Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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Political Mercury

No, Rudy, men behind the curtain aren’t like Trump


Ladies, let me take you behind the curtain of male privilege and entitlement, into the locker rooms and fraternity chapter chambers and other sanctuaries of unapologetic American maleness.

Right up front, I’m here to tell you, Donald Trump’s admissions of genital groping — of breath-mint-popping, lip-puckering readiness for forced kisses he planned to unleash on women who met his exacting physical standards — cannot be casually waved off as a “boys-being-boys” episode.

Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” that “men at times talk like that.”

No, Mr. Mayor, that’s not true. There’s no big reveal here about men as a gender. This is all about Donald Trump. Nothing more.

I’m a fraternity guy. For four years, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I lived, studied and partied in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Northwestern University.

Prep Iowa

I’ve played a lot of golf, even made my way on to some exclusive courses, places with “men’s grills” — bars off the lockers where women aren’t allowed.

What’s more, I’ve been the best man or a groomsman in a number of weddings. This means bachelor parties. Which, yes, at times, means strip clubs.

I vacation each year with a group of guy friends — all of whom served in the military except for me. Beers flow, the ribbing and joking and jocularity and off-color comments start early. This is not a politically correct crowd.

But I’ve never heard any men, in any of these places, speak with the toxicity of Trump about women, or come even close to hitting the high notes of his effortless blend of entitlement, easy-reach vulgarity and matter-of-fact admissions of sexual assault.

The guys I know would wrap a 9-iron around my neck if I even started in a Trumpian direction with comments about women — even if it was intended as but a joke on my part. They love their daughters and wives, after all.

Tapper has been behind the curtain, too. He understands the features and boundaries of male-dominated clubs and pursuits.

“I am happy to throw a stone,” Tapper told Giuliani in the exchange. “I have been in locker rooms. I have been a member of a fraternity. I have never heard any man, ever, brag about being able to maul women because they get away with it — never.”

Yes, men can be crude braggarts, brimming with misogyny. They’ll talk about exploits and conquests. Most of the time, men who talk like that, though, become the object of unrelenting mocking from other guys who see through it a mile away.

If the women of Iowa stand with Donald Trump, look the other way on what by all fair and reasonable accounts is predatory sexual activity, buy Trump’s bogus apologies, fall for the slippery surrogate spin, what are they teaching their sons and grandsons?

On this, ladies, I am sure. Men do not talk like Trump. Believe me. ♦

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman. He and his family own and publish newspapers in Carroll, Jefferson and other neighboring communities.burns doug 12-10-25


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