Lady Liberty, Weeping in the Dark

For a few hours last night, the Statue of Liberty was cloaked in darkness. Some saw it as a mere unremarkable power outage, others viewed it as painfully ironic social commentary sent straight from the heavens. The timing could not have been more apropos, coming on the eve of International Women’s Day as well as the hotly debated A Day Without A Woman strike.

I do not know what caused the blackout, whether a group of rogue National Parks workers risked their jobs in the name of resistance or if the Lady herself could no longer stand to face us. Either way, the haunting ambience of the billowing dark engulfing one of our most revered symbols of justice and safe harbor for all who seek it was chillingly evocative. If that sight didn’t give you goosebumps, I have to wonder if you’re fully alive.

To mark this day I was going to just post a quick, glib quote highlighting what our current President has to say about women, but of course things are never that simple. I try to verify things before I post them (I know, it’s a crazy concept of accountability that apparently no one has ever taught Donald Trump), but this always leads me from article to article, my disgust with this sickening man simmering until it cannot be contained.

So instead of a throwaway quote, you’re getting a full examination of the twisted way he operates. It begins with this:

“You have to treat women like shit.”

Could he possibly have really said this? In print? He’s usually at least more carefully dodgy in his statements to reporters. I dug deeper and found out the quote is attributed to a 1992 article in New York Magazine.

Later, in a 1994 interview with ABC’s Nancy Collins, Trump would deny saying this:

Collins: Let’s talk about women. Your feelings toward them seem conflicted, even chauvinistic, confusing since you adore and respect your mother so much.

Trump: I have great relationships with women, my mother, Ivana, Marla, my female executives are better than the men: tougher, smarter.

So why in 1992 did you tell a writer for New York Magazine, Marie Brenner, that ‘You have to treat women like shit” — ultimately pouring a bottle of wine down her back?

I didn’t say that. The woman’s a liar, extremely unattractive, lots of problems because of her looks.

That statement is exactly why women think you’re a chauvinist pig.

They’re right — and not. People say, “How can you say such a thing?” but there’s a truth in it, in a modified form. Psychologists will tell you that some women want to be treated with respect, others differently. I tell friends who treat their wives magnificently, get treated like crap in return, “Be rougher and you’ll see a different relationship.”

So, to be clear, while denying ever saying you should treat women like shit, he actually goes much further in outlining exactly how he treats women like shit. It’s kind of gobsmacking. And it serves to show the deeper issue he seems to have with females. I’ve heard the argument from his supporters that he obviously likes women, he has them working for him, he lets his daughter run his businesses. That’s the thing with misogyny. It doesn’t mean you hate all women all the time. In his case, it seems that he reveres a certain type of woman- the ones who fit a narrow definition of outward attractiveness while also being useful to him in some way. These are shiny baubles he can possess, measuring his conquests like exotic animal carcasses mounted on the wall for display.

If you fall outside of his preferences or you dare to defy him, you’re no longer human, you’re back to being meat.

I’m going to post some hard things now, hard to read and hard to carry on your soul. If you’re one of his ardent supporters who still somehow believes Donald Trump cares about women, you really need to read and absorb this.

You may have read in passing about the many rape and assault allegations leveled against him. Most aren’t taken seriously because he’s managed to slither out from under them with the help of his crushing cadre of lawyers. I’m just going to focus on the statement from Ivana Trump, given as a sworn deposition during their divorce proceedings. If you haven’t actually read it, you should.  Here is a description of the events from the 1993 book Lost Tycoon:

After a painful scalp reduction surgery to remove a bald spot, Donald Trump confronted his then-wife, who had previously used the same plastic surgeon.

“Your fucking doctor has ruined me!” Trump cried.

What followed was a “violent assault.” Donald held back Ivana’s arms and began to pull out fistfuls of hair from her scalp. He tore off her clothes and unzipped his pants.

“Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is terrified… It is a violent assault. According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”

Following the incident, Ivana ran upstairs, hid behind a locked door, and remained there “crying for the rest of night.” When she returned to the master bedroom in the morning, he was there.

“As she looks in horror at the ripped-out hair scattered all over the bed, he glares at her and asks with menacing casualness: ‘Does it hurt?’”

Now, again Trump denied these claims. Yet when you look into his denial, what he actually claimed was that he didn’t rape Ivana, because a woman could not be the victim of rape from her spouse.

It’s been reported that she recanted her story, but her actual statement doesn’t change the facts of what happened, she only clarifies “During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me on one occasion during 1989, Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage. As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

However, their 1990 divorce case was granted on the grounds of Donald’s “cruel and inhuman treatment” towards Ivana and as part of the settlement she is under a gag order that does not allow her to speak about him without his permission.

I could go on and on, but I’m going to stop there. The thing is, I understand that no recounting of his words or vividly horrifying description of his actions is going to sway most of his supporters. I may not understand why, but I GET that they simply don’t care. It’s this weird cognitive dissonance that allows them to say “hey, he’s never ripped chunks of MY hair out and rammed his penis inside of me. He’s not a bad guy!”

It’s sad when even a statue seems to understand what breathing, thinking human beings do not. I imagine the rage and grief of all the women this sick fuck is supposed to represent, channeling through the towering body of Lady Liberty, coursing through her stony veins with such power and fury that it blew the goddamn lights out.

And in the darkness, for a moment, she allowed herself to weep openly for what we have become.