In my home city of Cleveland, Ohio, yesterday Donald Trump received the nomination to run as the Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 election. While we were on an upswing following the Cavaliers NBA championship and have been highlighted as “Believeland,” the nomination of Trump is another disappointing and health hazardous event that can be added to the reasons Cleveland is sometimes called “the mistake on the lake.”
There are so many reasons to be angered by the nomination of Trump; his blatant racism and bigotry, incitement of violence, ignorance of domestic or foreign policy, his insistence on discussing his penis size, and the list goes on. With the recent tragic murders of Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile, and eight police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Sterling’s 15 year old son has called for us to come together as “one united family” and end the violence. Trump on the other hand, capitalized on their deaths as a way to highlight his “law and order” campaign and argue that Obama and Hillary Clinton are weak.
We’ve seen time and time again that Trump is unable to articulate anything meaningful in relation to his ability to fulfill the role of POTUS and his hateful rhetoric is influencing the ongoing violence in our nation. Critical points are being made about an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Latino, pro-white supremacy Trump; however, I am concerned that appropriate attention is not being given to the anti-woman sentiment of Trump and the GOP in general.
Oppressions are deeply intertwined and must be uprooted together. And so, the misogyny that exists within the Republican party must also be acknowledged as problematic.
Trump has certainly been condemned for his statements about women; however as a whole the Republican party is focused on a campaign that is anti-woman and ordained by God. My question is why are many much more willing to acknowledge racist and bigoted statements, but often turn a blind eye to the repeated right wing attempts to over turn Roe vs. Wade, defund Planned Parenthood, and regulate women’s sexuality in the name of religion?
Despite the fact that we are a secular nation, the Republican Party has claimed Christianity as a weapon against women’s human rights and it has been accepted as fair game in the world of politics. Trump’s argument, along with Gingrich’s and others that we should create tracking systems or ban Muslims from coming into the nation has been immediately recognized as racist, ethnocentric, and fear mongering (and rightfully so). But attempting to control women’s bodies and send us back to biblical times, well, it is something that many shrug their shoulders at and call a reasonable political issue.
All forms of oppression need to be addressed; you cannot uproot one, you must uproot all. And so, if we are to properly address the bigoted statements coming from the Republican nominee, and booming through Cleveland at the moment being, we must acknowledge the complexities of these issues, the ways they are intertwined, and why all are unacceptable.
Gina Messina, Ph.D. is an American feminist scholar, Catholic theologian, author, and activist. She is also Co-founder of Feminism and Religion. She writes for The Huffington Post, has authored multiple publications and is the co-editor of the highly acclaimed Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay. Messina is a widely sought after speaker and has presented across the US at universities, organizations, conferences and on national platforms including appearances on MSNBC, Tavis Smiley, NPR and the TEDx stage. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives women around the world. Messina is active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing. Connect with her on Twitter @FemTheologian, Facebook, and her website ginamessinadysert.com.