So, Jim, is that you in the profile picture? Are you/were you in law enforcement? About ten years ago, my older sister worked her tail off to become a police officer, now in her 50’s, a Sergeant. Her skills outpaced around 10 well-seasoned male officers wanting that position, which an external company was hired to select the best candidate for, in order to avoid any appearance of internal bias.

My sister is pretty badass, a “pistol” — that’s what I call her. About 100 lbs soaking wet, all solid muscle. She got all the good genes! Throughout middle and high school, she stayed busy as a cheerleader, and quickly mastered the ranks & all belts of Shotokan karate. Later she took up Taekwondo, achieving her 3rd degree black belt. She had an entire room in her apartment dedicated to housing her many 1st place tournament trophies, several of which were 3 columns wide and 6 ft. tall.

Suffice it to say, I’m proud of her.

What I’m most proud of, though, is her integrity. She’s faced many profound obstacles in her life. Her ability to maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn, ridicule — indeed, at all times, but especially when challenged. She wholeheartedly respects the constitutional rights of all people to liberty, justice, and equality — including my 13 year old transgender child, her former “nephew.”

She and her husband who’s retired (and comes from a long line of law enforcement), both recognize the badge of their respective offices as a symbol of public faith and public trust. I know that my sister has incredible self-restraint, always has. She doesn’t allow any personal feelings or prejudices to influence her decisions and actions, including anything she might post online in her spare time, which would have the potential to be seen by the world at large. And she would certainly refrain from attempting to insult a civilian, whether in person or online, even if it was deserved.

If that is you in the picture, and you’re in (or were in) law enforcement, I would assume you’d be a lot like my sister. Instead, your commentary here reveals someone different, and unfortunately, plays right into the “bad cop” narrative.

Still, the same rights I enjoy as an American — freedom of speech among them — are your rights as well, and I fully support you getting to voice them.

To address your points, though: yes, I do want “different leadership.” And yes, I am working hard, just like I did last election, to make a difference: helping folks find out who their representatives are & how to contact them, encouraging & helping people register to vote, giving them rides to polling places, and helping to educate the community with facts, figures, and statistics.

Democrats win elections in my county & surrounding counties more overwhelmingly with each passing year. I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’ve seen this area turn from deep red, to purple, to blue. Which is a pretty significant feat when the deck is stacked against you because of gerrymandering that’s done with “surgical precision.” That we were still able to vote out our last Republican governor — the first Governor in our state’s history to not get re-elected for a 2nd term since the dissolution of the Whig party in the 1800s — despite the gerrymandering & voter suppression tactics, is an honest to goodness triumph I still can’t fathom, but appreciate with all my heart.

So, don’t worry. We are working hard; we’ve got this covered.

You admittedly made a choice to “be quiet” during the last administration, and you’re now telling me to do the same, presumably thanking me in advance. But remaining quiet was your choice. It is not mine. I choose to not be silent or quiet in the face of blatant racism, transphobia, islamophobia, fear mongering, actual fake news & propaganda, and overall stupidity.

If you don’t like reading stuff that criticizes those in power (which is our right and even our duty, if we truly want to be a well-functioning democracy), then you should be aware that you also have the right to not read that stuff; you can just keep scrolling. Or you can leave drive-by insults. But that doesn’t do anything to prompt dialogue.

And lastly, it’s 2019; you ought to know better than to tell a woman to “be quiet.” If you’re married to a woman who’s more the passive or subserviant type, maybe this is what you’re used to. Maybe you’re more used to being head of the household, alpha male, the “father knows best” stereotype.

Maybe you are the stereotypical face of the trumpism movement: an NRA card-carrying member who seems to care more about your 2nd amendment right than all the other constitutional rights combined; a church-going “Christian” who’s active in the church on weekends, but then goes about the other weekdays spewing hatred, spreading gossip or bad-mouthing coworkers, trolling people online, calling liberals “snowflakes,” and anyone they perceive as being weak, “sissies.” Which is misogynistic at best. You know, just doing things that Jesus absolutely wouldn’t approve of…

Someone who cares way too much about their external appearance, who thinks every younger generation is worse than the one before it, and thinks the “gay agenda” or “trans agenda” is a thing that involves motives beyond wanting a normal life and to simply be treated like a human being. Someone who abhors change, lives for Fox News or Breitbart or Rush Limbaugh or James Woods, and breathes fear-mongering as much as oxygen. Someone in perpetual paranoia of “they’re coming to take our guns!!” when in fact, no one is trying to do that.

Being an advocate for #BlueLivesMatter while at the same time failing to understand why #BlackLivesMatter(too), and why they even needed to start this movement to begin with. Someone who’s unwilling to have that dialogue with actual people of color because they think it’s all bullshit anyway, and everyone should just “pull themselves up by the bootstraps.” Someone who has no concept of systemic racism, but thinks racism is all gone now because we don’t have black slaves in literal chains on our property today. Or because we had that one black president. Again, without having taken the time to just sit and listen to communities full of POC...

Someone who’s suspicious of everyone’s motives, and who sees themselves, their party, and their religion as some kind of besieged minority, the real victims in society. The real oppressed ones who get “crucified,” when in actuality, their version of Christianity is the majority religion practiced in this country — if there’s any doubt, all one has to do is walk down Main St. of any town, America during December, and see every storefront and parking lot bedecked with expressions of one of the most sacred “Christian” holidays: Christmas…

You know, I have a lot of Jewish friends, and I’ve never once heard one of them complain, “Man, this sucks. Nothing but Christmas everywhere. No menorahs. I can’t even say ‘happy hanukkah’ around here!” Nope. They don’t complain about that stuff. Because it’s not important in the greater scheme of things.

Or maybe, this isn’t you at all.

Regardless of who you are, you don’t get to silence women. Ever. Though I will fully support your constitutional right to speak whatever words you like, you don’t get to assume your words can make women shut up. At the very least, walk a mile in my shoes first.

Be well.

Covering the intersection of culture, politics & equality. GenX. Mom of 3. Bylines: HuffPost, PopSugar, Scary Mommy; heard on NPR, SiriusXM, LTYM, TIFO podcast.

Covering the intersection of culture, politics & equality. GenX. Mom of 3. Bylines: HuffPost, PopSugar, Scary Mommy; heard on NPR, SiriusXM, LTYM, TIFO podcast.