Maybe it just takes a Trump

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Su­san Estrich Su­san Estrich’s col­umn is dis­trib­uted by the Cre­ators syn­di­cate.

The emails started fly­ing around last week, from a gen­er­a­tion of women who never thought they’d live to do it. My friend Pam started it: She’s sur­vived two heart trans­plants, helped nom­i­nate the first woman on a ma­jor ticket, and yes, she just voted for a “Girl!”

Then there was “Z,” who broke ev­ery glass ceil­ing in tele­vi­sion news, and af­ter that they just kept on com­ing. We had not voted for a girl. We had voted for a woman of our gen­er­a­tion, a woman who never stopped push­ing, never stopped try­ing, a woman who de­fines per­se­ver­ance in all its forms — a woman who, with not too much luck, is about to be­come the first fe­male pres­i­dent of the United States.

So, no, I’m not telling you to vote for her just be­cause she’s a woman.

If you don’t agree with her on im­por­tant ques­tions of pol­icy, if you can find your way to be­lieve (and please, spare the rest of us the logic here) that Donald Trump is more qual­i­fied to be pres­i­dent: Then by all means, vote for the guy who pays no taxes, treats truth like a float­ing craps game, speaks more highly of Vladimir Putin than of his Demo­cratic op­po­nent, and treats obe­di­ence to the Con­sti­tu­tion and laws of the United States of Amer­ica as a “maybe yes, maybe no” ques­tion. Put gen­der aside al­to­gether, and if you think he is the bet­terqual­i­fied candidate for pres­i­dent of the United States, the man who is in the best po­si­tion to unite all of us and rep­re­sent us be­fore the world, vote for Donald Trump.

I re­mem­ber, years ago, Bos­ton Globe colum­nist Ellen Good­man in­ter­viewed the first woman to crack one of the last ceil­ings: Rhodes Schol­ar­ships. She was way younger than me; it was not so many years ago. Asked about dis­crim­i­na­tion, the young woman pro­fessed sur­prise and ig­no­rance: She had never been the vic­tim of dis­crim­i­na­tion, and she was not a fem­i­nist.

You don’t know whether to laugh or cry. On how many women’s shoul­ders do you stand, young woman — and you don’t even know it? She would find out, soon enough.

We have al­ways done best at achiev­ing equal­ity at the start­ing points in the job mar­kets. Take just one leave, just one pe­riod of part-time work (aka moth­er­hood), and the pay gap starts yawn­ing. Clin­ton is by no means the per­fect candidate but then nei­ther was her hus­band nor any­one named Bush. But need I add that it didn’t take a “Donald Trump” for any of them to win? For a while, I was not the only one on the email chain who wor­ried that we might be plan­ning to vote for a woman but a ma­jor­ity of the elec­torate would not, and that would be a hard re­sult to ex­plain with­out re­gard to gen­der.

And so there is a kind of just desserts in the fact that what has ul­ti­mately sunk the Donald bal­loon is not all the silly things he has said about Putin and hack­ing, not the Chi­nese steel for his build­ings or the fact that ev­ery one of us pays more in taxes than he does (although that does get me), not even his keep­ing us in sus­pense about the re­sults of the elec­tion: It was a gen­der is­sue, and it only ap­plied to him, not her. It is sex­ism all right — only it’s his, pure and sim­ple. It’s not whether Amer­i­cans are will­ing to ac­cept a woman as pres­i­dent but whether they’re will­ing to ac­cept a man who talks about women and treats women the way Donald Trump does.

We all knew sex­ism would be a ma­jor is­sue, but who knew Trump would give us a chance to face it in such stark form, to face it in a form where there can be only one an­swer?

I voted for a “girl,” and I’m keep­ing my fin­gers crossed. Maybe it just takes a Donald.

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