On the unconscionable act of voting for Donald Trump

Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump delivers remarks during a rally at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Twp., Pa. on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. (Christopher Dolan/The Citizens’ Voice via AP)

There were plenty of reasons to vote against Donald Trump before yesterday. His bigoted criticism of a Gold Star family who lost their son, his trashing of venerated Mexican-American judge Gonzalo Curiel,  his outrageous call for a religious test for entering our nation, or his foolish praise for foreign dictators immediately come to mind. Granted, I am a liberal and very proud of it. I thought that, simply based on discourse and policy, Trump was already disqualified from holding our country’s highest office.

His remarks from 2005 which were revealed on Friday bring this man to a previously incomprehensible low. In the tape uncovered by the Washington Post, he does not simply admit to but in fact brags about sexually harassing and assaulting women. What gives him license to engage in such a disgusting act? The fact that he’s a “star.”

Thankfully, there has been an extraordinary upwelling in outcry about sexual assault on our college campuses and society at large in recent years.  This will, if there is any fairness, lead to meaningful reforms which will make the United States a place where a woman can feel just as safe as a man walking down the street, going to a party or frankly just going about their day. The progress has yet to be legislated outside of individual universities, but hopefully initiatives can be enacted which make it easier for victims of sexual assault to find justice.

Let us now imagine the fate of any such progress under the administration of President Trump, a man who thinks “you can do anything” with women if you’re famous. Can anyone honestly believe that this sick old man would try to protect or expand the rights of women in our country? Any assertion to the contrary becomes all the more laughable when his opponent in this election is a woman herself: someone who has spoken up eloquently about the subtle yet brutal oppression which is imposed on women.

I am a white man, and just because of that coincidence I have been given innumerable privileges in innumerable ways. Full pay, the way I am treated in the workplace and classroom, as well as exemption from the other myriad forms of sexism which exist in our society are just a few of the benefits which these privileges bring.  It is a terrible act unto itself to not recognize these privileges, but is absolutely heinous to abuse them as Trump and countless other thoroughly deplorable men across the country have.

So much of Trump’s support comes from a desperate, clawing attempt to preserve the unequal world that we are hopefully moving past. So much of his support comes from those enraged, consciously or subconsciously, at the prospect of women and minorities gaining the place in our society which they deserve. Although it should be impossible to empathize with such a position, failing to understand its roots is also to remain ignorant to its solutions.

My point, in sum, is this. Regardless of if you are a liberal or conservative, satisfied or furious with our political establishment, there remains a fundamental fact. If you have ever loved a woman as a mother, sister, daughter, girlfriend, or in any other way you are disgracing them by supporting a man like Donald Trump who openly and proudly degrades them.

Carl Costa is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached by email at carl.costa@uconn.edu.