DO RIGHT, WOMAN! – A TRAVESTY IN TWO ACTS
BY A.H. SCOTT, COPYRIGHT 2019
So, as bad as Trump is, the female ‘himpathizers’ who coddle and collude (oh, yes, that word I shall use) with him in the debasement and depression of women’s liberties are the conniving canines feasting on the bones of other women.
When the most powerful man in the world, The President of the United States of America publicly humiliates, shames and heaps scorn upon women with such damning satisfaction in tone and timber; then, only one conclusion becomes most apt.
I guess it could be chalked up to this; what happens when a pompous politician and misogynist is actually one in the same.
This is a step far beyond just male chauvinism. No, this is an insidious tide of creeping hatred and control that certain men in power express in their words and actions that affect every person.
To hear a person that is called out for being (pick your poison, pick your choice) and responding back as saying:
Well, some of my best friends are…
Well, my Mother is a woman…..
Then to my way of thinking, we got’s a helluva problem! It’s not your circle of buddies, or the woman who gave birth to you. This is another kettle o’ fish all together that I’m stirring up.
Cornell University professor of Philosophy, Kate Manne has unpacked the issue of misogyny in her book titled, “Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny”(18), published by Oxford University Press in 2018. In her book, Kate Manne argues that misogyny is the controlling, policing, punishing, and exiling of the “bad” women who challenge male dominance.
Having coined the term ‘himpathy’(19), Manne explains the level of alignment some men have in giving an overarching empathy for a man in a position of power whenever it comes to dismissing a woman’s accusation. Furthermore, they are often met with misogynistic hostility and may be characterized as pushy, shrill, nasty, or abrasive, among other possibilities.
Doesn’t that word ‘nasty’ sound like one which is favored most by a certain man in the Oval Office? Oh, most definitely he uses it like a clinging safety blanket to make himself feel all that more superior to that certain type of woman who doesn’t behave the way he wishes.
Manifesting that ‘himpathy’, is not just for another man in some cockeyed need of a life preserver being tossed for a face-saving salvation, but Donald Trump’s own hunger for self-control, silencing, and self-maintenance of an oh, too precious ego.
And, THIS is what I mean with that unmistakable vibe coming from that cadre of misogynists – “Do right, Woman!”
Yet, any woman worth a grain of salt will never be silent. And, as for yours truly, my salt shaker is shaking as is my upheld fist shaking in a righteous rage.
Okay, okay; before anybody gets their hackles up and pushes back with putting forward that he has a great cheering squad when it comes to women. You have to ask yourself the question of exactly which women they are.
Some wonder why certain women support him. Well, it damn sure isn’t because he’s singing from the hymnbook of sunshine, candy hearts, and chivalry.
I guess there are many reasons why some women support him. Then again, it also depends on which groups of women they actually are.
There are the ones who are seated at the table and the ones that are the servers. In the catbird seat are those taking their heralded spot in bringing a certain cache of influence to the tantrum twit. As for those who serve the table, they bring their votes to re-elect the rampagin’ ruffian from Queens.
And, yes – the women who will do anything to stay in his good graces are also clawing to keep the status quo for themselves. So, as bad as Trump is, the female ‘himpathizers’(20) who coddle and collude (oh, yes, that word I shall use) with him in the debasement and depression of women’s liberties are the conniving canines feasting on the bones of other women.
To shine the spotlight beyond the man in the center ring of this Cirque de Callousness, one must take a look at some of those females who jubilantly clasp onto his torch of incinerating the aspirations, rights, and franchise of other women.
One of which is the Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey.
As an ‘ethical’ woman, Governor Kay Ivey can say ‘it is what it is’ with that demure Southern grace in reaction to a Presidential tirade in her state over NFL players, mostly African-American who decide to take a knee as a sign of protest against racism, and then add the fact of Alabamians being ‘patriotic’(21) to boot.
Well, patriotism isn’t the catch-all for constructing a false narrative for freedom of speech; just like Kay Ivey’s catch-all of draping herself in Christian values as a victory banner for protecting freedom of religion(22).
In her walk of faith, I wonder if doing a denigrating ‘blackface’(23) skit exemplifies her set of beliefs. But, I digress and let the black paint she smeared upon her face at Auburn University’s Baptist Student Union tell the dirty truth for itself.
Alas, what makes this Governor of a Southern state most despicable in a signing the most restrictive abortion law(24) in America, is that she is a woman.
But then again, it goes back to getting into what kind of woman(25) Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and other supportive ‘himpathizers’ of Donald Trump are.
An increase in donations(26) from women to his 2020 campaign have shown a propensity of being non-phased over the nauseating portrait this man proudly displays day in and day out.
Then there are the women in positions of permanence, whether serving formally or informally. Be it from a think tank, networking activism to a solidified union of duality in both the Administration and the bliss of marital ties. They are the 365 Ladies that will always land on their feet in being graced with the tainted glitter of appeasing a cruel leader.
Of course, there are the women that trot out before the cameras with coquettish compliance in defending the crumbs discarded from his golden throne; in an act that would make Ira Levin chuckle in concurrence.
Presidential counselor, Kellyanne Conway and the former White House Director of Strategic Communications, Mercedes Schlapp (current Trump 2020 aide) have been the faces of serenity under the careful care of 24/7 news cycles, which most of us have seen or heard as they’ve defined, diverted, defended and deflected on behalf of Donald Trump.
Kellyanne Conway and her husband, George are well known Washington figures, as are the up and coming ‘it couple’(27) of Mercedes and Matt Schlapp, whom by the way is the chair of the American Conservative Union.
Propagandists tell of ‘alternative facts’(28) surrounding a puny inaugural size and an imagined ‘massacre’(29) to shift criticism over a Muslim ban(30) with steadfast backbone and a straight face. Along with Conway’s tongue-twisting word salad, are Schlapp’s defense of a cruelest(31) of comment aimed at a then gravely ill Arizona Senator John McCain and proclaiming the compassion(32) of the President in the face of a ruthless chant; proves each of their breathless cravenness in the swamp that is Trumpland.
In the chorus of the Trumpettes, there is also press secretary for re-election Kayleigh McEnany, who calmly says that a man who lies as easily as he blinks his eyes doesn’t ‘lie’(33) to the American people.
But, for me what is a whopper of a defense for the lies of this man is from White House Director of Communications, Stephanie Grisham, who explains his untruths in some sort of jujitsu way he ‘communicates’(33), which comes off so unorthodox that it obscures his ‘love for this country’.
Well, then if anyone takes what is said by them earnestly, the next logical conclusion is; up is down, black is white, and the gas-lighting has taken all of our common sense, sanity and sight.
In comparison to those that propose lines of falsehoods and outright lies to the public which seems most corrosive; are the policy pushers who are far more destructive than any doe-eyed diva that peddles the party line of pabulum.
Under the radar and in the shadows of the spotlight’s glare, are some within the administration that are in the process of reversing progress on issues involving primarily the breadth of women’s hard fought rights.
Policy pushers are the stealth steamroller in Trump’s misogynistic offensive against the legislative infrastructure that has been built up brick by brick over many decades.
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” – Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, United States of America(34)
Taking a brief glance at three women who have a seat at the table of cache are Trump cabinet secretaries Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos.
Lastly, the third person on this brief list of influencers is Dr. Diane Foley. Now, there is a name many people are probably not too familiar with. Well, I’ll get back to telling you about her a bit later.
First woman in the Trump lineup is Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation.
Having been Secretary of Labor in the administration of George W. Bush and now current Secretary of Transportation, no one will deny that Elaine Chao is a very accomplished woman. Saying that, she is not above being taken to task for her performance when it comes to the intersection of varied interests.
Being married to Majority Leader of the United States Senate, Mitch McConnell, Elaine Chao and her husband are one of the nation’s most prestigious couples. Hooray for love!
Yet, that same prestige holds the keys of conflicted interests that have the power to affect the balance of fairness to anyone who isn’t granted the seat at the table which the Secretary of Transportation holds.
Pet projects for her husband’s state of Kentucky have been prioritized in getting almost $78 million (35) in grants, as a she’s designated a ‘special liaison’ through her position as Secretary of Transportation.
Whiffs of other conflicts of interest seem to touch upon things that are all in the family for Secretary Chao and her husband, who have proficiently advocated for the Trump administration’s tax bill; not boasting publicly that a transformation of the tax code into a territorial system would benefit her family’s foundation and shipping business.
Never disagreeable in public, Elaine Chao has a consistent ability to brush off the dismal disposition of her boss and rise above it all.
Take for example, when Secretary Chao remarked to reporters after Donald Trump spoke about ‘fine people on both sides’, she later quipped at that same press conference in the lobby of his gilded NYC tower that “I stand by my man..(36)” which she then gave brief pause and added, “both of them”. At the time between the first five words before that pause, some wondered which man; Her President or Her Husband?
She wasn’t repulsed in the moment of his heartless equivocation and did not resign. She did the old soft-shoe and quipped to reporters when asking her thoughts on what was said by President Trump.
To be honest, it didn’t matter which of the two men she stands by, because she sure as hell wasn’t standing with Heather Heyer(37) or anyone else of us who treasures progress.
I’ll applaud in giving it to the women of this administration on their ability to definitely remain consistent. Yep, they are consistently vicious in standing behind lurid leadership from out of that top office.
In moving onto the next lady in the administration’s lineup, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, I’ll start by taking you back a ways on how her feelings for the man who hired her have changed with the title she possesses at this moment in time.
I guess DeVos’ description back in 2016 as Donald Trump as him being an ‘interloper’ who ‘does not represent the Republican Party’ (38) is irrelevant now, for now as President of the United States of America, everything he says, is and does is the Republican Party.
Betsy DeVos is HIS Secretary of Education.
Part of the permanence class, Betsy DeVos and her family have a long history of ‘investing’ in a fostering of a conservative philosophy with an emphasis on smaller government and that nebulous term ‘traditional American values’.
Funny thing when some people talk about limiting the size of government, they are the ones first in line who have their hands out for a position or financially flourishing arrangement with that same ‘bloated’ government.
In her own words involving opposition to reforming campaign finance spending, Betsy DeVos unashamedly admitted what she desired in exchange(38) for putting more than a few coins in the cans of needy candidates.
The United States Department of Education oversees that federal civil rights law known as Title IX, which Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been in the rapid process of reversing (39) policy guidelines, including the cancellation of supportive policies of affirmative action, disabled, and LGBTQ rights.
Enacted in 1972(40), Title IX was an addendum to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It has been one of the pillars of progress within the past century.
Although most of the times when the subject of Title IX has been in the media spotlight when it comes to the field of sports, the actuality of the law is far more expansive than beyond athletics. This includes the area of sexual assault and harassment, in which cases before the Supreme Court have been ruled as each being a form of discrimination based on sex.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ proposals and processing of guidelines are not moving us forward, but propelling us backwards through the decades of institutional gains.
Trump’s turgid tide is more than just a mumble, grumble or multiplicity of rambling howls leveled towards any woman he furiously wishes to crush.
If only it were that simple to ignore what he says and just shrug it off for the sake of his having freedom of speech as we all do.
Yet, when those words come from a President’s lips and actions signed by his pen transform into statutes that will take some of us back to the past; then that’s when truth has to rise and reveal.
Beyond the person in the Oval Office, there are members of the Administration who are running parallel in that race of regression of regulations, which happen to mostly affect women.
When an ideology encroaches on another person’s autonomy then those solemn footsteps of oppression begin to march upon us.
Now, let me introduce you formally to Dr. Diane Foley. As deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Foley(41) is in charge of the Office of Population Affairs.
Before you start to snooze off when hearing about this somewhat stealth cog in the Trump Administration’s governmental bureaucracy, I would advise you to STOP and WAKE UP to realize the programs which the Office of Population Affairs runs in distributing federal grants across the country.
I, as a woman who was already awake, is more woke now than I was before the moment that hand of his was placed on that bible on January 20, 2017.
Cacophonies come and cacophonies go, but one thing which the current man who sits in the Oval Office has done is turned on the flashing red light of warning to the Constitution and the uprooting of democratic principles.
Public Law 91-572, comes under the direction of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
But, you may wonder what a stale and staid code could possibly have to do with the attempted reversal of autonomy for women in the United States.
Although, its’ official name is Public Law 91-572, it is more broadly recognized as Title X.
Title X is the Family Planning Program, which was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon in 1970, as part of the Public Health Service Act.
Noted at the time when he signed this piece of legislation, this Republican president praised the bipartisan support for this bill. Yes, it was THAT Richard M. Nixon who was the man who placed his signature onto parchment.
In fact, the beginnings of the aspects of this program went back to 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, providing assistance to low-income families in need of birth control with federal subsidies.
Title X’s services allow reduced and no-cost access to those uninsured or at a lower scale of income, with an overall purpose to promote positive health outcomes.
A vast array of services distributed under funding through Title X include sexual education, counseling, treatments and screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV); as well as screenings for breast and cervical cancer.
Birth control, pregnancy diagnosis, and pregnancy counseling are also under the umbrella of areas covered under the program.
There is one aspect of family planning which opponents of a specific procedure cling to with a virulent extent on the verge of obsession.
A B O R T I O N!! – And, that’s the word that rings the blaring bell of ideology in such a Pavlovian pitch from the aforementioned Dr. Diane Foley.
Publicly, when it goes to the subject of abortion, the name of a single entity comes to the forefront. Yet, in reality, Planned Parenthood is legally prohibited from using any federal funds for abortions.
“Many politicians still act as though the top threat to our national security is Planned Parenthood”- Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, United States of America(34)
Any abortions which Planned Parenthood, Planned Parenthood Affiliates or their associated clinics provide are privately funded.
Now, that’s where the policy, politics, and essence of ideological extremism intertwine in the implementation or cessation of grants.
Dr. Diane Foley controls the Title X program and has the discretion in deciding which organizations and groups are given the federal grants.
Going a little deeper on who Dr. Foley is, takes a turn down the road of her background of being the former president of Life Network, which is an operator to a pair of crisis pregnancy centers.
Colorado-based, Life Network has a mission statement on their website which includes the following: ‘life affirming alternatives to abortion’.
They call themselves ‘pro-life’, while I consider them ‘anti-choice’.
We all can believe whatever we wish based on whatever reasoning; from religion to science, or maybe nothing at all. But, to clasp a legal right from another adult is smothering that other person’s choice to do whatever they wish to do with their own body.
In that vein, those who operate crisis pregnancy centers (otherwise known as CPCs)(42) are only posing as health providers. Yet, they do not provide effective family planning, even including birth control. Or, have only non-medical staff on the premises.
Life Network prioritizes abstinence only sexual education, while leaving the full spectrum of sexual information out of their talk they give to needy women who come to them for assistance and counseling.
Private beliefs of a private citizen are one thing; but, when those same beliefs of a public person in the position to control policy and the federal funding for an essential program of health services for women and men, then that borders on something tiptoeing towards a theocracy(43).
In a 2016 speech at Charis Bible College, Dr. Diane Foley remarked on the subject of abortion with this: “a battle that is happening in the heavenly realms that Satan doesn’t want to lose.”(44)
Being appointed in 2018, Dr. Foley did not have to go through the process of being confirmed by the United State Senate, which would have had given her views extensive, public scrutiny.
Dr. Diane Foley’s extreme views were raised forward by United States Senator from Washington Patty Murray(45) in a letter(46) to fellow Senators, when she was being appointed to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.
What is revealed by a memo(47) prepared by the Democratic staff of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee are some of Foley’s beliefs; such as seeing everything through “a biblical worldview,”(11-memo) to making unfounded conclusions about women who have had abortions, as to ‘shut down their emotions and become very cold and unapproachable’”.(13-memo)
You probably figure as a virulent opponent of abortion as Dr. Foley is, she would be a rejoicing cheerleader for women to place children born from an unplanned pregnancy up for adoption. But, oh you don’t know Diane. She believes adoption is ‘a double death’; not based on reality, but her thinking of the ‘interruption of a parent’s plan’ and the adopted child feeling ‘abandoned’. (24 -memo)
In 2019, she is now the person who is final arbiter of doling out the entirety of Title X funding for all persons who participate in this vital program.
It is an example of when misogyny and policy mix into an elixir of debasement, brewed from a caustic well of inflexible ideology.
And, it just happens that a woman is the tool or in this case the straw of bitterness which stirs the cocktail of poison which other women will have to swallow or remain parched in maintaining any droplet of dignity and governmental rights.
“Show some respect for me” – Aretha Franklin
Those five words are contained within a classic melody from 1967 titled “Do Right Woman”, which came to my mind when I began to write this article. As the unexpected dichotomy of The Queen of Soul’s heartfelt grace and the occupant of the White House’s depravity of any shred of gravitas peppered my psyche, a sole punctuation took the stage.
With the use of a comma between the three words of ‘Do Right Woman’(48), that hymnal reverie of Aretha Franklin’s angelic voice singing lyrics of a Chips Moman and Dan Penn penned song, the tone of this travesty in motion is re-imagined in an acrid aria of male orthodoxy with my title of “Do right, Woman!”
For me, those lyrics held in this spiritually affirming tune means so much beyond anything on an envisioned scale of a romantic back and forth of her to him or him to her; but for how we all as human beings should have that mutual bond of respect for one another. Because, if we don’t exchange and confer that equal level of parity within the human family; then we will sink in a morass of our own disillusion.
For those lacking the compunction within their heart and the touch of humanhood isn’t in your soul, as if you feel that you can’t meet the mutuality; then I’ve got one thing I’d like to leave you with – just go and tweet ya’ self!
18-Oxford University Press, “Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny” -https://global.oup.com/academic/product/down-girl-9780190604981?cc=us&lang=en&#
19-Brett Kavanaugh and America’s ‘Himpathy’ Reckoning –https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/opinion/brett-kavanaugh-hearing-himpathy.html
20-‘Himpaathy’ Is A Societal Illness, But At Least We Have A Word For It -https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2018/09/30/himpathy-is-a-societal-illness-but-at-least-we-have-a-word-for-it/
21-“It Is What It Is”: Governor Kay Ivey on Alabama, Roy Moore, and Donald Trump -https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/it-is-what-it-is-governor-kay-ivey-on-alabama-roy-moore-and-donald-trump/
22-Kay Ivey: Putting Faith First – https://www.alreporter.com/2018/04/06/opinion-kay-ivey-putting-faith-first/
23-Gov. Kay Ivey Apologizes For Appearing in Racist Sketch -https://amp.montgomeryadvertiser.com/amp/2154394001
24-Guttmacher Institute – https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2019/03/surge-bans-abortion-early-six-weeks-most-people-know-they-are-pregnant
25-Alabama Governor Kay Ivey Is Just the Latest White Woman To Advance American Misogyny – https://www.qz.com/1620691/alabama-abortion-law-kay-ivey-and-the-white-women-for-trump/amp/
26-Trump Is Finally Catching Fire With Female Donors -https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/14/trump-campaign-women-donations-1319877
27-Meet the Schlapps, Washington’s Trump-Era ‘It Couple’ – https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/30/us/politics/schlapp-trump.html
28-Kellyanne Conway Defends White House’s Falsehoods as ‘Alternative Facts’ -https://www.time.com/4642689/kellyanne-conway-sean-spicer-donald-trump-alternative-facts/
29-That MSNBC Interview Was Not the First Time Kellyanne Conway Referred to the “Bowling Green Massacre” – https://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a8674035/kellyanne-conway-bowling-green-massacre-repeat/
30-Establish A Ban on Muslims Entering the U.S. – https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/trumpometer/promise/1401/establish-ban-muslims-entering-us/
31-5 White House Staffers Leak Details of Meeting About White House Leaks -http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/05/white-house-staffers-defy-huckabee-sanders-on-leaks.html
32-Trump Campaign’s Mercedes Schlapp Says Trump Is Not A Racist – https://www.newsweek.com/trump-campaigns-mercedes-schlapp-says-trump-not-racist-trump-tweets-new-attacks-congresswomen-1450369%3famp=1
33-The Trump Team is Now Lying About Lying -https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/29/politics/donald-trump-kayleigh-mcenany-stephanie-grisham/index.html
34-Madeleine Albright: My Undiplomatic Moment -https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/13/opinion/madeleine-albright-my-undiplomatic-moment.amp.html
35-McConnell’s Wife Gave Him a Special Reelection Present: $78 Million in Federal Funding – https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/06/mitch-mcconnell-elaine-chao-kentucky/
36-Elaine Chao Is a Stealth American Nightmare – https://www.splinternews.com/elaine-chao-is-a-stealth-american-nightmare-1825893029/
37-Man Who Killed Heather Heyer at Charlottesville Sentenced to Life – https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/heather-heyer-james-fields-charlottesville-murderer-859182/
38-Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Big-Donor Education Secretary – https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/betsy-devos-trumps-big-donor-education-secretary
39-Assessing Betsy DeVos’s Proposed Rules on Title IX and Sexual Assault -https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/assessing-betsy-devos-proposed-rules-on-title-ix-and-sexual-assault
40-Public Law No. 92 318, 86 Stat. 235, Cornell Law School – https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1681
41-Health and Human Services Leadership – https://www.hhs.gov/opa/about-opa/leadership/index.html
42-Trump’s New Head of Family Planning Is an Anti-Choice Extremist – https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wjbpnm/diane-foley-crisis-pregnancy-center-title-x
43-Remarks by Dr. Diane Foley, Charis Bible College, September 15, 2016 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgYZ63dXlWM
44-Diane Foley, Trump’s Title X Chief, Suggested Abortion Is “A Lot Like” Slavery – https://www.bustle.com/p/diane-foley-trumps-title-x-chief-suggested-abortion-is-a-lot-like-slavery-the-holocaust-9682619
45-President Trump’s Ideological Appointee –https://www.help.senate.gov/ranking/newsroom/press/murray-help-committee-staff-raise-alarm-about-president-trumps-ideological-appointee-overseeing-family-planning-program
46-Diane Foley/DASPA, Dear Colleague Letter -https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4575632-Diane-Foley-DASPA-Dear-Colleague-07052018.html
47-Update on President Trump’s Appointments at HHS: A Dangerous Direction for Women’s Health –
48-“Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”(Billboard Magazine) -https://www.billboard.com/music/aretha-franklin/chart-history/
About The Author: A.H. Scott is a poet based in New York City and frequent contributor to Tony Ward Studio. To read Act 1, go here: http://tonyward.com/a-h-scott-do-right-woman-a-travesty-in-two-acts/