2016 Election: Is There Anything More to Say?

Introducing Donald Trumpkin. Funny: the GOP wants to carve him up

Is there anything more to say? Even though I only write a monthly column, I’m starting to join my fellow writers in being exhausted by all of the words, words, words being written about the 2016 presidential election. This past weekend certainly hit a new low, on many levels and to many people. I’ve read dozens of op-eds, social media posts, analysis articles and just plain rants. The American people of all ideologies are angry, impatient, vitriolic, disgusted and anxious. I find it likely that more has been written about this coming election than any in history. So is there anything more — or left — to say?

Yes. There has to be. Part of the reason that I do theater is because Shakespeare called on us to hold the mirror up to nature, which I interpret to mean that we must be a reflection of the world we live in. Because, impossibly, there are still voters who are undecided. There was some consideration of focusing this column from an arts perspective, and how these kinds of national events reflect what I do for a living; and there was some degree of that when I was running a scrappy little indie theater company in NYC, but I find it a much harder line to walk now that I run a large community theater in the Midwest. My job requires me to be extremely active in my community and I gladly work with people of all political and personal stripes. Though I am still an unapologetic and vocal liberal, living in this part of the country has challenged me to be more inclusive and compromising than when I lived in everyone’s favorite den of iniquity on the tiny island of Manhattan.

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And that’s ok. Because even the most conservative of my friends and acquaintances are disgusted by what they’re seeing from the GOP nominee; bigotry against Muslims, Latinx people, African Americans, LGBTQA, and the leaders of his own party, to say nothing of his recent direct threat to prosecute and imprison Hillary Clinton if elected. Obviously, things were taken to a fever pitch last weekend with the release of that abhorrent video of Donald Trump bragging about using his “celebrity” to sexually assault women. While many were shocked and disgusted by this display, I have to admit to only the latter. The GOP nominee has a long and well-documented history of saying incredibly terrible things about women and he has been investigated for sexual abuse more than once. (There’s also a case, pending right now, in which Trump is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl.) What’s perhaps more sad is the GOP leaders’ reactions to the video and the fact that it took such a video for a great majority of them to grow, purportedly, a conscience.

Because, impossibly, there are still voters who are undecided.

The ridiculous rejoinders from the GOP in which they speak of their various wives and daughters and granddaughters and mothers are a huge part of the problem. Why can they only express outrage in the context of someone who is genetically connected to them? Why is it so hard to simply be empathetic to women, a whole gender, to the victims of a man who marginalizes half of our society? Why is it so hard to view women as people, as contributors to the nation, as people deserving equal respect, as people undeserving of abuse and scorn from the other half of society? At first the GOP’s response had a ring of something admirable to it, finally vindicating the rumor that Republicans still have a heart somewhere. But in that heart is just more condescension, and unwanted and unnecessary pity, from a political party that has consistently marginalized the very people for whom they are “acting” outraged.

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I’m not surprised that people are fleeing from Trump in droves due to the tape. I am honestly surprised and downright furious that it took this for many of the leaders of the Republican Party to finally shame themselves into disavowing the nominee.

There really isn’t much else to say, in my opinion. Clinton is not perfect. But the choice is betwixt a bigoted, sexist, narcissistic, easily provoked, sexually assaulting man-child and an imperfect but experienced and intelligent woman who has devoted her life to public service. And, with the exception of my column before Nov. 8, that is all I have to say. Is there anything more to say?