Over the course of the past few years, I have mostly stopped engaging in political discussions with people I don’t know well. With the polarization of our country, it seems people aren’t interested in a conversation as much as declaring that they (and their side) are correct. So while I follow politics, for the most part, I keep my opinions to myself. Earlier this week, I had watched a clip of President Trump mocking Christine Blasey Ford prior to going to the YMCA and was still thinking about it while I was working out. I saw an older man I know strut in with his “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” hat on and I said to him, “I can’t even see that today.” I know; I should have just looked away as I have been doing. But that day I couldn’t and I didn’t. That’s all it took— he started in and it was clear he was looking for a fight. After realizing I had just poked a sleeping bear, I tried to ask him if we could just keep the gym a safe space. But he wouldn’t let it go. He launched into how Brett Kavanaugh was falsely accused, how his life has been ruined… if you’ve been watching the news, you know the rant. I kept trying to let it drop and he kept trying to get me to “Answer the question!” which was: why do I believe “her.” So, as much as I was trying to disengage, I also really felt I had something to say and that is this— I know “Brett Kavanaugh.” I went to school with lots of wealthy, white, entitled boys who were great students, excellent athletes and I know, first hand, that at least one of them also committed sexual assault. And as I finished saying that, he said this, “Well, I don’t understand it…that woman… she kept going back to the parties. She went there 10 times! I think she wanted to get raped.”
I haven’t stopped thinking about it since he said that to me. I am beside myself. I guess knowing people believe this bullshit is one thing. And having a man say it to my face is something else. My call to action is this: we have to come back to treating each other with respect. This isn’t ok. We can’t be so blinded by our beliefs that we have conversations that are verbally violent. And we have to vote on November 6. America has not been Made Great Again. The swamp has not been drained. And women do not want to get raped.