October 20, 2018
Kounalakis, a 52-year-old former U.S. ambassador to Hungary, resents any characterization of her as a product of privilege — though her father, a wealthy Sacramento developer, has contributed about $5 million toward her campaign. She has a record of accomplishment of her own, including 18 years in the housing industry, working her way from project manager to president, and an array of Democratic Party and advisory positions. President Barack Obama appointed her to the ambassadorship in 2010.
Identity matters. Ideas and issues matter too, but who we elect is to some extent a reflection on our opinions about the candidates as people: who better represents who we aspire to be?
I was very disappointed in the 2016 presidential election because we—the American people—chose a lying scumbag for president. We elected a man who, on an almost daily basis, shows utter disregard for truth, the office of the presidency, and much of what makes this country great.
Including, and especially, how we treat women.
The recordings. The Stormy Daniels episode, and the cover-up.
This isn't my idea of what it means to be a man: not a husband, not a brother, and certainly not a father. I can scarce imagine what I'm going to tell my son or daugher someday when they ask about this stuff.
But with every problem, there's an opportunity. And as Caroline pointed out yesterday, when we were discussing this, there's a real opportunity for moral leadership on the question of what manhood should be today.
In its most charitable form, Trump's manhood is labor (steel, manufacturing, construction), sports, and perhaps fatherhood. All of which are fine, but we also need space for things like scholastic excellence, physical fitness, intellectual rigor, and character. Boys need to understand how to interact with women as professional equals and why it's important to do well in school.
There's a huge space for this in our politics and I think the person—it probably has to be a man—who can articulate a new manhood will gain a huge following: equal parts women, sick of chauvanists like Trump and the backward-looking, nativist right, and from men like me, who wish we'd aim a little higher, and acknowledge the new realities of work and family life.