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Lower And Lower

Just when things couldn’t seem worse: Pussy-grab for president


American Underpants | by Anna Minard

Somewhere, in some multiverse alternate timeline, I’ve never heard Donald Trump say the word “pussy”.

I would like to live in that world. But apparently, I’m living in this one, where my brain has now been forced to archive the exact leering, nasty cadence of a pompous businessman bragging to a giggling compatriot about the joys of grabbing women’s genitals because he’s a “star”.

For approximately the thousandth time during this election cycle, what had seemed like the hard, dirty floor of political discourse was revealed to be a false bottom, and we all learned we had much further to fall.

We’re probably still falling — this news cycle in particular has gone so far afield it seems impossible to pause and write about it, because we have no idea what direction we’re headed next. I attempted to write this column many times already. As you can imagine, it went something like:

THURSDAY: “Da-da-daaaa, almost done explaining this poop-show to our mapley neighbors, can’t wait for the weekend…”
FRIDAY: “What’s that, Twitter? There’s a what? A video of — Ahem. Standby, Great White North. I must rewrite.”
LATER FRIDAY: “[collective American wailing and gnashing of teeth]”

Let’s be clear. It is not a shock that Donald Trump, who has said and done many more disgusting things, would sit in the back of a bus with another smarmy white man and talk about women as if they were objects to be appraised, grabbed, handled, owned. Nor would it be altogether shocking if more vulgar, more offensive video or audio existed, as the Internet rumors are trumpeting. This is a candidate whose morning-show appearances include vows to commit war crimes, whose campaign rhetoric has been patently racist and xenophobic, who likes to do mocking schoolyard impressions of his opponents on camera, at the podium. Yes, he is likely an even more hideous person in private than he already is in public.

But there is something to be said for the bracing experience of watching and listening to the display — and even more so, watching and listening as Republicans who thought they could grin and bear his candidacy have to grapple with something they can’t explain away as out of context, or misconstrued, or distorted by the lamestream media lie machine.

This is the real presidential race and one of the first questions to a candidate in Sunday’s debate was “You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”

During the debate, Trump answered a Muslim town hall attendee’s question about Islamophobia by saying that American Muslims should report on their neighbors. (Specifically, he said, “When they see hatred going on, they have to report it,” which led many people, Muslim and not, to report that hey, they did indeed see some hatred going on, right on a televised debate stage in St. Louis.)

He said if he were president, he would throw Hillary Clinton in jail. I guess because while he’s tried on a lot of dictatorial fashions, he hadn’t quite gotten to “publicly threaten to jail your political opponents” yet, and he saw it in the catalog and thought it looked fun.

He even told us that you, dear Canadians, have a “catastrophic” “disaster” of a health-care system, and that you’ve been coming down here to have all your surgeries. Cheeky!

That debate, while darkly funny in retrospect, was physically painful to watch.

Regardless of your opinion on her political positions, Clinton has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to public service and a complex understanding of national and international politics. She’s served as a U.S. senator and the secretary of state.

I watched a creepy businessman stalk around behind her, glaring and sniffing — a man so offensive he’s been denounced by candy (Skittles and TicTacs, if you’re counting), a man who cannot construct sentences, let alone a cohesive foreign policy. And my body responded with adrenaline, and fear, and nausea.

This is the feeling of being injured. That’s a body’s response to a fear of real pain, of real harm. Regardless of the outcome of the election, that harm is happening already, and we’ll need to mend it.

I guess what I’m saying, Canada, is that we need a hug. Which is yet another thing America’s health care system doesn’t cover.

Anna Minard thinks Canadian medicare is neat. Follow her on Twitter: @minardanna.