"You can’t be negotiating billion-dollar deals if you can’t handle, like, you know."
Said Donald Trump Jr. in the middle of some chatter on "The Opie and Anthony Show" back in 2013.
Just reading the quote — under the HuffPo headline "Donald Trump Jr: Women Who Can’t ‘Handle’ Harassment ‘Don’t Belong In The Workforce’" — I thought it was awful. Naturally, I linked "harassment" to Trump Sr.'s "Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything." I imagined Trump Jr. saying women who want to be in the billion-dollar-deals workplace need to put up with pussy-grabbing and other forced, physical intrusions.
But I listened to the audio...
... and I think that they are talking about the kind of sexual harassment claim that is based on rough language — jokes and remarks with sexual content — and the photographs of naked women that might get displayed on some guy's computer screen.
At some point, speech and the display of pictures in the workplace really can properly be seen as creating unequal conditions for women in the workplace, and people who care about that equality should want to think about where that point is. There are also freedom of speech interests on the other side. "The Opie and Anthony Show" isn't a good place to display your knowledge and thoughtfulness on this subject, and that's why it might be a good idea not to indulge in this kind of banter if you're going to get involved in politics.
I'm inclined to shrug this one off. It's years ago, it's Trump's son, and it's casual banter. I'm most uneasy about the idea that women are being too fussy and therefore should stick with jobs that are already designed to accommodate female sensitivities. That's bad, but I can imagine a decent person who might just blurt that out.
I'd like for it to be possible for a free-speaking, real person to run for office. When I've found Trump (Sr.) appealing, it's because it has seemed that he'd broken down barriers and shown that it is good to speak expressively and to come right out and say the things it had seemed we weren't supposed to say. About a year ago, I had a dream in which I thanked him for showing that we don't have to be so repressed.
But at some point, these things accumulate, and you think: That's too much. And yet: Be careful. When a person has opponents, and they know these things accumulate, they can dribble out one thing after another and cause you to think it's too much. There are just so many things! But the things, individually, may, on careful inspection, be nothing. A lot of zeroes are not a lot. They're still nothing.
With Trump, the things are not all zeroes, and we may be so fed up that we don't care enough anymore to look closely to see what is really a zero or close to zero. If so, we empower the dribblers.
They can dribble anything now.