parent may have to work in a different town, be in jail or even stuck in a detention centre operated by the Australian Government. Logically, most of these kids will have mental and physical issues to work through as a part of that process. Shelton’s comments (and a large proportion of the anti-marriage equity advertising that has already gone to air) giving the ‘traditional’ view of marriage will not assist the mental health of those kids who have a different reality – regardless of the reason for that reality.

Trump, Abbott and groups such as the ACL all claim to be good Christians who are upholding the values of society. Yet, Trump admits to abuse of women physically and mentally, Abbott certainly treated Gillard (and other women) as second class citizens and conservative groups such as the ACL seem to feel that there is no need for the facts to ruin a good story. If the values of society are those that suggest that the actions above are acceptable, let alone desirable attributes of ‘traditional’ society, we should be re-imaging society so that all people are equal, regardless of their gender, beliefs or attitudes.

In addition to the cost of a plebiscite that isn’t binding (estimated to be $160 million), Turnbull has decided to gift $7.5 million to both the ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ cases for the plebiscite, allowing further attacks on the mental health of those kids that don’t live in the conservatives’ ‘traditional’ families and their caregivers. According to news.com.au, the ACL has already planned to use some of the funding to widen the argument to include sex education in schools.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek today said she had concerns about “the idea that we’ll have a $15 million publicly-funded battle, when we’ve already seen the sort of material that’s been put out against marriage equality”.

“And we’ve got organisations engaged in this debate saying anti-discrimination law and rules around advertising should be suspended,” Ms Plibersek told ABC Radio.

She wanted to know what they intended to say during the campaign that currently was illegal.

It is a truism that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Political leaders legitimising abuse of other people, advertising legitimising only certain forms of family life and so on creates victims. While abuse of women, discrimination based on gender, preferences or beliefs may have been acceptable in the ‘good ole days’ of ‘traditional’ families, victims have to know firstly that they are victims, secondly there is help available and thirdly how to access that help. If conservatives try to push these issues back into the closet, they are deterring those who are having problems from putting their hand up and asking for help. World Mental Health Day is 10 October and in Australia, the week including that date is Mental Health Week. It’s a shame and not healthy for our society that Turnbull is again being held hostage by the conservatives on his side of politics and plans to fund advertising around a non-binding plebiscite that effectively seeks to de-legitimise a number of loving and sharing families around Australia.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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10 comments

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  1. Zathras

    Those “good ole days” that the traditional Conservatives want us to return to are gone forever – mainly due to the policies of the Neo-Conservatives that replaced them.

    Thanks to their own policies, the aspirational days of the suburban house with the white pickets fence have been relegated to history for most and many of the negative aspects of that era have been overlooked. Now they are targetting workplace security and conditions on the basis of greed alone.

    Those days when “men were men and women and blacks knew their place” included the sport of “pooter-bashing” as well as police harassment of gays but it seems that’s some of the things what many miss – perhaps not in a physical sense but in an emotional one.

    While I have a semantic problem with the word “marriage” it is of less importance to the well being and happiness of others and it would be unreasonable for me to resist their needs and wishes (that in absolutely no way affect my own) for the sake of a dictionary definition or for some bogus outdated superstitious fetish.

    Slavery and witch burning were also once traditions but were removed because of social enlightenment, not a change in religious belief or an alteration of language.

    I suspect the real ugliness is yet to show it’s face in this debate.

  2. Alan Smith

    Zathras, I fear the last sentenc of your post is probably correct.

  3. astra5

    2353NM
    Thank you for highlighting the misogyny of Donald Trump, and for comparing it with the misogyny that Tony Abbott displayed when in opposition to Julia Gillard. Both cases are gross; Trump seems though to have well and truly trumped our home-grown misogynist, awful though he was.

    Nate Silver, arguably America’s finest political blogger and psephologist, who hosts a blogsite FiveThirtyEight, recently reported on what the outcome of the US election would be if only men, or only women were to vote. The results were astonishing: if only men voted, Trump would win 350 electoral college votes and Clinton only 188, a landslide victory for Trump. On the other hand, if only women were to vote, Trump would gain only 80 electoral college votes against Clinton’s 458, an even more overwhelming victory, this time for Clinton. The write-up of this in Cosmopolitan is worth reading, as are the graphics: Red is Republican; blue Democrat.

    Assuming that these are accurate stats, it shows how repulsed women are by Trump’s misogyny, but more surprisingly how willing are men to accept or overlook his misogyny, or perhaps more disturbingly approve of it or at least believe it should not be a barrier to him becoming president of the US and leader of the free world!

    That is horrifying. It explains a lot about male attitudes to women in the US. I suspect the results might not be dissimilar in Australia, as is implied in one of the concluding paragraphs of your piece.

    The Cosmopolitan piece is here: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/…/

  4. helvityni

    “It’s a shame and not healthy for our society that Turnbull is again being held hostage by the conservatives on his side of politics…”

    I’m getting mighty tired of the idea that Mal is held imprisoned by Tony’s mob.

    If he has any convictions, come out like any brave man/leader would, or don’t, and be forever an Abbott clone.

  5. Harquebus

    Julia Gillard never gave a misogyny speech. It was a response to a question which, she did not answer.

    “Recent allegations of two women coming forward against U.S. Presidential hopeful Donald Trump seems calculated and suspicious.”
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/smearing-donald-trump-and-the-new-york-times/5551187

    “Yet another former Miss Teen USA participant has come forward to refute claims that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump casually strolled into dressing rooms while contestants were undressed.”
    http://www.infowars.com/former-miss-teen-usa-defends-trump-on-allegations/

    “Meanwhile, the NY Post has just published an exclusive interview with a British gentleman named, Anthony Gilberthorpe, who claims that he sat across the aisle from Trump and Leeds in 1980 and that Leeds, not Trump, was the one being sexually aggressive. He even claims that Leeds intimated to him that “she wanted to marry Trump” after Trump excused himself to the restroom. ”
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-14/trump-goes-full-scorched-earth-offensive-whole-thing-one-big-fix

    “We suggest that Trump is merely the messenger of a message that for too many years has been suppressed by the same media that now pushes their choice of candidate down “we, the people”‘s throat.”
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-15/cnn-anchor-warns-post-election-violence-due-hatred-dripping-trumps-mouth

  6. Freethinker

    I think that I am more realistic (or perhaps pessimistic) about the values of our society. I believe that we here in this site are the minority.
    Look at today news in The Guardian

    Pauline Hanson’s One Nation triples support since election: Newspoll
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/oct/17/pauline-hansons-one-nation-triples-support-since-election-newspoll
    Quote:
    Survey shows party would win 6% of national vote in House of Representatives, compared with 1.3% at July election.
    According to the results One Nation would win 6% of the vote in the lower house in New South Wales and Western Australia. In those two states One Nation won 4% of the Senate vote at the election, despite not running candidates in many lower house seats. End of Quote.

  7. Michael Taylor

    Freethinker, the rise in One Nation’s popularity is disturbing but there is a bright light in the numbers. Their increased support has came at the expense of the Coalition and independents. The danger there is that the government, in an effort to woe those voters back, is to shift even further to the extreme right.

  8. helvityni

    I heard this gem from my dear old Dutch/Indonesian friend: I can walk forward with my Zimmer frame, and amazingly without it, I can walk backwards.

    Maybe Australia is at the second stage: walking backwards.

  9. Freethinker

    Michael if they keep increasing their numbers, in future elections they together with the extreme right and few independents will control the senate.
    IMO I cannot see any bright outcome when people are not satisfied with the way that the conservative partyu it is going and they want more extreme policies put in place.
    The votes went to One Nation and not to the ALP or the Greens, that show the preference of the electorate.

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