Oh, where to begin? The Access Hollywood tape, the pre-debate exploitation of Bill Clinton's victims, and the second debate itself. The mind reels! It's become a feeding frenzy, and pundits on both sides are imploring all of us to get back to the real issues.
But I'm going to take one more look anyway.
From the debate:
COOPER: ... We received a lot of questions online, Mr. Trump, about the tape that was released on Friday, as you can imagine. You called what you said locker room banter. You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?
TRUMP: No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was — this was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.Wait -- what? "No, I didn't say that at all. I don't think you understood ,,,"
Now, Trump is not denying that he said the words. Indeed, he freely admits it. No, it's worse than that. When he mansplains the concept of "locker room talk" to Anderson Cooper, what he's really saying is this: "No. What I described on that tape isn't sexual assault."
Of course, he's wrong, but here's the thing. Let's assume for a moment that it was just talk (not that Trump deserves that concession). Let's see what happens when Trump and Bush get off the bus.
TRUMP: Hello. How are you? Hi.Billy Bush, whom we've just heard giggling uncontrollably at Trump's "banter," becomes the aggressor. Having learned from Trump how real men act, but without the confidence of the Donald, Bush first offers the young actress to Trump for a hug and then, in one of the creepiest lines in the whole tape, takes her for himself. Yes, he asks permission, but I doubt she felt free to refuse.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: Hi Mr. Trump. How are you? Pleasure to meet you.
TRUMP: Nice seeing you. Terrific, terrific. You know Billy Bush?
BUSH: Hello, nice to see you. How are you doing, Arianne?
ZUCKER: I’m doing very well, thank you. [To Trump] Are you ready to be a soap star?
TRUMP: We’re ready, let’s go. Make me a soap star.
BUSH: How about a little hug for the Donald? He just got off the bus.
ZUCKER: Would you like a little hug, darling?
TRUMP: Okay, absolutely. Melania said this was okay.
BUSH: How about a little hug for the Bushy? I just got off the bus. There we go. Excellent. Well, you’ve got a nice co-star here.
ZUCKER: Yes. Absolutely.
TRUMP: Good. After you. Come on, Billy. Don’t be shy.
No, it isn't rape. But it is rape culture, which is deeply symbolic of gender inequality.
And gender equality, my friends, is a real issue. Those of us who have fought rape culture since the 1970s -- hell, since the beginning of time -- have no intention of leaving it behind.