My open letter to the Daily Herald

The front page of Friday’s Daily Herald (10/14/16) featured a story titled “Trump alleges ‘conspiracy’ behind claims," in which you gave uncritical publicity to Donald Trump’s demagogic and unsubstantiated paranoia. Late in the same story, you included two paragraphs on page 11 (with no headline) referring to Michelle Obama’s brave, emotional, and true speech the same day rejecting Trump’s hatred. The First Lady’s speech deserved to be heard by every American. Sadly, you and other media chose instead to give Trump more undeserved publicity and a forum for his destructive lies.

I’ve heard it said that Trump’s ravings are more “newsworthy” than what reasonable people say. Really? Weren’t these statements newsworthy?

And now, here I am, out on the campaign trail in an election where we have consistently been hearing hurtful, hateful language about women -- language that has been painful for so many of us, not just as women, but as parents trying to protect our children and raise them to be caring, respectful adults, and as citizens who think that our nation’s leaders should meet basic standards of human decency. 

The fact is that in this election, we have a candidate for President of the United States who, over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign, has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning that I simply will not repeat anything here today.  And last week, we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women.  And I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for President of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.  

And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this.  It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted.  So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.  

This is not something that we can ignore.  It’s not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season.  Because this was not just a “lewd conversation.”  This wasn’t just locker-room banter.  This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV.

And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn’t an isolated incident.  It’s one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life.  And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I’m sure that many of you do too, particularly the women.  The shameful comments about our bodies.  The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect.  The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman.  
But, New Hampshire, be clear:  This is not normal.  This is not politics as usual.  This is disgraceful.  It is intolerable.  And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to -- Democrat, Republican, independent -- no woman deserves to be treated this way.  None of us deserves this kind of abuse. 

And I know it’s a campaign, but this isn’t about politics.  It’s about basic human decency.  It’s about right and wrong.   And we simply cannot endure this, or expose our children to this any longer -- not for another minute, and let alone for four years.  (Applause.)  Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say enough is enough. This has got to stop right now.  

Because consider this:  If all of this is painful to us as grown women, what do you think this is doing to our children?  What message are our little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act?  What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings, about their dreams and aspirations?  And how is this affecting men and boys in this country?  Because I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this.  And I know that my family is not unusual.  And to dismiss this as everyday locker-room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere.
You and your readers should watch the entire, 28-minute speech at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ45VLgbe_E. If you don’t have the time or patience to watch it, you can read it at http://go.wh.gov/TTD1rb or watch excerpts at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_gd7qbwLYc.
It has long been said that either you are a part of the problem or a part of the solution. Sadly, the Daily Herald and other media have chosen to be part of the problem by giving Trump the publicity that empowers him while ignoring people telling the truth.

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