It’s the Women, Stupid…

The United States has exploded with sexual harassment events of all descriptions—from the mildly silly ‘copperfield’ antics of a senile ex-president to Hollywood glam rapists.

In the Britain, there were a few copycat cases, and a government minister lost his job—in Europe, life flows as placidly as a floodplain river—as if abuse of women was a wholly-owned Anglo-Saxon perversion.

And yet, from Mitterrand (father and son) to Berlusconi, by way of so many others, mainland Europe has quite the track record.

Apart from the wolf-whistle, which was endemic throughout Southern Europe in my childhood, there was a wide variety of pick-up lines that were abusive to women. It was also relatively common for men to take advantage of crowded public transport to ‘feel up’ women, for taxi drivers to prey on female passengers, and for a woman walking on the street to have her rear end groped.

These kinds of actions now have politically correct designations such as ‘inappropriate touching’, but (excuse the pun), as evidenced ad nauseam this year in the US, men in positions of power happily continue to engage in various types of inappropriate behavior.

Bear in mind that whatever we witness in the Western World is quasi-saintly by comparison to developing countries. Africa and Asia are rife with such problems, and often far worse—child abuse and rape are often ignored, and a woman’s lot is not a happy one.

In many such countries, the accusations leveled at Roy Moore would have been ignored as hearsay, and wouldn’t have made the national press—if they did, either established censorship mechanisms, of the kind you see in most Arab countries, or a judiciously (and extra-judicially) delivered beating to a TV producer would resolve the matter.

Not so in the US of A, not even in Alabama. I predicted a few weeks ago that Moore would win, but I carried a secret torch for his loss—Wednesday morning brought me great joy. In the evening I turned my guitar up high and ripped through one of my favorite songs.

If you have the good fortune to live in a democracy, the Doug Jones victory margin of 2% is unremarkable—many nations are split down the middle. But to understand this amazing win, we need to go back to November 4th, 2014—that was the day the elf, aka Jeff Sessions, won the Alabama senate seat with 97.3% of the vote—now that’s a Saddam Hussein election right there.

But to understand Alabama a little better, consider this. When Sessions was elected, the Democratic Party didn’t even field a candidate against him—there was a write-in, a peculiar US foible where you can name someone on your ballot, should you for instance wish to vote for Mr. Michael Mouse.

The elf stumped up over a million bucks, which presumably went mostly on campaign ads—the Democrat write-in, Victor Sanchez, raised $4,497.00, of which two-hundred fifty bucks remained when all was said and done.

But at election time, it was the white women who did Roy Moore in.

Breakdown of Alabama special election results by sex and race (source: Washington Post).

These are not the exact percentages, and I don’t know the sex ratios of the voter universe, either for whites or blacks, so I assumed a 1:1 ratio. On that basis, you can easily calculate the overall election scores: I got 46.9% for the teen rider, 51.6% for Jones, and 1.5% for write-ins.

Trump, who as usual is wrong, blamed the write-ins—as an aside, I often hear the US media refer to him with his full title, something I’ve never done on these pages. I think it’s a matter of civic duty for any citizen of the world to refer to him only by name—he has no respect for anyone, least of all women, and in my book you earn the right to be treated with respect—he hasn’t. And because he is so obsessive about titles and protagonism, that would be a simple way for everyone to annoy him.

I know my results are not correct, since the actual figures for Jones and Moore were 50% and 48% respectively—the error is due to my assumptions: rounded-off percentage data and unknown sex ratio, both for blacks and whites. But that only improves the analysis— my gap is wider than the actual outcome, so my scenarios are more prudent.

If we remove the 2% write-in from the whites, and give the votes to Moore, he gets 48.2%, but Jones doesn’t shift at all, so he still wins.

If, however, we simulate a scenario where the white women voted like the men (72% for Moore), and leave the write-ins alone, then Moore wins with 49.6%, and Moore gets 48.9%. And as I said, with the real results, Moore’s victory margin would widen.

The Alabama black community deserves a big thank-you, but it should always get out and vote. In the US, blacks make up 13.3% of the population, but here they are a third of the demographic—in any election, a third of the vote is a wack on the head when it goes against you—that’s the principle of a qualified majority.

But I’m especially grateful to the white ladies of Alabama, although I doubt if any will ever read these words.

Last Tuesday, you all were real Southern belles—thank-you!

Civil society in the US is vibrantly opposed to all this mayhem, you can see it in organizations such as MeToo. Soon all this will be knocking on Trump’s door with some force.

Putting Clinton in office was often described as a key objective for equality between the sexes—but she was never the right candidate, not once but twice—and deep down, we all knew it.

Now, y’all, wouldn’t it be a far greater achievement for gender equality if the man who spent his whole life putting women down was finally put down by women?

The India Road, Atmos Fear, Clear Eyes, and Folk Tales For Future Dreamers. QR links for smartphones and tablets.





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