Editorial: The straw that broke the elephant’s back


The circus that is this election season began more than a year ago, and the final act is quickly approaching. Republican nominee Donald Trump is leading the prized elephants and continually leaving metaphorical droppings behind him in the form of inflammatory comments.

Trump, who actually seems to be riding the elephant instead of leading it, has been supported by some and loathed by others. This hatred has in part come from his repeated, disgusting comments toward women. These comments are not appropriate on any level from any human, let alone someone running to be commander in chief.

His comments go above politics and beyond a resistance toward political correctness — they are downright disrespectful, regardless whom they are directed toward.

This may be Trump’s first election, but it isn’t his first circus. For years, he created waves on his reality show, “The Apprentice,” and he’s no stranger to the spotlight or to controversy.

In 2005, Trump made lewd and sexist comments about women during a conversation with “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush. “Grab them by the p—y,” Trump said. “You can do anything.”

The tape of these comments, which was released Friday, has created a firestorm in which online activists have said this sort of discussion perpetuates rape culture. Trump defenders have fired back that this is just locker room talk. His defenders say he shouldn’t be held accountable for something he said 11 years ago, even though he was a grown man at the time. 

Is this the straw that will break the elephant’s back?

It doesn’t seem like it, but it does seem as though these comments have received much more attention, especially on social media and Twitter in particular, than his previous comments.

He called former Miss Universe Alicia Machado “fat.” He suggested debate moderator Megyn Kelly was menstruating because she asked him difficult questions. He suggested opponent Carly Fiorina was too ugly to be elected president.

While these comments drew criticism, they hadn’t led to any public officials to withdraw their endorsements of the candidate. With this in mind, it’s surprising that a recently surfaced 11-year-old video has led to Sen. John McCain, Rep. Jason Chaffetz and several other elected officials to rescind their endorsements.

One reason for the sudden withdrawal of support may be that Republicans see this as an excuse to finally speak out against the candidate without alienating those who support them. Not many Latinos vote Republican, so Republicans who support Trump don’t lose votes there. But roughly 50 percent of voters are women, and it would be political suicide to alienate all of those potential supporters. These withdrawals, however well intended, are too little too late.

Another reason may lie in the idea that it is more likely that a larger group of individuals take these comments to heart. If you are not Mexican, you may not be particularly offended by him calling Mexicans rapists. Maybe you’re fine with him calling Machado fat because she is in the beauty industry. Maybe you can’t empathize with Miss Universe because she is Latina and you are not. 

The comments in the newest video, however, hit home because everyone in this country is either a woman or knows a woman. His newest comments are even more lewd than his previous comments. It is more likely that individuals are offended by his “Access Hollywood” comments because more than half of the population consists of women. 

While this is true, Republican men have tweeted they do not condone the comments because they have daughters and granddaughters. Jeb Bush tweeted, “As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump’s reprehensible comments degrading women.”

While his comments were in fact targeted at women, the logic that the reason one cannot support them because a man has daughters misses the heart of the issue. You should not condone his comments because they’re oppressive and sexist and a terrible thing for a person to say about another person, regardless of their gender.

Trump’s comments go beyond politics. From one human to another, these comments should never be condoned.

Trump has been perched on top of an elephant whose legs are slowly buckling with each inflammatory comment. Regardless of how the circus ends, comments like these should never be accepted. This is not a case of “boys will be boys.” These comments are unacceptable from one human to another. 

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