Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Tightrope Walker

In an interview last week in Rolling Stone magazine, Donald Trump said the following about you. Quote, "Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?" Mr. Trump later said he was talking about your persona, not your appearance. Please feel free to respond what you think about his persona.

You are running for President of the United States; the number of women who have done this on a serious level in the 239-year history of this country can be counted on one hand. You are not qualified—no, really, you aren't—but you are exactly as qualified as the current front-runner of your party. And you are smarter, and more articulate, and more poised than he is. You have excellent recall, and you are the only candidate in the second national debate who repeatedly, and only, talks about America, not about the circus that your party's nomination has become.

And then, he asks you that. That question, that odious question, the one you knew he would ask, the one you prepped for, the one you treated nonchalantly in that prep. He asked you the question about what he said. You know it's not a serious question, that you are thrust into the role of the tightrope walker because P.T. Barnum promised that he had a great one waiting backstage. But you are a serious woman, a serious candidate, and so you answer.

Are you humiliated? Are you humiliated that you are the only candidate to be put in this position—that could are the only candidate who could be put in this position? Are you humiliated that once again, as has happened before at your desk, then at your cubicle, and in rooms where you are interviewed, and in rooms where you eventually interview others, and in careless remarks at meetings, that it comes to this again? To your face, to your sex, to what so many of—please don't believe it's all—the men who have faced you in the boardroom have considered, your appeal? Is the teenage girl who looked in the mirror in 1968 and thought what so many teenage girls think about the way they look—is she there tonight, and is she shrinking?

Or are you angry? Are you angry that should you suddenly defeat all the odds and you are facing her next year, that the question of your face will haunt you, haunt you both, that there will be memes of your worst possible facial contortion alongside hers? Are you angry that when you next meet up with women with whom you share a quiet understanding of what it's like to be at the very, very top of your game, they might want to discuss this? Are you angry that you are dancing backward and in high heels and that it still comes down to how good you look in your ballgown?

Or do you look out, and do you quiet whatever you feel—my amateur guesses, as much as I wish I didn't instinctively reach for the first of these, are humiliation and anger, for that is what I felt, sitting here tonight, watching you having to answer a ridiculous question based on a ridiculous statement from a ridiculous man—and say to America, I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said?

And once you have said it, and once you have ended the conversation: Ms. Fiorina, please tell me that from even from the couch of someone who disagrees with you on policy, the economy, civil rights, reproductive rights, capital punishment, gun control, health care, and pretty much everything else—you know that tonight, you won.

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