During his excruciating State of the Union address, Donald Trump tried to use the plight of women, real and imagined, to promote his rightwing agenda. It was an exercise in Orwellian doublespeak.
As part of his racist attacks on Central American immigrants, Trump erroneously claimed that one in three female caravanista refugees has been sexually assaulted en route to the U.S. border. This notorious sexual harasser intoned about sex traffickers who “smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.”
Did Trump raise the humane response of opening the borders to survivors of domestic abuse, assault or harassment? Did he call for assistance and care for vulnerable immigrants? Hell, no! His only solutions are to mobilize soldiers and build a border wall. So much for assisting women in need. How cynical to use real-life trauma to sell a solution that will only add to women’s problems.
Trump’s speech also ramped up attacks on women’s most basic human right – control of their own bodies. Radical Women is appalled by Trump’s grotesque claim that allowing late-term abortion means healthy babies could be murdered minutes before or after birth. We challenge Trump to provide one instance of this ever happening.
Even a sea of congresswomen dressed in white to honor suffragist foremothers couldn’t shame this two-faced self-promoter. How dare he promise to end HIV in ten years when he has dissolved the federal Committee on HIV? How can he claim he wants to protect patients with pre-existing conditions, when his administration refused to defend the Affordable Health Act on just this issue? Instead of calling for combating climate change, Trump bragged about the U.S. being a top exporter of fossil fuels.
In Trump’s mind, the only thing needed to turn things around is for U.S. people to “choose greatness.” But his definition of greatness is great power and profit for the one percent. What about fairness and justice for government workers forced to toil for weeks with no pay, for women deciding when and if to have children, for immigrants fleeing starvation and violence, or for Trans people who want to serve in the military? Trump has no words for these folks.
Upping the volume of rightwing rhetoric, Trump revives the specter of political witch-hunts by proclaiming “America will never be socialist.” This redbaiting declaration was cheered by Republicans and Democrats alike. It is a threat aimed at leftists, unionists, Black Lives Matter supporters and anyone else standing up to the ever-increasing militarization of the police and the state.
But all is not doom and gloom. Across the U.S. and the globe there is a rising tide of women’s anger and activism. A wave of teachers’ strikes is revitalizing labor. Thousands of volunteers have flocked to the southern border to assist the refugee caravanistas. In New York City, the push for an elected civilian review board, led by Black mothers and activists with Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party, has gained serious momentum. From coast to coast, people are standing up to white nationalists, anti-Semites and racists. And Radical Women members are in the heart of the organizing and action.
Yes, there may be threatening times ahead as Trump encourages the forces of bigotry and reaction. But the far right is running into an angry, multi-ethnic, queer and straight, multi-generational wall of resistance. That is the true greatness!