Dear Donald Trump,
I really must thank you. After losing my 2011 election for Nassau County legislator by 106 votes (less than 1%), and being subsequently gerrymandered into an unwinnable, legislative Republican district, I swore I’d never run for political office again.
But then, there you were, victorious on Election Night 2016, and I was in shock. So much shock, in fact, that my picture ended up in “People” magazine as one of many faces of utter disbelief that this had happened to our country. And, quite frankly, scared of what was to come. (*Below is what I wrote after Election Day 2016 if you’re curious for more about that.)
As I traveled home from the Javits Center in November 2016, I distinctly remember thinking, “Okay, I can’t run for President. I can’t get him out of office. But I can run locally and do something about our government here.” So I decided to run again. Like a girl – Like one of the many girls you so blatantly disrespected over the course of your life.
So you see, in the end, it was you who brought me out of political retirement. And while I didn’t win, I, a liberal, outspoken, female feminist came within one percent of winning in conservative, republican, Oyster Bay. I hold my pussy-hat wearing head high with that result.
And yesterday, as I marched along other like-minded, outraged, women, men and children, I remembered that I wasn’t alone, and that sometimes even when you lose, you’re still winning. You just need to say in the race.
Or, as I wrote in 2016:
“The rest of us will be busy protecting the vision of America that we hold dear- that this country is a melting pot of immigrants, based on religious freedom, who have the right to the pursuit of happiness and equal rights regardless of race, gender, sexuality, ability, and religion. That’s my America. And this fourth-wave feminist, and all the pussies by her side, aren’t going anywhere.”
This year we marched. Perhaps next year, I’ll run again. Like a girl.
*And for a throwback, here’s what I wrote on November 9, 2016:
For me and for many like me, this election was not just about Republican vs. Democrat, male vs. female, Trump vs. Clinton. It was about supporting someone whose social beliefs aligned with my own- that we are humans before we are our gender, our sexuality, our religion, our race, or our immigration status.
The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency, an openly racist, sexist, misogynist, bigoted, homophobic man, is a personal affront to human rights, to human decency.
Yes, I am disappointed that HRC lost. But this election year is different. Because in previous years, when the other “side” won, it was disappointing, but not frightening. And last night, when I looked around, I saw people who were scared.
I was at the Javitz last night with a former student who is a Muslim- she works for the Clinton Foundation. She is an American citizen who was both verbally and physically assaulted during this Presidential campaign. Her father texted her throughout the night, and towards the end he said to her, “good thing we have a house in Canada.” This bright young woman, hours before, thought she was headed to D.C. next year. Now she takes off her hijab when she’s in public and might move to Canada to feel safe. I’m ill about it.
I saw three young, Hispanic men in Penn station. One was crying, stating how all he wants to do is work hard and go to college. He also said he is worried about his parents, and the health care all of them have. And that he would have to tell them about all that is coming for them under a Trump Presidency.
I witnessed six, 20-something, white male Trump supporters manhandle a 20-something African American woman at Penn. The police arrested her and her friend, who was just trying to protect her friend from getting arrested. The guys walked off.
A former colleague posted her anxieties about what she will say to her son about why our country elected a man who wants to take away the rights she and her wife share, just because.
This election was not just about shattering the glass ceiling; sure that would have been nice, but Hillary Clinton had already done that by becoming the nominee. But we feminists (both male and female) truly believed that America had progressed to the point where one’s gender was not a barrier to the highest office of the land. Hillary losing to Trump, a sexist man accused of numerous sexual assaults, is a complete insult to Hillary, and to women globally.
I’m not interested in hearing what the DNC did wrong, or why you disagree, or how great Trump will be. It is all moot now.
Will Trump make America great again? Time will tell, I suppose. But right now, I need to mourn the loss of the America I thought I knew- because Trump didn’t win just because uneducated white men came out to support him (although that certainly helped). He won because some of those who voted for him did not publicly admit they supported him prior to Election Day. THAT is what scares me- who are the closeted racist, sexist, misogynist, bigoted, homophobes among them? Because that’s not the America I knew prior to last night.
Come out come out wherever you are and claim your prize. Today is YOUR National Coming Out Day.
The rest of us will be busy protecting the vision of America that we hold dear- that this country is a melting pot of immigrants, based on religious freedom, who have the right to the pursuit of happiness and equal rights regardless of race, gender, sexuality, ability, and religion. That’s my America. And this fourth-wave feminist, and all the pussies by her side, aren’t going anywhere.