What Republicans really think about women and #MeToo | Editorial

Posted Oct 8, 2018

The epitaph of the Kavanaugh hearings is not just the inevitable shift to a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. It is also the airing of Republican men's grievances against women and #MeToo.

Let's start with women, as a general species. We are still left with some uncomfortable questions, like, why did Christine Blasey Ford's hearing look so much like Anita Hill's, more than a quarter century ago?

What's with the all-male, all-white Senate Republican judiciary panel that oversaw the questioning of yet another woman who came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct?

Sen. Chuck Grassley, on the committee back then, and now its powerful chair, has his own theory: Maybe women simply aren't up to the task. "It's a lot of work - maybe they don't want to do it," he said on Friday.

After the Wall Street Journal reported this, he walked it back, saying he meant, it's a lot of work for both women and men. Anyone, really. Right. The real mystery is how Democrats managed to find four women to serve on this same committee.

Then we have the Republican running for Heidi Heitkamp's Senate seat in North Dakota, Kevin Cramer, who said #MeToo is a "movement toward victimization," and suggested that women in his family are stronger than wimpy sexual assault survivors.

Heitkamp, who has described how her mother was sexually assaulted as a teenager, retorted, "It did not make my mom less strong that she was a victim. She got stronger and she made us strong. And to suggest that this movement doesn't make women strong and stronger is really unfortunate."

Attacking the victim for being a victim, and at the same time, convincing men that they are the real victims: It's quite the balancing act. President Trump used a rally last week to float the second meme - that men must be on their guard because, clearly, everyone is out to get them.

It's "a very scary time for young men in America," he said. When asked if he had a message for women, Trump responded, "Women are doing great." Hours later, he mocked Blasey Ford at a rally in Mississippi, where his ardent disciples chanted, "Lock her up."

Trump's not talking about a "scary time" for young men of color, of course, in small towns run by corrupt police departments that are no longer being investigated by his Justice Department; or men whose mothers or sisters have been victims of sexual assault.

He's talking about powerful men like himself, accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct. Only a few dozen such men in our country have actually been felled by the #MeToo movement.

Yet Trump will refer to them as all men, scapegoating his entire gender for the actions of a few, because otherwise, he's just a groin-grabber. Won't you join him in ignoring these women who allege serious crimes, and defending the bad actors?

Men like Senate candidate Roy Moore, a man banned from shopping malls for preying on young girls, who Trump supported above nine victims and 25 others who corroborated their stories, on the grounds that he "totally denies it" and "you have to listen to him also."

Sen. Lindsey Graham knew just the tone to strike to please this president, when he insisted that he was voting for Kavanaugh regardless of what Ford said - even before she testified that he held her down, tried to take off her clothes and covered her mouth to keep her from screaming - and portrayed himself as a victim in the process.

"I'm a single white male from South Carolina, and I'm told I'm just supposed to shut up," he said during the hearing, before launching into yet another long-winded speech. Says something about the mindset these men brought to this supposedly objective search for truth, doesn't it?

 

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