Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Rise of Fascism in the United States-Post Trump Election
The Rise of Fascism in the United States
In the aftermath of the unruly election and the debacle of Trump’s ascendency to the highest office in the land, this represents the public repudiation of decency and respect for women. Throughout his campaign he referred to women in derogatory terms and physical evidence was presented about his sexual assaults on women. However, like a flashback to the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, the victims of his sexual harassment, were treated as criminals.
As a child, I was acutely aware of my lower status as a girl, but I concentrated on being studious and working 20% harder than everyone else at every job, such was my desire to live an independent life. I was grabbed and groped in vocational agriculture class and the teacher did nothing, because he wished I wasn’t there. These humiliations and many others were something I endured because I knew no one would intervene on my behalf. I believed in women’s rights and the promise of equality. I went to “college night” in my rural high school alone, riding my bicycle 10 miles on rural roads. When I approached my parents about my desire to go to college, my father suggested I consider secretarial school. But I was undaunted, I used my own money (I started working and paying into the Social Security system at age 13) and bought a greyhound bus ticket into the twin cities and attended my college admissions interview alone. Of course, I was accepted, what higher education institution wouldn’t include someone who wanted an education so fiercely? When I was in college, I marched for the ill-fated Equal Rights Amendment, with a Spanish girl I was mentoring. Note to Phyllis Schlafly (RIP), your shared bathroom fear failed, as they are called family bathrooms and are wildly popular today.
I obtained my first full-time job for Prudential, because they were under court order to integrate their sales forces with women. Of course, I was paid less than the men, but this was a strategic error on their part, because I always made my goals, making it hard to get rid of me. I regularly received notes from the regional manager, Bill Friedman on my performance. This was in the face of a sexist division manager, Claude Cosseau, who refused to put my legal hyphenated name on my business cards. His boss, Albert Tarabini, insisted on treating all women as ciphers and all “decision makers” were deemed to be male. When I did not agree with the sales manager, Greg Freitag’s aggressive tactics in a client interview and suggested a better approach I was admonished with, “What is wrong with you-is it the wrong time of the month?” I do recall that the men of color were particularly supportive, especially Juan Barrios.
Later, when I began my career in the employee benefits field, I was the first female account executive for the firm, an atmosphere which included a level of inebriation at corporate events equaled only by the Russian landscape. In one particularly humiliating situation, one of the account executives told a graphic joke about fellatio in front of a senior executive and me. As the only female executive in the firm I had to grin and bear it. I was propositioned by married executives in the firm, but this was practically an everyday thing in the business world. So, I left this firm for another one, which paid better.
As I became more successful in my field and exerted leadership for business development, this gained attention, but for women this is always the double-edged sword. I was ultimately fired for questioning my male manager’s approach to the implementation of a customer management system. Still having plenty of moxie, I took the firm to court and was awarded a modest settlement for discriminatory practices and wrongful dismissal. I used that money to start my own firm, which I ran for nearly nine years, until I decided to work on healthcare reform.
As a single mom, I attended a top ten public university, one of the best schools in the world, to prepare myself for advocacy and healthcare improvement work. Subsequently, I have slaved away for over a decade, mostly for free, researching and providing unbiased useful healthcare information for everyday people, in the hopes this will inform better decision making. In my upbringing, I was taught that to pursue a higher calling, regardless of compensation was a good and just thing. However, it appears the tide has turned against the elevation of humanity and self-interest is the only currency that matters.
Though I would like to say that girls can be anything to which they aspire, this has been tempered by the election of a misogynist to the presidency and it would be wise to explain to your daughters, nieces, and sons what that word means, as women like me have lived it our entire lives. My son, raised by a single mother, like Presidents Clinton and Obama is all too aware of the hatred and opportunism toward women having witnessed it throughout his life. So, to those who think that it is only women who suffer from this bilious resentment, don’t forget their children. And this is the healthpolicymaven signing off with a heavy heart. Feel free to share this article with people who value civility and have not given up on the tattered democracy of the United States.