An interesting sort of phenomenon has arisen in the behavior of both the left and the right in addressing the question of Donald Trump's infidelities, and whether they matter, and how they matter. The right has downplayed them with a shrug, without really bothering to pretend they haven't happened. Meanwhile the left calls foul based on the treatment Bill Clinton received for his own indiscretions. Granted, Clinton was caught philandering while serving as President (and then lied about it under oath), though it would be a surprise if a creature of habit like Trump wasn't still doing the same in some sly way. But one thing which has been largely absent this time around is the swirl of questions around the wife.

"Why doesn't Hillary leave him?" was the question of the day during the heyday of Bill's metaphorical romps in the hay. But, halfhearted trolling aside, nobody seems to be care how the First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, feels about the same species of betrayal. And perhaps the reason is that evangelicals and establishment media types alike don't care that Melania is cheated on because they have already written her off as a non-person -- essentially as much of a prostitute as the porn star(s) Trump paid off (or, at least, who people associated with Trump paid off, through shell companies peppered with alliterative aliases).

Interesting non-parallel parallels abound. No hint of a sex scandal touched the marriages of the intervening first couples, Barack and Michelle Obama, and George W. and Laura Bush, and the wives in both instances didn't come into their under any sort of cloud. Both Hillary and Melania did, but Hillary's scandal, the thing which people were digging into throughout her stint as first lady, was traditionally a man's scandal: she was shady in investments. She bought cattle futures and suspiciously sold them at much more of a profit than business sense would yield. Having been one of the top lawyers of a middling firm, she bought land under circumstances which evoked possible misuse of government power. She was doing financial stuff, with her high-falutin' law degree.

But Melania's scandals were of a distinctly feminine kind. She posed nude in pictures. She allowed her breasts and buttocks to exposed to the world, and with some rightful pride in their firmness apparent in her posture, at that. In some pictures, her naked form is laid pressed against another equally naked and nubile woman, in body language unmistakably intended to evoke lesbianism. Rumors were floated during the campaign that she had been a high-class escort, and had met Trump, known for his affinity for the exoticness of Eastern European women -- and obtained US citizenship -- through that vocation. The rumors were shrugged off at the time without raising much ire or outrage. After all, she was a third wife. She was the hanging bit left from a continuum which had the first wife, Ivana -- the important, liked one -- being left for a mistress, and the mistress becoming the second wife, and then that mistress-wife being left for yet another mistress, following on with a steady string of relationships cut off by Trump's appetite for both committing adultery of his own, and luring others to commit adultery for his entertainment.

Perhaps if Trump and Ivana had stuck it out and were still together, people would be outraged on behalf of Ivana. But Melania is the thought coming after an afterthought, and neither left-wing feminists nor right-wing evangelicals can muster outrage on behalf of somebody they've already dehumanized.


Nemosyn writes: "you've missed the most interesting parts. Melania didn't marry a monogamous man, and there is no pretence that she did. But there is a lot of interest in her relationship - just how abused and mistreated is she? Does she need to be rescued? There is a loud cry of "why doesn't she leave him?" but it's for different reasons than Hillary."

I do not agree with this assessment. I think some mumbles to this effect are being made for dramatic effect, and to heighten the salaciousness of the porn star payoff, but I doubt anybody, left or right, really cares whether Melania is being "abused" because she has already been written off as a moral entity. Though it is interesting that some commentary has focused on her skipping a planned trip after this came out, just as some noted that she wore a pink "pussy bow" to the presidential debate following the airing of Trump's "grab her by the pussy" remark.

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