Why the Schneiderman saga is especially grim

Sam Smith – I had my money on Eric Schneiderman as the last play in bringing Trump down and saving what’s left of America’s democracy – after perhaps the firing of Mueller and the legal dehydration of the New York US Attorney. Schneiderman, after all, had handled the Trump University case well and was reportedly being kept up to date by Mueller.

But, as is easy these days in matters political, I was wrong – my optimism shattered by the revelations of Schneiderman’s treatment of women and his subsequent resignation. And what could be more ironic than if Donald Trump succeeded in his dictatorial desires thanks to the cruel stupidity of a top official replicating his inability to treat others decently.

As I brooded over this, I realized that what David Hackett Fisher has described as a historical southern idea of “hegemonic liberty” – i.e. the more power you have the more liberty comes with it – is now rampant among the powerful of America, regardless of where they grew up.

The classic example of hegemonic liberty was the plantation owner. And as I pondered Trump’s treatment of the White House and America as his plantation, I stumbled across this in the NY Post: 

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called his Sri Lankan girlfriend his “brown slave” and wanted her to refer to him as “Master,” the woman says.

Harvard-educated activist writer Tanya Selvaratnam told the New Yorker magazine that her yearlong affair with Schneiderman “was a fairytale that became a nightmare” — and quickly escalated into violence in the bedroom, even as he begged for threesomes.

“Sometimes, he’d tell me to call him Master, and he’d slap me until I did,” Selvaratnam said.

[His] ex-girlfriend says Schneiderman beat, choked her after night of drinking “He started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.’”

The message here is that such behavior – whether by a Schneiderman, a movie star or a president – is about something far more than sexual abuse, bad as that is. It is also about a manic and cruel drive for total power over others. The rotten remains in the heart and soul of a would-be dictator.

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