I’ve been totally train-wreck-watching the GOP primary race as Donald Trump runs gleefully roughshod over any expectations of human decency we once pretended to expect out of politicians. I keep thinking that maybe people just haven’t noticed yet that his entire worldview, and political perspective, is a melange of racism, misogyny, greed, fearmongering, and general hatred for people who were not born white and male in the United States of America. Like, maybe the fact that he is a one-stop shop for all things reprehensible–things which we used to at least pretend to find distasteful–just hasn’t been recognized yet. Like. Somehow, maybe people just don’t realize what’s happening. Because, honestly, I can’t respect people if they think he has anything to say that’s worth not telling him to shut the hell up about, much less worth listening to. People can’t be that crazy, can they? That disrespectful? That gross?
But, then, yesterday, I took a look around.
The offices of RentBoy.com, here in New York, were raided yesterday, and the CEO and six other employees were arrested on multiple charges, basically for running a business that enables “illegal prostitution.” Leading the charge? The Department of Homeland Security. I’d thought, previously, that DHS was set up primarily to keep our homeland safe from threats, but I must have been wrong, since I fail to see how a business that connects people with male escorts and which enables those escorts to work safely on their own terms and at their own rates is a threat to America. DHS apparently doesn’t need to prove that RentBoy is hurting our country–they only need to teach those who would seek profit from the sale of companionship a lesson: that sex work is bad. And to toss thousands of sex workers into deeper shadow and murkier territory, leaving them at higher risk of all the bad things that prostitution supposedly gives rise to when it’s illegal and unregulated. Nobody cares that RentBoy was making things better for the vast majority of the people who used it. Nobody cares that what those people were doing was safe and consensual. Just like the people behind BackPage needed to be taught a lesson, and the people who used it to make money needed to be sent back to the shadows from whence they came, vulnerable to financial, physical, and sexual attack. They needed to be punished because sexual shame.
Meanwhile, we the public are gleefully scrolling through information on the identities of Ashley Madison users, layering shame and judgment upon those who sought sex outside of their established relationships. Because sexual shame is fun!
And all the while, trans women, especially trans women of color, are being murdered at such a high rate that Laverne Cox has called a state of emergency. Most of these murders seem to have been committed just because those women existed and lived their truths. But very few people know their names or have even heard about this.
And condom-mandatory legislation in L.A. continues to send the porn industry further toward the drain it’s been circling for years, decentralizing the entire industry and making it that much more difficult to practice safely and legally.
Women’s bodies are the site of an ongoing culture war that shows no sign of letting up as Planned Parenthood bears the brunt of yet another ridiculous and unfounded attack.
Shell is about to start drilling in the Arctic and nobody is talking about it.
Native people in America and Canada are opposing oil pipelines vehemently, physically, and nobody knows about it.
Schoolchildren across America are going back into public schools that may tell them that God created the universe and that having sex before marriage is like turning yourself into chewed gum, and nobody is changing that.
So much is so messed up.
And I realized, it’s not that people don’t see Donald Trump for what he is. It’s that nobody cares that a hateful troll of a man is in a better position right now than almost anyone else to become the leader of the industrialized world.
I’m going to go get a drink.