When the epithet fits….

Dear President Trump,

Along with much of the rest of the country (apparently), I’ve been thinking a lot about Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s assertion the other day that she and the other Democrats in Congress are going to impeach you and specifically about her choice term for you: “mother*cker.” Of course it would have been a completely different conversation had she said something like “We believe there are already grounds for starting impeachment proceedings against President Trump and I am going to push hard to see this happen.” She might still have gotten some airtime and other Democrats might still be “tsk-tsking” her. I’ve no doubt there would still have been curses and death threats from myriad hypocritical members of your fan base (actually, I’m not seeing such reports, but I think it’s only a matter of time). But going ahead and acknowledging that you are a mother*cker clearly put her comment and her in uncharted territory for a new House Representative, let alone a Muslim woman politician. I hope she and her family don’t end up having to move and that she doesn’t end up needing 24-hour protection. From this safety standpoint and because I think she is now very likely to lose re-election in the future, I wish she hadn’t called you that.

From pretty much every other standpoint, though, I think it’s refreshing that she called you what you are – someone who f*cks over mothers. And children. And families. I’ve always taken issue with the casual use of the epithet, like in music or everyday conversation, because it really is very violent and misogynist and tends to be used in ways that aren’t acknowledging this. But sometimes it is the correct term for someone and I think Rep. Tlaib nailed it in your case.

Although really a manhood-pride issue predicated on flimsy, cynically fabricated data, your insistence that the border wall is so critical that it’s worth shutting down the government over is making it so that hundreds of thousands of mothers’ (and fathers’) are not able to pay their rent, their mortgages, and car notices, or buy food for their families. Mothers are wondering whether they need to return their family Christmas presents to keep the lights on and the heat going. And we haven’t even gotten to when the food stamp money runs out. Holy crap, that’s a whole other level of hurt and misery that you all just now seem to be waking up to (apparently the White House Staff had no clue what all derails when shutdowns go on for more than a few days – idiots). And this is all piled on top of hundreds of other ways you’ve undermined the health, safety, and well-being of women and families in the past two years.

After my parents divorced and there were five kids to feed, my mom had to have us go on food stamps and reduced price school lunches. Basically, even though my dad paid his child support diligently, we were poor. So unlike a lot of people, I have a pretty clear sense of what must be going on in households across the country as they brace for their safety nets to shred beneath them.

All of this is to say that even if it was political suicide, Rep. Tlaib’s decision to go ahead and name you as a “mother*cker” was brave and correct.

May we be safe from cruel vainglorious leaders.
May we be happy to speak truth to power.
May we not gloss over the suffering the shutdown is causing.
May you not start a war.

Tracy Simpson

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