Thursday, October 26, 2017

Those Who Can, Should

Dawn Staley feels rejected. She won't admit it, of course and you and I wouldn't either. The ex-superstar

and her champion South Carolina Gamecocks are still waiting for their invite to the White House.

“We haven’t gotten an invitation yet and that in itself speaks volumes,” the women’s basketball coach told The Associated Press in a phone interview on Friday night. “We won before those other teams won their championships. I don’t know what else has to happen.”

Staley said she isn’t even sure her team, which won the NCAA women’s basketball title in April, would go now if invited. The night her squad won the school’s first national championship, the Hall of Famer said the team would go to the White House because “it’s what it stands for. It’s what national champions do.”

However, the giveaway came when

that was before "some things," as Staley put it Friday night, “transpired over the last few months. I haven’t talked to anyone about it. I got bigger fish to fry than worry about an invitation.”

If someone says she has "bigger fish to fry" and (especially) "I haven't even thought about it," you know it has been gnawing at her.

But give Donald Trump a little credit here. At least in this instance, he has not been a hypocrite.  As compiled by Judd Legum, Mr. Trump has been accused of sexual harassment or assault by Ninni Laaksonen, former Miss Finland; Jessica Drake; Karena Virginia; Cathy Heller, Summer Zervos; Kristen Anderson; Jessica Leeds; Rachel Crooks; Mindy McGillivray; Natasha Stoynoff; Jennifer Murphy: Casandra Searles; Temple Taggart McDowell, former Miss Utah. It's a formidable list, but far less formidable than it probably would be had he not been elected.

Legum observes "when Trump became President, people stopped talking much about the numerous women who alleged he sexually assaulted them."  He is now the individual who- despite legislative proposals to remake the Supreme Court, repeal the ACA, end financial regulation, and give tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporations- embodies the hopes of the nation. If the President goads North Korea into war, we all go down.

Now that Trump is considered the most powerful individual on the planet, it is now understandably- albeit unfortunately- regarded as too risky to accuse him of something as serious as sexual assault. It is no coincidence that Harvey Weinstein was accused of little when he wielded serious power in Hollywood but now "it's hard," Rebecca Traister recognizes,"not to consider the circumstances, the years, the risks, and the work put in by so many to convince so many others to be able to come forward, and the fact that perhaps only a weakening of Weinstein’s grip permitted his expensive self-crafted armor to finally be pierced." Careers, even lives, were at stake, now not nearly so.

Nonetheless, much more than numerous careers is at stake in this presidency. Senators Flake, Corker, and McCain all have spoken out against the President's disposition, demeanor, and/or temperament in recent days. Two are retiring and the other may do so. Nonetheless, the predictable insults thrown at them by Donald Trump and his supporters, as well as the reluctance of colleagues to follow suit, demonstrate that the three guys have displayed a little courage.

Like Donald Trump, they are politicians- but none of them has risen in the field to the level of President. They are thus more vulnerable to criticism, taunts, and harassment than is an undisputed winner such as Dawn Staley. She is in a virtually unique position to condemn this President while being relatively invulnerable to counter-attack, and would receive an outpouring of suppor if she does.  Individuals and organizations will have her back, and if she does not have personal responsibility, she has an opportunity available to almost no one else. She should take it.

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