Ignorance Is Not A “Sense of Humor,” Stephen Moore

Sarah Grace Goolden
Opinions Editor

PC: Gage Skidmore

Trump is under fire once again for one of his nominees. This time it is Stephen Moore, economic commentator and former Trump campaign advisor, for the Federal Reserve Board. There are a lot of reasons why this potential pick concerns people, including the fact that he is quoted saying, “Capitalism is more important than democracy.”

Not only does he want to bring back the gold standard, but he also has a lot to say about women. His other nominee was Herman Cain, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. Cain is now withdrawn from consideration.

Moore has a history of making fun of women publicly. In a column written in 2000 for the conservative National Review magazine, he calls women “sooo malleable” and follows that up with, “No wonder there’s a gender gap.” The column details a conversation with his wife after she revealed that she had voted Democrat, and not for any of the candidates that he had. She says she did it because she cares about equal pay and environmental bond initiatives, which he shoots down with his own reasoning. It is clear that he is very money-minded. He says the conversation with his wife, who has a different opinion than him, is “exasperating.” This may be a little concerning for someone running for a position that requires a lot of listening to different opinions.

Not only does Moore take up an issue with the way women vote, he also has voiced his disapproval for the way women play sports or inhabit the places where sports take place. In fact, he called it a “travesty.” The full quote was, “… While I’m venting on the subject, here’s another travesty: in playground games and rec leagues these days, women now feel free to play with the men- uninvited in almost every case.” It is horrifying that someone is thinking this at all, let alone writing these thoughts down for all the world to see.

Moore goes on to call it an obscenity that women referee sports games because those events are supposed to be “vacations” for men. This insinuates that playing and viewing sports are only for men, which Moore defends by arguing that women just are not as good at it. He argues female sports professionals want, “equal pay for inferior work.” To add insult to injury, he edited one of his thoughts. Women can referee, but only if they look like Bonnie Bernstein and wear halter tops. It should not have to be said, but women are more than their bodies and their sexuality. To only tolerate them when they are physically attractive to you and presented in a sexual way is to not tolerate women at all. That is objectification, not acceptance.

It should be stated that these comments are from 2001-2003, and a lot can change in that time period. Perhaps, if he saw the ignorance of his statements and could prove that he no longer thought women undeserving of the basic right to exist in certain spaces, we could focus on some of his other opinions. However, he has claimed it to be a “spoof,” and argues that he has a “sense of humor.” I do not think jokes rooted in sexism are funny. I feel the same way about racist, homophobic, ableist and xenophobic jokes. If your punchline relies on belittling someone, the truth is that you are probably not actually funny. I’m tired of “It’s just a joke” being an excuse. Someone’s race, gender and sexuality is not a joke; it is their entire existence.

Maybe you think this does not get in the way of him doing his job, right? After all, maybe he is great with money and not so great with women. This does not inherently make him unfit for the position. However, I do believe people in power need to be held to a certain standard, and Moore does not cut it. In 1999, he co-founded the Club For Growth, but mismanaged it and had to pay a $350 thousand fine to the Federal Election Commission in 2004.

I think we have to stop letting grown men and women get away with trivializing comments under the guise of a sense of humor. Moore’s comments should make you uncomfortable, but more importantly, his inability to recognize his mistakes should make him an unlikely pick for the Federal Reserve Board. We need people who are open-minded, respectful and able to play well with others. I do not believe we need people like Stephen Moore.

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