I feel a strange sort of kinship with Donald Trump: my entire writing career has been built on people who support me privately, but not in public.
I’ll never forget the time I found a Southwest Airlines stewardess reading one of my books. I had walked to the bathroom in the back of the plane, only to find it occupied. So I found myself standing in the aisle, sandwiched between two flight attendants on my right who were busying themselves with drinks, and one on my left who was crouched down in a corner.
I happened to look down, and I could see the distinct green outline of The Flipside of Feminism.
I smiled, and asked her: “Is that a good book?”
She looked up as though she’d been caught doing something wrong. When I told her I am the author of the book, she looked at me for a few moments and then checked the photo on the book jacket. Then she smiled from ear to ear and instantly relaxed. She told me:
I can’t let my friends know I’m reading this book.
So she reads it in private, she said.
That exchange is a perfect example of political correctness — the idea that there’s a “right” way to think and a “wrong” way to think — run amok. And last week Donald J. Trump blasted this phenomenon wide open.
The 2016 election proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our country is divided into two groups: the elite, most of whom are liberal-minded and thus think the “right” way, and everyday folks, most of whom are right-leaning and thus think the “wrong” way.
This narrative has been used to silence women.
In “The misogyny apocalypse,” Amanda Marcotte wrote the following in response to the election results:
Many of us believe — or fear — that huge swaths of women are in secret rebellion, that their outward submission belies a heart that believes that women are equal. But it’s actually simpler for women to accede not just their outward behavior, but their hearts, to this sexist system.
Marcotte’s rhetoric, which is promulgated throughout the country on a regular basis, is precisely the reason that attendant was reading my book in private. If she dared show the world she doesn’t subscribe to Marcotte’s feminist ideology, she’d be shamed.
What last week’s election proved is that millions of Americans have been crouching in the corner all these years — just like that flight attendant.
They’ve been hiding.
And now they’ve come out from behind the curtain. They saw a leader who, despite his garish flaws, made it socially acceptable to stand up for what they believe in — and to be proud of it.
As it happens, I received an email after the election from a reader named Casey, who had just read several of my books after hearing me on a radio program. She writes:
Thank you for the voice you’ve given me. I often feel like I’ve been shipwrecked at sea and am clinging to the raft of my ideals, hoping a boat of likeminded women might come alongside me or I’ll see a lighthouse on the horizon with likeminded women waving me to shore. I cannot be the only one who feels this way.
Clearly, she isn’t.