Dear President Trump,
Alexandra Petri is my hero of the day. Her WP editorial about your shameful comment that E. Jean Carroll is not your type is some kind of powerful. I’m sure you haven’t read it so I will briefly summarize her approach and will then quote her last two paragraphs directly. She starts out by listing 9 absurdly qualified denials of violent behavior (e.g., “How dare you accuse me of this, when I only kill men with strong chins?”) and then slams home with your statement in the #10 spot: “Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened.” At first, even knowing what she was doing, it was off-putting and hard to read her list, but damn if it isn’t an effective way to viscerally illustrate just how horrifying your particular version of denial is.
I don’t usually quote people at such length and I know you will never see her column or this letter, but these ideas need to get out on the airwaves and into as many people’s heads as possible, so here you go:
“I am sick to death of this, this brazenness, this insult heaped upon injury. This conflation of two things that are not the same. That the words he says to dismiss this are “not my type” — as though a violation would have been a compliment. As though to be told the horrible things a man would do in the name of attraction is flattery, not threat.
There is a door in my head behind which I am screaming all the time. That this man is president, that a man we think capable of this is president, that this will dent nothing, because this is what is expected. That these are the words that issue from him instead of a proper denial. That he thinks to say he would not rape a woman is an insult.”
Her sentence “There is a door in my head behind which I am screaming all the time” is perfect. It sums up so well how I feel much of the time. Yes, you and the GOP are forcing reflection and conversations that have needed to happen for decades, centuries even, so in that sense there is some good coming of this mess, but what is happening with you, what is happening with our country, what is happening with the world because of you and because of our country is horrifying. And yet we have to contend with the reality that we are ‘Debbie Downers’ if we talk about it all too much. And we have to contend with the reality that life keeps happening and life needs to be attended to no matter what, meals need to be cooked, work needs to be done, laundry folded. So there is a door in my head behind which a part of me is howling disconsolately 24/7.
Obviously Alexandra and I do open our respective doors (I’m not sure how often she opens hers, but you know I open mine at least once a day) and our screams can be heard outside our own heads sometimes. And our screams are joining a chorus of screams, howls, laments that are building, that are saying ‘enough is f*cking enough – we are need to be done with this shit.’
You, sir, can keep tap dancing faster and faster. You can throw more and more smoke bombs into the mix to frighten and distract. You can feed your base extra helpings of bloody, red meat. But you are just buying time. And yes, I know that time is precious and every day we waste with this bullshit of you and your administration further trashes the environment, puts more vulnerable children at risk, gives another angry, under-controlled man permission to beat his wife or someone else he doesn’t like the looks of for any of a dozen messed up reasons. I know. You are dangerous and you are toxic. But you are also the death throes of oppression as a way of life. And that way of life, that basis for culture is not viable and it will pass. And it will pass faster as more and more of us go ahead and scream and howl and lament out loud, with the doors of our minds wide open.
May we be safe to scream and howl when things are not right.
May we be willing to hear one another, to stay present and awake to what is wrong.
May we be clear that our collective health depends on us all screaming out loud.
May we not make peace with or become inured to monsters like you.