John Whitehead's Commentary
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
“I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don’t know why. My nightly bloodlust has overflown into my days. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip.”—Patrick Bateman in American Psycho
When it comes to sexual predators, there should be no political bright line test to determine who gets a free pass and who goes to jail based on which candidate is better suited for office.
Yet almost 20 years after Bill Clinton became the first and only sitting president to be sued for sexual harassment and impeached for lying under oath about his sexual escapades while in office, the Left and the Right are still playing politics with women’s rights.
I should know.
As one of Paula Jones’ lawyers in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill Clinton (Hillary Clinton infamously and erroneously accused me of being part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy”), I saw first-hand how quickly Hillary Clinton and the nation’s leading women’s rights groups demonized any woman who dared to accuse Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct while turning a blind eye to a long list of incidents involving groping, propositioning, and pressuring women for sexual favors.
Trust me, it was a very long list.
As journalist Marjorie Williams documented in “Clinton and Women” for Vanity Fair:
“The man in question [Bill Clinton] has been sued for sexual harassment over an episode that allegedly included dropping his trousers to waggle his erect penis at a woman who held a $6.35-an-hour clerical job in the state government over which he presided. Another woman has charged that when she asked him for a job he invited her into his private office, fondled her breasts, and placed her hand on his crotch. A third woman confided to friends that when she was a 21-year-old intern she began an affair with the man… Actually, it was less an affair than a service contract, in which she allegedly dashed into his office, when summoned, to perform oral sex on him… Let us not even mention the former lover who was steered to a state job; or the law-enforcement officers who say the man used them to solicit sexual partners for him; or his routine use of staff members, lawyers, and private investigators to tar the reputation of any woman who tries to call him to account for his actions.”
I also witnessed first-hand the hypocrisy of the Religious Right, which was eager to stand in judgment over Clinton for his marital infidelity, while at the same time turning a blind eye to the indiscretions of other conservative politicians in their midst.
Fast forward 20 years, and the women’s rights groups that were silent when Bill Clinton was being outed as a sexual predator have suddenly found their voice and their outrage in the face of accusations that Donald Trump groped and kissed women without their consent. Likewise, the religious groups that were aghast over Clinton’s sexual immorality have somehow created a sliding scale of sin that allows them to absolve Trump of his own indiscretions.
It’s like being in the Twilight Zone.
Only instead of Rod Serling’s imaginary “land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas,” we’re trapped in an all-too-real land of politics and lies, where freedom and integrity play second fiddle to ambition and greed.
Nothing is real.
This year’s presidential contest and its candidates have, through their double-talking and lies, pulled back the curtain to reveal that what we see is all part of an elaborate hoax, a cruel game where “we the people” are just pawns to be used, abused, discarded and demonized when convenient.
Consider if you will: Bill Clinton was accused of using various and sundry women for sex. For years, he lied about his affairs and accused his accusers of smear campaigns. Only when caught red-handed, did he finally admit—sort of—to having sexual relations with certain women. At no time did he ever apologize for abusing his authority and disrespecting women.
Trump not only is accused of making sexual advances on various women, but he also used Clinton’s sexual victims to score points off Hillary.
And Hillary, in turn, has used and abused both Clinton and Trump’s sexual victims in order to advance her own political ambitions.
As Melinda Henneberger and Dahlia Lithwick wrote for Slate back in 2008:
Hillary Clinton the candidate has largely benefited from her husband's extracurricular activities… Sure, her husband's behavior has humiliated her. But she has also helped him humiliate the women he's been involved with… One of the most troubling things about Hillary Clinton is that she is never above cashing in on [the politics of victimization].
Are you starting to get it yet?
All this talk about sexual predators is just so much political maneuvering to score points off one another. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump care one whit about the victims of sexual harassment.
Frankly, they don’t seem to care much about the rest of the populace, either.
For all intents and purposes, we’re all victims of a perverse, perverted, psychotic mindset that views the citizenry as lesser beings: lacking in value, unworthy of respect, and completely undeserving of the legal rights and protections that should be afforded to all Americans.
In other words, we’re all Paula Jones. And Gennifer Flowers. And Juanita Broaddrick. And Kathleen Willey. And Eileen Wellstone. And Cristy Zercher. And Connie Hamzy. And Monica Lewinsky. For that matter, we’re all Jill Harth. And Cassandra Searles. And Jessica Leeds. And Kristin Anderson, too
This is what happens when politics is allowed to trump principle: “we the people” lose.
The women’s movement lost when it chose politics over principle, then and now.
Women have been suffering because of that choice ever since. As feminist Jessica Valenti acknowledged in the Washington Post, “For women in America, equality is still an illusion. We’re basking in a ‘girl power’ moment that doesn’t exist—it’s a mirage of equality that we’ve been duped into believing is the real thing. Because despite the indisputable gains over the years, women are still being raped, trafficked, violated and discriminated against—not just in the rest of the world, but here in the United States… It's time to stop fooling ourselves. For all our ‘empowered’ rhetoric, women in this country aren’t doing nearly as well as we’d like to think.”
The Religious Right lost when it chose politics over principle, then and now.
By compromising their values, they have made themselves completely irrelevant in matters of public policy. “As an organized and potent force in national politics, the Christian right has faded into nothingness,” policy analyst Paul Waldman concluded for the Washington Post. “It now exists for nothing more than to be patted on the head and sent on its way with an encouragement to vote in November.”
The media—through its careful crafting of news stories to advance one politician over another—chose politics over principle, then and now. Barring a few exceptions, they have become little more than mouthpieces for the corporate elite.
The citizenry is faced with a choice right now: to be distracted by mudslinging and circus politics or to forge a new path for the nation that rejects politics in favor of locally-based, transformative grassroots activism.
“Perhaps you think that by voting at least you’re doing your small part, making your small contribution. But contributing toward what?” asks commentator Dan Sanchez.
Candidates are package deals. Any candidate will violate the rights of some, even if they respect or defend the rights of others. Objectors say it’s about going in the general right direction, making choices out of which the good outweighs the bad, that do a net amount of good, that is good “on balance.” But that is collectivist speak. There is no “good on balance” for the people whose lives are run over by the candidate you empowered: for the child who is bombed by Hillary’s foreign policy, for the man who is shot by Trump’s police state, or the people Gary Johnson and Bill Weld kept in cages when they were governors.
Sanchez is right: the act of voting is indeed futile.
Voting in this political climate merely advances the agenda of the police state and affirms the government’s pillaging, raping, killing, bombing, stealing, shooting and many acts of tyranny and injustice.
Mark my words: no matter who wins this election, the predators of the police state will continue to wreak havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives.
After all, police officers are still shooting unarmed citizens. Government agents—including local police—are still being armed to the teeth and encouraged to act like soldiers on a battlefield. Bloated government agencies are still fleecing taxpayers. Government technicians are still spying on our emails and phone calls. And government contractors are still making a killing by jailing Americans for profit and waging endless wars abroad.
Are any of these issues being discussed right now? Not a single one.
It boggles the mind.
How is it possible that out of 318 million Americans in this country, we have been saddled with two candidates whose personal baggage and troubled histories make them utterly unfit for office anywhere but in the American police state?
We need to stop being victimized by these political predators.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, I’m not just talking about the ones running for office, but the ones who are running the show behind the scenes—the shadow government—comprised of unelected government bureaucrats whose powers are unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and beyond the reach of the law.
Stop voting for their puppet candidates. Stop tolerating their long list of abuses. Stop making excuses for a system that long ago ceased to be legitimate. Most of all, stop playing by their rules and make them start playing by ours.
My fear is that we are nearing the point of no return.
“We the people”—men and women alike— have been victims of the police state for so long that not many Americans even remember what it is to be truly free anymore. Worse, few want to shoulder the responsibility that goes along with maintaining freedom.
Yet as John Adams warned, “A government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”
There is no way to erase the scars left by the government’s greed for money and power, its disregard for human life, its corruption and graft, its pollution of the environment, its reliance on excessive force in order to ensure compliance, its covert activities, its illegal surveillance, and its blatant disdain for the rule of law.
Still, we can forge a new path.
There is so much work to be done in order to right what is wrong with our nation, and there is so little time to fix what has been broken.
Let’s not waste any more time on predator politics. Let’s get to work.