The Rest

The Trump Witch Trials

“We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!” ― Arthur MillerThe Crucible 

It was in 1692 that 20 people, nearly all of them women, were hung—accused of witchcraft. They were called devils. They were told they had hate in their hearts. There were calls of “lock her up.”

Sound familiar?

Copyright Jenny Warburg
Copyright Jenny Warburg

The Salem Witch murders were an example of how a society, led by an egotistical man and fueled by a fearful society can turn against those who are different, who stand out – who are uppity women.

In Salem, one of the first murdered was a woman who dared to marry for a second time and didn’t wear the exact same dress as the other puritanical women did. Another woman was homeless. A third was Black.

It was well over three hundred years ago that America allowed such ignorance and hatred to prevail over democracy and decency.

And yet here we are. 2016. Welcome to the Trump Witch Trials in which Donald Trump calls Hillary Clinton the Devil; in which he tells his audiences that she has hate in her heart; in which he promises he will “lock her up,” (and at some of his rallies, there are also calls of “string her up”).

Does anyone really wonder if some of the vitriol piled upon Hillary Clinton is NOT due to the fact that she’s a woman?

Never has there been such an anti-woman presidential candidate. This is a campaign in which Donald Trump has talked about jailing women who dare control their own fertility; a campaign in which Trump has derided women for menstruating, and has declared women don’t look “presidential;” a campaign in which he has called women “fat” and “ugly” and has defended his own bragging about sexual assault as being merely “locker room talk.”

Is it any surprise that he is now reaching back three hundred years to the tactics of Cotton Mather, the chief proselytizer of the Salem Witch Trials?

Donald Trump is a man who has been accused – dozens of times – of sexual harassment and rape. He’s a man who used to fire women who worked at his golf club if he thought they weren’t pretty enough. He’s a man who liked to walk in on Miss Universe contestants while they were dressing, because, as their boss, he could.

Of course he thinks it’s okay to grab women by the genitals. He also thinks it’s okay to discriminate against African Americans in housing, and to call Mexicans rapists and murderers and to bilk dozens of men and women who’ve worked for him out of their pay. He’s a man who takes what he wants, when he wants it, because in his own mind, he’s God and in his own idea of heaven, white men rule.

I don’t think it’s fair to call Donald Trump a misogynist. I don’t think he necessarily HATES women. I think he loves to have sex with them. I think he loves to put them in their place. I think he loves to dominate them.

Women serve a purpose in Donald Trump’s world. Women are props and mirrors and sex objects; we’re maids and secretaries and waitresses. In that world, the one thing women are not to ever do: is to challenge him.

Hell hath no fury like the Donald scorned.

Three hundred years after the Salem Witch trials, a man running for President has called upon gun owners to take up arms against his opponent, has courted neo-Nazis to the Republican Party, and is singlehandedly attempting to set the status of women back a half a century. Three hundred years after the Salem Witch trials, a child jangles the keys of the kingdom. Let us all pray that a good strong woman – yes, an uppity woman – will pry those keys from his pampered, privileged, callous-free hands and put that petulant boy in his place.


Linda Burstyn

Linda Burstyn is a former journalist and Emmy award-winner writer/producer for Ted Koppel’s Nightline. She is currently a TV drama writer.