27 April 2016

On Women

#MoreThanMean @justnotsports
I jumped on an early Metro North train yesterday afternoon in order to get back to the 'Stan (yes, the shadow government run by the frosty iron fist of Martha Stewart does still allow for free elections here) in order to vote. As is my norm, I perused the Twittersphere for news. I stumbled upon a Tweet with a fast trending hashtag:


Intrigued, I clicked through to the link and watched this. The four minute video is nothing short of horrifying. With my jaw hanging agape in shock, I sat stunned watching it. Once I was able to collect my thoughts, my first cogent reaction was to damn the Interwebs for the perverse sense of boldness its anonymity gives people. Only the sickest (and small handed too - trust me, I'm getting to THAT connection) psychopathic misogynist would have the temerity to say these things to a woman's face. My second reaction was a galling, sickening sense of shame that I, as a man, share the same genetic makeup of the human detritus that, cowering behind the anonymity of the internet, wrote these things about women. My third reaction was to think of the amazing women in my life, starting with my wife and daughters, and how I wanted nothing more to insure no one ever treats them like this. 

With those jumble of emotions still roiling through me, I made my way to our nearly (thanks, voter apathy!) empty polling place to cast my vote in the presidential primary. At first, I thought I was being punked because there was a candidate on the ballot named 'Rocky de la Fuente' (turns out he's real - disillusioned - but real). I flipped my ballot over several times to see if it was printed by a Trump company, just to be sure. Assured that my ballot was the real deal, I cast my vote. Without telling you for whom I cast my vote, I can tell you this - my mother is hugely disappointed in me. The funny thing is that as I cast my vote, my mother, along with so many women in my life were on my mind because of the #MoreThanMean campaign video I'd just seen. 

I have been fortunate to have known amazing women throughout my life. My mother, who scooped me into her arms when I was two days old, declared me her own and has never looked back or given up on me. My sister, who is smart, loving, and tough as nails. My wife - there are not enough words to describe her impact on my life. I try to be a better man because of her. My daughters - the joy of my life and my hope. I see so much good in them and see the potential that they have to do so much good in the worlds they inhabit. I've been taught by amazing women - a high school teacher, a former nun, who brought the study of Humanities alive; a Sunday School teacher in California whose skill I try to live up to each Sunday that I teach. I've been fortunate to work with strong, funny, smart, resilient women too. I'm lucky to call a diverse, fascinating group of women friends. I've been blessed by each of these associations. Quite simply, I am a better man because of the women in my life.

I'm far from the perfect son, father or husband and I know I've been a tool on more than one occasion.  But I cannot understand the mentality of a man that can totally get behind the behavior highlighted in the #MoreThanMean campaign. It's not just women sportswriters/journalists that endure this kind of vitriol. It's rampant. It's disgusting. Yet, the presumptive (and small handed misogynist) Republican presidential nominee leads the pack in this behavior. His marital history is proof of his respect for women (umm...tick tock, Melania, you're probably about to hit your expiry date). His infamous Twitter feed is littered with hate-filled rants against women. He's now hitting out against Hillary Clinton in his typical cowardly, bloviating way, calling her names and accusing her of shouting at him. Apparently, in his sick world, when a woman has the unmitigated gall to respond to one his hysteric rants, that's 'shouting.' The cowardice on display is beyond the pale. He embodies #MoreThanMean. This anonymous quote nailed it:

Strong women scare weak men.

And yet, there are women who support him. I cannot understand how any woman can support his candidacy. It defies all logic. But I think we can all agree that the logic ship sank a long time ago when it comes to this campaign. 

There's no logic either in the behavior of men who go after women in such hateful ways, as was illustrated in the #MoreThanMean video. Aren't we better than that? We should be. We should be better to the women in our lives. They are amazing. They make us better.

Stop the mean. Love the women in your lives. We'd all be better for it.

Thank you to @justnotsports for starting this discussion. May it be the beginning of the end of hate towards the women in our lives.

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