- 20 Dec 18
This was the year of the rising of the women.
Also the year when Hillary and Bill Clinton came separately to grace our little island.
Hillary picked up doctorates from Trinity and Queens. She was welcomed at both places of learning with colourful displays of synchronised kow-towing by leading lights of the political, cultural and academic elite.
She urged renunciation of violence and renewal of commitment by Irish parties to use peaceful means only in future. One 'paper headlined her Queen's address as 'a passionate plea for peace."
Nobody screamed out that this was a little inappropriate from a woman who had never seen a war which she'd didn't welcome. Nobody was so unmannerly as to mention the glassy-eyed glee with which she had reacted to the killing of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, bayonet-raped to death at the side of a road.
"We came, we saw, he died," she chortled, literally throwing her head back in laughter.
We have no way of knowing what or whether Clinton thinks now about the way Libya has plummeted into chaos and terror following the Nato assault which she had championed and cheered on. Hasn't had a word to say about it.
What a lady!
In April, Clinton's husband, Bill, also dropped in to be honoured for his supposed role in bringing us peace. He had a rip-roaring reception in Belfast, calls of 'Thank you, Bill!' reportedly wafting upon him from the sidelines, like warm gusts of love.
This was five weeks after the 'rugby rape trial' which had sparked women-led demonstrations from the Glens of Antrim to the Dingle peninsula.
Yet no mainstream Irish outlet mentioned Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinski or Kathleen Willey in its coverage of his visit.
Clinton allegedly raped Ms. Broaddrick in 1978.
He used his power to have Ms. Lewinski give him a blow-job, his trousers around his ankles, his back against the door of the Oval Office, grunting.
We know that he groped Kathleen Willey.
We know that Donald Trump paid Stormy Daniels $150,000 to keep schtum about their 'affair.' How many know that Clinton paid Ms. Jones $850,000 for her silence? She claimed that Clinton had subjected her to sexual harassment, including, in 1991, exposing himself to her.
She had been a volunteer with the Democratic Party in Arkansas in 1991. She was approached by state police at a conference in a hotel in Little Rock and told that the Governor would like to see her to discuss party matters. Flattered, she went to his room, escorted by a police officer. Almost immediately, Clinton whipped out his penis.
"He sat down, pulled down his pants, his whole everything and he was exposed, and I said, 'I'm not that kind of girl.'" She says that when she tried to leave, Clinton "rushed over and grabbed the door. He said, 'You're a smart girl - let's keep this between ourselves.'"
She says that when she left the room the state trooper waiting outside was 'smirking.'
Ms. Jones brought a sexual-harassment lawsuit. Clinton paid her the hush-money in an out-of-court settlement. Half the $850,000 was sourced from a bank account in his wife's name.
In 2016, footage emerged of Trump boasting of grabbing women 'by the pussy.' Many thought that would mark finis to his political ambitions. But not a bit of it. Which in a perverse sort of way was fair enough.
The late Alexander Cockburn quoted Oregon entrepreneur Tim Hermach recalling a visit to Little Rock looking for business in 1979 and a dinner heıd had with Clinton at the Hilton.
"Tim recalls that they were scarcely seated before Bill was greeting a pretty young waitress in friendly fashion, putting his hand up her dress while announcing genially to the assembled company, 'This woman has the sweetest cunt in Little Rock.'"
Hermach is now, in Cockburnıs characterisation, 'The fearless leader of the Native Forest Council and breathing the righteous air of Eugene, Oregon.' He retired from business to help found the council in 1988, out of shock at the relentless logging of National Forests.
He told Cockburn that he'd listened 'with burning ears and mouth agape as Bill talked of womanhood in terms of astounding crudity.'
Far as I know, very few of the many in Ireland who expressed disgust at Trumpıs assaults on women and showed proper outrage at the conduct of the Belfast rape trial have condemned the hearty public welcome given by leading citizens to an unapologetic rapist and serial sex attacker and the spouse who covered up for him and contributed handsomely to the pay-off.
Question of priorities, I suppose.
2018 has been the year women in Ireland went on the war-path against men who hunt them and harm them for their own gratification and for the buzz of feeling power.
For many years victims of sexual assault found it difficult to be accepted as credible witnesses to the crimes that they themselves had suffered. This may have eased somewhat - at least it's widely believed it has eased - in the post-Weinstein era.
Weinstein had gotten away with it for years because he was a powerful man. But thatıs all changed, changed utterly, in 2018.
Has it now?
How can we demand that Trump be booted out of office if, far from stomping the streets in anger at the Clintons' presence among us, we signal 'no harm done' and smile a welcome as they slither into town?