To the people who live in the brown house on Terra Cotta Road:
Would you like to be the ones to explain to my five-year-old what the word “bitch” means? I think maybe posting a Trump sign that uses the word in your front yard means you’ve volunteered for this unpleasant task—and also for the task of explaining to her why grown-ups think the word belongs in political discourse.
Now, luckily, she didn’t see the sign. At the moment we were passing your house, she was looking at the page in her Clifford book where Clifford lifts up a taxi cab so a blind woman can use the crosswalk it was blocking. She loves that part. It appeals to both her love of slapstick and her naïve sense of justice. But what if she had seen the sign? She recently learned what the word “witch” looks like, thanks to our Halloween reading selections. And she knows what sound the letter “b” makes. What if she had sounded it out and asked what it meant? What should I have said then? What would you have said?
I mean, I could have come up with something. I might have told her that it is a mean word some people use to describe women who do things they don’t like. I might have gotten evasive and told her it’s the term for a female dog. What I couldn’t have done, however, short of evasion, is come up with a way to explain your sign to her that would not in some way convey to her that there are people in the world–and not only in the world but just down the road from the place where she takes gymnastics—who hate her because she is a girl.
Now, I wouldn’t use those words. She’s five, after all, and that’s a lot to put on her. She’d get the gist of it anyway, because there is no way to explain your sign without acknowledging, even if only implicitly, that any woman in this country who stands up and demands a place at the table takes the risk of being met with hatred and violence. That’s what your sign is: overt hatred and implied violence.
I’ve heard a lot of people talking about why they think Hillary Clinton should not be president. They never say it’s because she’s a woman, of course. You might even say, people in the brown house (and some people reading this), that you’d be fine with a woman president, just not this one—not this one who has the requisite experience, knowledge, and intelligence—not this one who is actually asking for the job. Not Clinton…because…what was it again…the stamina, the not smiling? You don’t like her laugh?
Oh, right. E-mails that have somehow (no one has ever adequately explained to me how) made the country less secure. Well, let me tell you this, people in the brown house, I’ve read everything I can find on those e-mails, and not once have I felt less secure because of what I’ve read. But today, you and your sign made me feel less secure in my own community. So you know what I did? I came home and gave money to the Clinton campaign.