Believe Me. I Am Not A Man Hater.

The Donald has shown us the truth of his heart more times than I can count, and yet we refused to believe it. Even after seeing his disdain for women, the disabled, Mexicans, Muslims, people of any color other than white—live and in person—we didn’t believe. We preferred the fantasy of a press who had “twisted” his words or taken him out of context or were liberal and therefore unreliable. Believe it when people show you who they are. Why have we refused to believe Donald? My theory is pretty basic. Our culture, the one we call the Shining City on the Hill, produced him. Our love of stuff and a perceived toughness, over the love of virtues like kindness and compassion produced him. Our centuries of denigrating women, people of color and those who don’t achieve the American dream produced him. We have no more excuses. We have to look, because dammit people, he is SHOWING us his True Self.

The time for explanations is over. If he had a difficult childhood, or an incident that created him in this image, I hope he finds psychological and spiritual help.

But right now, the damage he is doing is nearly irreparable.

Donald is a product, in his own words, of the locker room. The question to ponder is: “where is that locker room?” Several memories came up in me. First was the scene in the movie “Philadelphia” where Tom Hanks’ character is sitting in the sauna with his law partners as they bond by joking about homosexuality. It was so painful, and at that time took me back to a dinner at a well-known Country Club in Hillsborough County when my middle daughter was in college.

The conversation had turned to some fraternity boys who not only raped an unconscious woman at a party, but dragged her from one place to another to “share” her. One man at the table posed the usual question of responsibility of the woman for being there in the first place and for drinking enough to pass out. After all, boys will be boys and the punishment of the fraternity would impact their lives! This was one of those rare moments when I saw with total clarity how men used the excuse that they were incapable of controlling themselves, therefore women were responsible.

It was the same message I had gotten from the nuns. It was always our responsibility to not EVER be in a place where a boy, or his father, could take advantage because there was no doubt he would. I got physically sick at that meal as my whole world shifted. I was hearing the voice of the Country Club locker room, the men’s club, the privileged ones. It was the early 80s and my consciousness had been raised, but this conversation is seared into my memory. Nothing had changed. In 2016 a candidate for President of the United States—think about that!—blames sexual assault in the military on women in the military. Again, a man is assuring us of the weakness of men. In 2016, no different from the frat boys of the 80s, judges are refusing to send white males to prison for rape because it would “ruin their lives.”

Donald’s vocal inflections, his and host Billy Bush’s vulgar words and sickening laughs, told women like me that misogyny and vulgarity were alive and well and our mothers, daughters and sisters were still in danger. Having a woman candidate for president brought it to the surface as surely as racism waved its flag—literally—when Barrack and Michelle Obama came on the scene. Until this election I had not been exposed to the gross obscene internet sites that showed Michelle and her daughters as chimpanzees and worse. When I seemed naïve, refusing to believe that this was my America, well-meaning friends sent me some of this horrifying content to prove my ignorance. What it did was make me sick. Soul sickness can take you down as quickly as physical illness. As a grief counselor, I knew what was happening to me but had to name it.

The psychic memory, seared into the DNA of all women and girls, warns us when we are getting close to the Truth. The Inquisition murdered men and women, but the worst holocaust ever known continued as the Witch Hunts. Millions of women were tortured, drowned and burned, sometimes in front of their children. All of this memory lives on in our cellular bodies. Donald’ behavior “reminds” of us something, and like me, we go back to childhood and young womanhood. But it goes so much further. Our schools never taught us about the souls who died in the women’s holocaust, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know. We know every time someone like Donald snickers, points his finger, denies a job without a couch interview or we view the statistics on incest. He has turned over the log and it cannot be put back in place. The question now is: “What do we do about it?”

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them; the first time!” Maya Angelou

Donald has shown us. For decades, many women have been good troopers, team players and oh so nice. Or they become masculine versions of themselves. Why? Because those who didn’t follow the rules paid the price and we saw it. Don’t gain weight! Don’t raise your voice! It must be because you’re having your period. Don’t take off your high heels, or we’ll comment on your health. And, for God’s sake, don’t run for office. The courage it takes to speak out is huge, but I am now seeing the strength and voice of women like Ana Navarro, a frequent Republican contributor on CNN and MSNBC. She is steely, focused and emotionally sound and she is out front. I encourage all women to believe they will be supported if they stand up. Look how many years it took Bill Cosby’s victims to come forward. We cannot countenance this anymore. And if, perchance, you decide that I am a man-hater, anyone who knows me knows better. The conversation we need to have cannot be presented as a one-up argument. The future of our moral fiber is at stake here. To speak is to care and to care is to make change. Please don’t make light of this. Good men and women are coming forward. Join them in any way you can. Then Donald will have served a purpose on this planet.