Last week, Donald Trump was caught on tape acting like the man we’ve always assumed he is. However, due to the uncontrollable vagaries of network news programming, the story took a little longer than usual to make it to air. Something on the order of 11 years.
But, as luck would have it, it was broadcast just as Trump happened to be running for president. Why? Because politics. And this is reason #33,001 why people hate politics. Now, we all get to pretend.
We get to pretend that we’re shocked—shocked!—that a classless, vulgar, billionaire braggart, who has spent the better part of three decades making guest appearances on the sexually explicit Howard Stern Show, would ever brag about matters sexual to someone else in a behind-the-scenes setting.
We get to pretend that distasteful locker-room talk on a bus equates to proven sexual assault.
We get to pretend that all women everywhere—living, dead or fictional—are at risk of imminent attack by Trump.
We get to pretend that Bill Clinton having actual sex in the Oval Office with an actual intern less than half his age was part of his private life and had absolutely nothing to do with his fitness for the presidency, but Donald Trump talking about sex 11 years ago on a bus irrevocably and forever disqualifies him for the presidency.
Further, we get to pretend that, despite a forceful lie about the Lewinsky affair and then a casual admission when DNA evidence forced a confession, every other one of the many allegations against Bill Clinton of rape, sexual misconduct and consensual affairs is nothing more than inarguable evidence of the incendiary hatred the vast right-wing conspiracy inexplicably harbors for the indecently innocent Man from Hope.
We get to pretend that it’s just pure, unadulterated coincidence that Chelsea Clinton looks exactly like Webb Hubbell and nothing at all like Bill.
We get to pretend that this October surprise isn’t an October surprise that isn’t politically motivated or politically timed.
We get to pretend that some NBC facilities worker just happened to stumble across the tape while digging out the network’s Halloween decorations from a filthy U-Store-It in Hoboken.
Further, we get to also pretend that the tape wasn’t inside the NBC news division’s vault ensconced within a hyperbaric chamber labeled “In Case of Tight Race Break Glass”.
We get to pretend that Billy Bush deserves to be fired—11 years later—for not responding to Trump’s lewd comments by gasping in horror, then Tasing, handcuffing, and water boarding him before placing an emergency call to the National Organization of Women, as per NBC corporate policy.
And, because we pretended all these other things, we get to clothe ourselves in sanctimony like a semen-soaked blue dress and pretend that we can scarcely go on with our lives after struggling to come to terms with the crushing enormity of the biggest political scandal ever to rock this nation.
Said the easily rattled Michelle Obama, openly campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire because the fate of the free world hangs in the balance:
I can’t stop thinking about this. It has shaken to me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted. So while I would love nothing more than pretend that this isn’t happening and come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to just move onto the next thing like this was all a bad dream. This is not something we can ignore.
This is not something we can ignore, because to do so would require us to ignore it. Which is impossible. Never in the history of politics—or men—has something so heinous, so despicable, so laden with words and so devoid of actual action been uncovered. Our normally predictable cores may never stop being shaken!
Yet, somehow, drawing from her deep reserve of sheer womanly will, the First Campaign Surrogate was able to power through her debilitating, inescapable case of the vapors long enough to add:
We have a candidate for president of the United States who over the course of his lifetime, over the course of this campaign, has said things about women that are shocking, so demeaning. I simply will not repeat anything here today. Last week, we actually saw this candidate bragging about sexually assaulting women. I can’t believe I’m saying that, a candidate for president of the United States bragged about sexually assaulting women.
Notice the masterfully manipulative sleight-of-tongue that attempts to time-shift Trump’s comments 11 years into the future. Just last week we actually saw Trump bragging about this! Back in 2005! And I can’t believe I’m saying what I’m saying! Twice! Somebody stop me before I repeat again what I will not repeat!
But before concluding, and against all odds, Michelle inadvertently let slip a profound insight:
On Nov. 8, we as women, we as Americans, we as decent human beings can come together and declare that enough is enough and we do not tolerate this kind of behavior.”
You heard the lady. Now we as us can stop pretending that either of these candidates is worthy of office, and condemn both of them as reprehensible and lacking the character to lead a nation of 322 million.
Vote Nobody, 2016.