You're probably not surprised to learn that I'm not voting for Donald Trump.
If you think it's because I'm a Democrat, you're wrong. From the time I was old enough to register to vote, I have been unaffiliated. In past presidential elections, I have voted blue, I have voted red and I have voted third party.
I tend to avoid having deep political discussions. I don't put signs in my yard supporting candidates. I avoided taking political science classes in college. I loathe the months leading up to elections when we're bombarded with the meaningless messages from TV ads.
What I'm saying is that writing a political opinion piece is out of character for me. But candidate Trump is dangerous enough. I cannot imagine what damage President Trump could do to our country.
Why won't I vote for him? First, because I'm a woman and more importantly I'm the mother of two teenage daughters.
Self-esteem in young girls can be fragile. It's already under constant attack — from images in the world of what a "perfect" woman looks like to comments from their peers. The last thing young girls need is to be objectified by the leader of their country. Sadly, Trump has a long history of doing just that.
He was called out during the first debate about comments he made about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado — he referred to her as "Miss Piggy" when she gained weight. (He also called her "Miss Housekeeping" in reference to her Latin roots. That someone who wants to lead this country could make such off-hand racist comments is also incomprehensible, but my space here is limited and I can only cover so much.)
When Machado was crowned, she was under 120 pounds. In Trump's words she "gained a massive amount of weight" — at 5-foot-7 she reportedly weighed about 160 pounds. I checked, and that's right in the target for a healthy weight.
At this point a reasonable person might apologize and hope for the moment to pass. Instead, Trump took to Twitter and continued to objectify Machado, suggesting people check out her "sex tape." The video he refers to was a short scene from a Spanish-language reality show in which she starred. I'm no expert on sex tapes, but that's no sex tape. But even if it was a full-blown porn film, bringing that up in a pre-dawn tweet is still irrelevant.
I'm often told how beautiful my daughters are. While I agree (of course), I've worked continuously to make sure that they are never defined by their looks. From the time they were toddlers, when someone would say, "Oh look how pretty you are," I would chime in, "And smart!" All young girls should think of themselves as smart, hardworking, intelligent, giving, caring — never to be defined by their looks.
Trump's sexism doesn't end with words, as we learned last week with the release of a recording in which he talks about his approach with women. While being interviewed by Billy Bush in 2005 (for the entertainment news show Access Hollywood), Trump says that being a star allows him to do anything he wants. He said he's attracted to beautiful women, so he will just start kissing them. "Grab them by the p----, you can do anything."
Now, he says this was just "locker room banter." Except Donald, you weren't in a locker room, you were being interviewed by a national television show. And as many have pointed out, that's not an approach to dating, that's sexual assault. If he abused his power when he was a businessman and TV reality star, I'm afraid to think what he might do with the power of the presidency.
It might be easy to dismiss this as two isolated incidents, but they're not. A quick Google search results in decades of sexist statements, many of which have been published in his books.
Parents of young girls should be outraged. And so should parents of young boys. These might be rose-colored glasses I'm wearing, but the president of the United States should be a role model for our children.
While I don't go around telling people who to vote for, I always encourage people to educate themselves on the issues and vote.
I still won't tell you who to vote for, but I am asking you to join me in not voting for Donald Trump.