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Hats off to ya!

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 25, 2017 01:30 pm

I really wasn't going to write about those marches of millions of women in Washington and a bunch of other cities (including Fort Wayne). I stopped paying much attention to PDO's (public displays of outrage) a long time ago, and, besides, it can become tiresome trying to carefully write around something so it passes muster in a family newspaper. OK, a blog, but a blog on behalf of a family newspaper. Yes, it's the headgear. You know. The kittycaps. The felinefedoras. The tabbytoppers. The p-hats. Those silly pink things.But then a story came along that I just couldn't pass up. Don't see how anyone could: 

Left Twitter is saying white, college-educated feminists in specific, and reams of American women in general, are white supremacists. Why? For connecting vaginas and women. You might say women and vaginas are inherently and inseparably connected, but stop being so transphobic before someone commits suicide.

Yes, the trans community is complaining that the women's march, which was billed as a pro-choice feminist event, represented a "genital based" feminism that sent a "clear and oppressive message" to trans women, especially: having a vagina is essential to womanhood." 

You know, I think it  kind of is. Call me old-fashioned.

I think the trans community's desire to be included in the festival of hate might be just a little misguided. The women (the biological ones, that is) in the marches loathe and despise President Trump with every fiber of their being. They believe his words and actions show he has a degrading approach to women that cannot be tolerated. (Why they don't feel the same way about Bill Clinton is an interesting question, but probably irrelevant here.)  But when it comes to issues involving sexual identify and behavior, Trump may be the most latitudinarian president we have ever had. He has always been in favor of gay marriage. (Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, remember, were against it until day before yesterday.) He said he doesn't give a damn which bathroom Caitlin Jenner uses.

Now that I'm on the subject, I wonder if the p-hat march is a temporary thing that will soon fizzle or something that will last longer and have a real effect. There were three million of them, and the eruption was organic and mostly spontaneous, so the phenomenon really shouldn't be ignored or dismissed.

Scott Adams (the "Dilbert" creator and chronicler of Trump's Master Persuader powers) has an interesting reason for thinking  the thing is temporary:

When Donald Trump ran for president he put his clear, simple message on the front of bright red hats. The message was perfect. The choice of a hat instead of a t-shirt or other garment was perfect. The color red was perfect for his message – bold, sexy, and important. The hats were a master class in branding and influence. Political historians will be referring to Trump’s hats for ages.

Compare that to the Million Woman March. They chose pink because – I assume – it is a bit of an ironic color for women who are fighting for their rights. Women are "owning" pink to rob it of its power to brand them as the so-called weaker sex. At least that’s why I assume they picked pink.

[. . .]

Colors influence people directly and irrationally. Trump’s red hats spoke of power and certainty and sex. That’s what red gives you.

Pink gives you the opposite. Pink will lower aggression and make you want to cuddle with a kitten. That’s what the studies say. So pink is not a fighting/protesting color if you want to keep the base energized.

I’m also having a hard time figuring out what the pink-hat people are protesting about that they don’t already have. I understand that abortion is in the mix. But the hats seem to have some sort of generic anti-Trump message that to my mind is conflated with an anti-alpha-male vibe. It’s a confusing message and not completely positive. 

[. . .]

If you are the new President of the United States, and you see hundreds-of-thousands of protesters marching in the streets, what do you do? Well, in most cases you would treat that as the nation’s top priority. You don’t want it to escalate to social collapse. I can think of only one scenario in which such a large and vocal movement should be ignored until they run out of steam. That rare situation is when the protesters all wear pink hats. You can pretty much ignore that movement. It will fizzle out on its own. Unless they get better hats.

Commentary magazine's John Podhoretz, on the other thing, think this might not only be a movement with staying power, but perhaps the start of something bigger, like the Tea Party was for the conservative movement:

The Tea Party was about Obama’s rapid expansion of the size of the federal government and the fear of a growing Leviathan. That simple fear proved the perfect accelerant for various actions that led to the anti-Obama wave election of 2010. The existence of a grass roots movement encouraged serious candidates to take up the task of running for Congress in what had seemed a bad period for Republicans—the movement provided money, volunteers, and a core enthusiasm for the task. If Democrats can use the Women’s as a comparable accelerant to recruit candidates, particularly for the House, who have real connections to the Republican districts in which they are running and can frame their bids as a means of stopping Trump from working his will with an all-Republican Congress, they might really have something here.

Of course, Podhoretz is a die-hard NeverTrumper, so we have to take that into account. And Adams isn't exactly a Trump advocate, but he's got a lot invested in having figured him out before everyone else did, so we should probably consider that, too.

I think it's anybody's guess (and mine are usually lousy), but I probably lean more Adams' way. The Tea Party people weren't just against Obama, they were against Big Government by anybody, including establishment Republicans. There were a lot of new people in that movement who had never gotten much involved in politics before, and their enthusiasm re-energized a lot of conservatives who had been involved but gotten tired of the fight. I'm guess most of the women in this movement have already been involved in politics to some degree or other — the great majority of them voted and probably for Clinton. So they don't bring anything new to the existing equation. 

Whether they can stay passionate and committed enough long enough to draw in some of that new blood Podhoretz is talking about, we shall see. A lot probably depends on whether a majority of the American people end up liking or disliking the stuff Trump does as president. A movement needs supporters as well as troops.

Anyway Trump already knew (or at least should have) that he has only a two-year window when he's guaranteed to get mostly his way before the midterm elections of 2018 and a possible loss of the GOP majority in one house or the other.. Nothing after that is a given, so he'd better get as much done as he can. President Obama probably thought he had all the time in the world, but that two-year window was all he got. Considering how divided we have become, maybe that's all any president will get from now on.


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