Caution: Women and Brown Folks at Work

Ladies, do you ever get the nagging feeling that, because of your girly-parts, you’re supposed to be a wellspring of opinions about children, fashion, and food? You’re expected to be alluring, while simultaneously toning yourself down so as not to offend those who might disagree. Mind your words, prima donna. Catch-phrase your message; make it quick; and stay neatly in your corner.

Sorry, but no. I have a vagina and, coincidentally, have birthed a child, but I don’t have much to say about skinny jeans or what’s for dinner. What I do have — in the realm of motherly, nurturing instincts — is rage.

I have unbridled fury that we, as a nation, have reached a point where a presidential candidate can squander our precious time and energy, polluting our minds and our kids’ minds with derogatory comments about women’s bodies and worthiness; divisive border walls that won’t ever be built; and braggadocios claims about how “smart” he is for not paying taxes on millions, or maybe billions, of dollars while the rest of us (who can scarcely afford it) pay our fair share for the good of the union.

Roads and bridges are crumbling under our feet. 6-year-old kids are being shot and killed on playgrounds by sick individuals with easy access to guns and zero access to mental health care. Climate change is feeding hurricanes, floods, and drought. Members of our military and their families are going without the support they need, and countless numbers of us are going bankrupt trying to pay for health insurance and higher education.

Maybe it’s my uterus talking, but it seems to me that the choice before us is far more significant than who will lead us over the next four years. We are deciding who we want to be.

Will we be a place where refugees, single moms, and African American men can lay their heads to heal and rest, or will we allow violent outbursts, petty bullying, and total denial of the facts to become commonplace?

Are we so afraid of putting a woman in the white house — who is fundamentally qualified for the job — that we will choose a self-aggrandizing, entitled, misogynistic, undereducated pickpocket instead?

I don’t think so.

The haters do a pretty good job of terrifying a small but vocal minority who clearly see their stronghold on power slipping away, but that tiny uprising pales in comparison to the onslaught of smart, capable lady-types and dark-skinned folks getting ready to roll on into town. It’s cloudy with a chance of diversity, y’all.

Just like Hillary in her hearings and debates, and like moms everywhere with screaming toddlers, all we have to do is wait the little tyrants out while they throw their tantrums and tuck them into bed when they exhaust themselves.

And vote. We must vote.

Women’s voices — and the strong men who recognize the profound value in those voices — will be the salvation of this country. Women’s wisdom cannot and will not be marginalized any longer, and our bodies, in everything from stilettos to overalls, will carry those voices. The principles of mothering will pull us through: sustenance, education, engagement, kindness, discipline, and cultivation of life-giving creativity.

So raise your fist, Elizabeth Warren. Sport those polka dot grandma shorts, Lena Dunham, while lending your megaphone to artists and advocates in need of volume. And Tig Notaro, thank you kindly for taking your shirt off on national TV to show us all what cancer and comedy look like all mixed up together.

Women have something to say about a whole lot of everything — enriched by womanhood but not defined by it.

Change is a-coming, and those seeking to stem the tide best step out of the way. The brown-skinned folks, ladies with their lady-brains, queers, kids, and mavericks will not be silenced. We will rage with compassion and open-hearted acceptance until every last sniveling senator still supporting racist or sexist ideals (or candidates) goes slithering back to their peaceful homes — where butch Aunt Brenda will be waiting, lasagna in hand, ready to sooth their wounded souls, in spite of the pain and suffering they have inflicted on those who dare to be different.

We will heal as a nation in the strong arms and under the steady wisdom of the disenfranchised. Women and minorities will bring the only change that really matters... a fresh perspective steeped in our shared humanity. It’s a slow march, but if we show up on Election Day, we will not be beat. Take heart. There are more of us than there are of them.

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