Sunday, October 9, 2016
It's Not All Sunsets and Sea Glass: Post-Debate Thoughts
I'm trying to remember if I smiled the night my assaulter held his hands around my neck, pinning me against the front seat of my car for close to an hour. I cajoled, to be sure. "I'm married," I told this acquaintance who followed me out of the party, ostensively walking me to my car. "You don't want to do this," I said. I talked non-stop except for the moments when his grip on my neck grew tighter. But I don't think I smiled.
I didn't want Hilary to smile during the debate. Every time she smiled I thought about how women are expected to look pleasant and pretty in the public eye. I thought about how women smile to defuse aggression. I am an unabashed Hilary supporter. I don't want a wall. I don't want Muslims to be barred from the U.S. I don't want to scrap the Affordable Care Act and start over. I don't want women to continue to crawl along without an Equal Rights Amendment. But I don't want Hilary to smile.
Trump behaved like a stalker during the debate. Standing behind her. Threatening to throw her in jail. Pacing around her with his hands in his pockets. And I hated the final moment when they approached one another for that final handshake. He put his hand behind her, appearing to touch her in the small of her back. I interpreted that as a show of aggression.
And while never having been a conspiracy theorist of any kind, I wouldn't be surprised if the Trump campaign itself released the trash-talking bus video. The message: Watch out. I'm an aggressor. I will dominate you.
Our society is fucked up when it comes to gender equality. Women have have the vote for more than hundred years. Yet we are the last to the party, among all the developed countries in the world, for maternal leave and health care policies that protect women and children, We are expected to do it all and that's impossible.
"I want you to come home with me," my assaulter said over and over again. I had a half-dozen reasons why that couldn't/shouldn't happen. I kept repeating them. When he finally got off me and stood up, I yanked my car door shut and drove home. I was drenched in sweat by then. That 's the way I felt by the end of tonight's debate.
I want Hilary to stop smiling. We don't have to please anyone. We just have to stand up.