Jenna Martin

Pulling focus: Letting the immorality of Trump (and Barnaby) slide

(Mary Altaffer)

The extra affairs of our politicians seems to pull our focus. In the case of Trump, I saw it’s time we stop feeding him.

 

 

I don’t know if you heard, but the President of the United States is embroiled in a sex scandal. No, not that one, another one. No, no, not that one, another one.

I know, it’s hard to keep track. It’s also hard to keep caring, though the commentators will try, exasperating in op-eds about whether this is the one that finally sends him packing. (Spoiler: it isn’t)

It never is. And it likely never will be. If everything he has allegedly done – pissing on prostitutes, flagrant pussy grabbing, countless extramarital affairs – amounts to just a storm(y) in a teacup, clearly his ridiculous sex life isn’t gonna oust him. So, what do we do? Give up? Quit the angry op-eds, the hashtag revolutions and wait for him to just self-combust? Accept that he’s probably here for good – or at least, for the next 962 days? In the name of self-care should we treat Trump like the twitter troll he truly is? Block him, delete him from our lives and pretend he doesn’t exist?

That’s one tact. My mother takes a different one. She amps up, devouring Sky News, CNN and even – occasionally – Fox, just for a chance to get angry. She’ll wait for a story about Trump to come on – she never has to wait long – and will pepper the report with “Piss off”, “Drop dead, you twit!” and other equally incisive insults. Watch out, Donny T, my mother is pissed and she isn’t afraid to tell you about it. But as angry as she is, she won’t switch off. She keeps watching. Is my mother, with her benign outrage, gesticulating wildly with the remote in one hand and a piece of Vegemite toast in the other, more on the money?

I think she is. To a point. We need to remain angry, we just need to direct our anger to the right place. We shouldn’t ignore Donald Trump or any other leaders in the hope that they’ll go away. We shouldn’t ignore Kim Jong-un. Or Rodrigo Duterte. Or any of our own local loonies.

But we should ignore their sex lives.

We have Married at First Sight. We have The Bachelor. And we have people on Gogglebox talking about Married at First Sight and The Bachelor. Isn’t that enough when it comes to partner-swapping, infidelity and kooky sex? Do we really need to obsess about Donald’s bedroom antics – or worse, Barnaby Joyce’s? I once saw Barnaby eating alone at Golden Century in Chinatown and lemme tell you: the way the man lapped up a bowl of hot and sour soup at 2am told me everything I needed to know about how he conducts his sex life.

Similarly, there is nothing Donald Trump could possibly do which would surprise or shock me. I just don’t care anymore. I take it as gospel that Trump is a Grade-A Sleaze, a rampant douchebag, a top-shelf asshole with staggeringly – or, to use a word he enjoys – tremendously outdated ideas about sexism, feminism and gender equality.

I concede, however, that whilst I’m sick of hearing about it, the commentary has served a purpose. The realisation that a man could exhibit the worst kinds of misogyny and still reach the highest office in the land is beyond disturbing, but Trump’s rise (euphemism intended) is, more than anything else, directly responsible for where we are today. Harvey Weinstein may have been the boiling point, but #MeToo and #TimesUp started cooking with Trump. Trump made people furious and this fury galvanised women the world over. It’s because of Trump that sexual predators are being rounded up from the bathroom to the boardroom. It’s because of Trump that women (and some men) who have spent too long living in terrified silence have finally trusted themselves to speak their truth to a world ready to hear it.

But we don’t need him anymore.

We’ve got enough fire in our bellies now to keep going on our own. Let’s stop giving Donald and his dick oxygen. We get it: he’s a degenerate. Continuing the commentary is like beating a dead horse. The horse may still have an erection, but trust me, it’s dead. It’s time to take a different tact: ignore it. Focus on the stuff that actually matters. Because, as much as we’d all love to just block him out, he is the President of the United States. Even for us Down Under, the decisions he makes on the White House dunny on Twitter at 3am have the potential to affect our lives when Australia opens for business at 9am.

We can’t just block and delete. We should keep going with the angry op-eds. We should keep talking about his response to Russia, and immigration and trade and women’s issues and foreign policy and race relations and how he devours personal advisors like a uni student who has smoked a bunch of joints and stumbled into a sushi train.

But his sex life, past and present? The revolving door of hookers and models and reality show contestants and TV presenters he has supposedly been with, usually while he was with someone else? Let it go. The accountability of his wives in what they knew or didn’t know or what they pretended not to know? Forget about it. Trump’s treatment of the women in his life speaks to a larger problem about how he views women in general and yes, that is concerning. But there is so much that is concerning when it comes to this man, so much that is unpredictable and terrifying and borderline psychotic, that we must keep a close eye on. His sex life? He’s an aging, overweight billionaire with a comb-over: his sex life is the most boring, predictable thing about him, just as it is the most predictable thing about most of our power-hungry public figures.

And our fascination with them is distracting us from the truly dangerous shit they’re getting away with.

 

Jenna Martin

Jenna Martin is a writer, producer, dog lover, red wine enthusiast and author of Driving Under The Influence. (Which may or may not be based on her own life and her enthusiasm for red wine)

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