Instead of asking whether “locker room talk” sufficiently exonerates Trump, we must ask: why would men’s-only spaces ever possibly tolerate such violence as part of their cultural norm? Why is this imagined locker room in which men brag of their sexual violence allowed to exist?
When I look at Donald Trump, I see a nebekh. That is not to excuse the vile things he has said and done over the course of his life, and in particular during his presidential campaign. The shame of Trump’s life is that the people who were closest to him never told him the truth about himself.
So this is what it’s like to be a woman running for President of the United States. You share the stage in last night’s second debate with a man who just days before was heard joking on tape that he forced himself on women, kissed them without permission and described their bodies in vulgar terms, and he’s allowed to justify all this as mere “locker room talk.”
Since I was a young child growing up in a liberal Jewish household, I was taught that we Jews should oppose bias and discrimination and violent hatred against others because we know what it’s like when it happens to us.
The holiest day of the Jewish year falls less than a month before the most anticipated date on the 2016 political calendar. Oct. 12 is Yom Kippur, and Nov. 8 is Election Day.
So when rabbis speak from the pulpit to their largest audiences of the year, what are they going to say about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?
While it may make us feel good, or even smug, to say that we’re better than Mr. Trump, to do so would miss the point of this time of year. Our reaction to Trump’s candidacy, instead, is an invitation to look at our own actions, as individuals and in Jewish community. What if we saw him not just as a man who evokes hatred and fear, but as a walking talking wake-up call, a big orange shofar reminding us to get our own houses in order?
Singling out people in a crowd at a political rally, based on their faith or lack of faith, even as a joke, is unacceptable