Earlier this month, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) advised skipping the impeachment of Donald Trump and just proceeding directly to the penalty phase. She even specified what the punishment should be, writing on Twitter, “Impeachment is not good enough for Trump. He needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement.” She of course meant “impeachment is too good enough for Trump,” but if we’re going to dwell on Auntie Maxine’s dubious felicity with her native tongue, we’ll get nowhere fast.
Anyhoo, Waters is not the only liberal daydreaming about how best to make the president pay not only for his high crimes and misdemeanors but his lesser sins as well. As the Washington Post reports, “A small athletic-wear company from Oregon says it is taking a stand against President Trump and has chosen a 30-foot billboard in Times Square depicting him being hogtied in front of the White House to do so.”
The provocative ad for Portland-based Dhvani, which sells $58 yoga pants, takes aim at the Trump administration’s efforts to block federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other clinics. It has, predictably, ginned up strong reactions on both sides of the political aisle.
Marketing experts and analysts say the billboard is perhaps the most extreme example of politically charged advertising to date, though they disagreed about just how effective it would be in helping Dhvani achieve its goal of “creating change in the world.” [Emphasis added]
The highlighted phrase above is a distortion of the administration’s August rule barring federally funded clinics from referring patients to abortion providers. The decision to withdrew from a Title X federal family planning program, thereby forgoing about $60 million a year, was entirely Planned Parenthood’s. The company at the time told reporters, “We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients.”
The billboard, which depicts a rather masculine-looking woman (or man with breasts) with her foot on the president’s face as she binds him up in a red, white, and blue rope, has caused a stir since it was unveiled late this week. (RELATED: New Jersey town divided over billboard calling Trump ‘idiot’) Dhvani’s chief executive, Avi Brown argues “this is about giving a voice to women. Our intent is for our brand to stand for progressive change in the face of what we perceive to be steps backwards in the evolution of our country,” adding:
We’ve never taken a political stand before but frankly, we were fed up. This is just saying: Let’s put a gag order on him. Enough is enough. We support impeachment.
According to the Post, Brown was inspired by Colin Kaepernick’s well-publicized temper tantrum over being demoted as quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. (RELATED: The two real reasons Colin Kaepernick can’t find work)
Not everyone is in thrall over Dhvani’s ad, and that includes Planned Parenthood, which refused to endorse the billboard and said it would not accept funds raised by Dhvani’s campaign to do so on the group’s behalf. Melanie Newman, senior vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, is quoted as having said in a statement:
Our staff members have faced threats and acts of violence for doing their jobs, and many of our patients turn to us as their safe space for care after facing violence in their lives. We do not condone violence or violent imagery against anyone.
Chris Allieri, a crisis management expert and founder of Mulberry & Astor, a public relations firm in New York, also reacted negatively:
This is an outsized punch, but what’s the real objective here? I just don’t know that this is an effective way to change the world. But at the same time, if their goal is to get exposure and sell leggings, well, maybe it’s worked.
Let’s not forget either that it is the President of the United States that this larger-than-life image is insulting. What ever happened to the argument, voiced so often during the Obama presidency, if you can’t respect the man, at least respect the office?