Dear Messrs. Trump and Pence,
It looks as if you've managed to get yourself elected President and Vice President of the United States. Leaving aside entirely what that means for our country, because much is unknown about a man with no political experience whatsoever leaving aside Mr. Pence's record, too much about your opinions is known for me not to say something. So here is what I pledge to do for the next four years. Because even though this is an open letter to you, first I have a few things to say to some friends of mine, so I crave your patience.
1) I promise to honor the memories of the women who suffered before my time by not allowing myself to be discouraged or trampled by opinions that seek to diminish my voice. I'll remember that Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, "Every truth we see is ours to give the world, not to keep for ourselves alone, for in doing so we cheat humanity out of their rights and check our own development." When tempted to remove myself from battles of politics and social justice and female reproductive health, I'll remember that yesterday I was able to cast my vote proudly for a female President, and that Elizabeth never voted at all. Because of countless women like her and others before and after, I started work when I was sixteen, graduated college, and have my own career. If I'm tempted to hide, I'll work instead, to make sure every woman gets the same opportunities, and when my fellow ladies are discouraged, I promise to try my best to help lift them up. When I'm in the mud, because I know I will be at some point going forward through this quagmire, I promise to ask them for help. Because we are no less mighty today than yesterday and we must remember that.
2) In every way, I will defend American principles of religious tolerance and freedom to worship as we please--out of sincere patriotism, yes, but out of common decency and respect for others, ten times more. Whether this means standing by our Muslim American brothers and sisters or it means reminding people that God is love, I will love. Because if I believe in anything about God with a hundred percent of my soul, I believe in the divinity and supreme injunction to love, and if I am criticized by anyone for doing that when it comes to certain creeds, I'll welcome it, because I know that Islamic Americans have more to struggle against every day. Every creed from every nation yearning to breathe free: you are welcome here. In my house, at my table, eating my cooking.
3) I'm going to continue to honor the men of courage in my life who are feminists--my husband and my father and my brother and every man I have the privilege to call a true friend. When they can assist, I'll call on them, and I ask now: please offer help where you see the need for it. Don't be silent. So many of you are already so vocal, but when it comes to nebulous excuses of "locker room talk" and vilifying victims especially, please make noise, as you are gentlemen. We cherish and depend on you, and I'm reminded of Gloria Steinem saying, "Though we have the courage to raise our daughters more like our sons, we've rarely had the courage to raise our sons like our daughters." Be Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Be Inspector Quillfeather. Be Timothy Wilde. You are half the human race, and I love you very much.
4) In any skirmish where freedom of the press is threatened, I will get louder. To those of you who know me--there will be swearing. It will be colorful. To all the journalists including perhaps especially the satirical ones who are fighting for sanity, I am with you. None of this is funny. But humans laugh at pain, and whether it takes in-depth story coverage or raunchy parody, I will never stop respecting your work, even when I criticize some of its modern trends.
5) The LGBTQ community will have my undying support and every resource at my disposal, whenever needed. This is not just difficult, it's frightening, especially following great advances, and don't think I mean to diminish that. But be assured of this: if fighting for expanded rights is our arena, I am in it. If fighting to maintain already won rights is our arena, I am in it. And if fighting to regain rights lost through bitter tears is our arena, I am in it. You need never question that for an instant.
6) People of color, the ones I love and the ones I don't know: your lives matter. The lives of immigrants finding new paths matter. The lives of black men systematically ruined by incarceration, racism, and gun violence matter. The lives of women of color who battle so hard and so brilliantly to change communities matter. You matter to me.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence: we are not more divided in this country than ever before. There was an event called the Civil War, and it was about slavery and systematized oppression, and hundreds of thousands of good men died. But we are divided, and I want you to know something.
I am not afraid of you.
I am not afraid of you.
I am not afraid of you.