Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee for the office of president of the United States, has stepped over a line.
In the Bible, there is a very familiar story about a woman who has been “caught in the act of adultery.” She is being taken to task for her indiscretion. The scribes and the Pharisees bring her to Jesus, and say, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say? The next sentence says they “said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him.”
That scripture always got to me because only the woman was called to task. Presumably, if or since she was “caught in the very act” of adultery, there was someone with whom she was committing adultery with. Where were the men?
Jesus proceeds to bend down and begin writing in the sand, and in my exegetical imagination, I have always seen him writing the names of men who might have also committed adultery with her – or with someone else. Nobody was beyond fault. As he writes the names, the scriptures say that they “went away, one by one.” Finally, only the woman was left, but she received no judgement from Jesus. He tells her to go and not to “sin” again.
When Donald Trump said today that women who get abortions should be punished, I thought of that scripture. The suggestion is outrageous, it is draconian, it is unjust …and it is sexist.
If women become pregnant by men – which they do – and a pregnant woman seeking abortion should be punished, then so should the man who impregnated her.
There is no more immaculate conception. Men are complicit, to say the least, in the condition called pregnancy.
Trump’s statement shows his bigotry toward women. If his antics to date have not been enough, then this suggestion ought to open the eyes of those who have been wooed and seduced by his “telling it like it is.” This man is a buffoon. He hasn’t given clear policies on much of anything, and he claims not to be a “politician,” but now, as the fire heats up and his statements about women are being showcased in negative ads about him, he is being the preeminent politician by saying things that he believes Conservative, religious women want to hear.
I wonder if he’s thought it through. I wonder if he understands that women who have abortions includes wealthy white women who are no strangers to abortion procedures. Is he advocating that they be punished too?
And I wonder if he has the chutzpah to talk about how men who believe in impregnating women and then leaving them to fend for themselves ought to be punished as well. Or if he believes that husbands of wives who decide they want an abortion should be punished, too?
Is this as sexist as it sounds?
This stance of Trump’s is pure reality TV. It is an act of manipulation to get those who are fascinated with him drawn in even deeper. His supporters are not thinking. They are tired and angry and just want things to change – and Trump is taking advantage of that fact.
But to stoop this low is bad, even for Trump. His bullying has been bad. His changing his story on issues has been bad. His inability and unwillingness to admit wrong, when he’s been wrong, and to apologize for even the appearance of impropriety …has been wrong. His xenophobia has been wrong. His lack of knowledge about what is going on in the world has been wrong. His desire to deport millions of Muslims has been wrong. His statement that he’s going to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it …has been wrong and ridiculous.
But to suggest that women who go through the pain and anguish of abortion is inhumane. His statement will give people an excuse to use their guns to shoot women seeking abortions; they don’t need much of an excuse. Such an action, were it actualized, would mean, most probably, that it would be poor, black and brown women who would be the primary victims, because rich, white women have always had ways to get around the system. Just as the War on Drugs was developed to criminalize the drug use of black people, (http://www.vox.com/2016/3/22/11278760/war-on-drugs-racism-nixon) this action would criminalize predominantly women of color, almost certainly.
Nixon got away with declaring his war on black people by declaring the War on Drugs. That action caused non-violent drug users to be criminalized. It caused their families to be destroyed. It affected their children. It ruined their lives …while white people using far more damaging drugs got away with it. There is a gathering at the United Nations in April of multi-faith leaders to protest and to encourage the replacement of draconian, punitive drug laws globally with drug policies which emphasize compassion, care and the health of those who use drugs. (http://www.unodc.org/ungass2016/) I would hate for women who seek abortions to be criminalized and marginalized even further than they are already, just as we work hard to get out of the destructive pit caused by the War on Drugs.
Such an asinine and inhumane as this one suggested by Trump ought not be allowed past the front door out of which it has stepped.
A candid observation …