When influential men like Donald Trump are accused of sexual assault, harassment or rape, and their positions of power are threatened as a result, we’re told it’s all a “witch hunt.” But Lindy West co-opted that insult — “Sure, if you insist, it’s a witch hunt,” she wrote in the New York Times. “I’m a witch, and I’m hunting you.” Now that Sen. Kamala D. Harris has been named Joe Biden’s running mate, Trump, a man infamous for bullying people from behind the presidential pulpit, warned the American public that Harris is “extraordinarily nasty,” “so angry” and “the meanest” senator. The president, who now faces a considerable threat to his ability to hold onto the power of the Oval Office, told us to be wary of the “madwoman” vying for the vice presidency.
Guess what, Mr. President? We are the mad women. And we’re coming for you.
When working moms were shouldering more parenting responsibilities even before a global pandemic took hold of the United States, we were mad. And now that we are forced to either send our children to school in the midst of a public health crisis that has already claimed the lives of over 170,000 Americans, or continue juggling the added responsibility of facilitating home schooling while working remotely and sacrificing more work hours than dads to do it, we’re even madder.
When women make up the majority of essential workers and roughly 1 in 5 essential workers have contemplated suicide during the pandemic, we’re mad. When 30 percent of women without kids and 34 percent of moms report being psychologically distressed as a result of covid-19, meanwhile you’ve spent your presidency consistently attempting to cut mental health funding, we’re mad.
When we’re watching our parents or grandparents die in nursing homes and saying final goodbyes to ailing partners, siblings or friends by phone as many die alone in hospitals while you post smiling selfies from an overpriced golf resort, we’re mad. When our Black and brown communities are being disproportionately impacted by a virus you and your administration chose to ignore because it was, early on, hitting blue states the hardest, we’re irate.
When GOP politicians and right-wing talking heads are more outraged over two Black women unapologetically celebrating their love of sex than they are over the fact that thousands upon thousands of Americans have died from a virus their Republican president claimed would “disappear ... like a miracle,” we’re incensed.
When, in the midst of a pandemic, Republican lawmakers are more concerned with curtailing access to safe, affordable and legal abortion than they are addressing the ongoing maternal mortality crisis, we’re mad. When old White men care more about zygotes than the lives of Sha-Asia Washington, Amber Isaac, Kira Johnston and all the Black mothers who are 3 to 4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than White women, we’re enraged.
When you wished longtime Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell “well,” despite the fact that she is accused of helping Epstein sexually abuse girls, we were raging. When we watched you endorse and defend accused child molester Roy Moore when he was running for Senate, we honestly couldn’t believe it. (Then again, you have been accused of sexual misconduct, including groping and rape, by more than 20 women, so perhaps it was no surprise.)
Of course, not every woman in this country is mad. There are plenty of women — White women, in particular — who are happy to survive off the siphoned privilege of their male counterparts; who confuse proximity to power with actual power; who vote against their best interests, believing the patriarchy and white supremacy will always protect them.
But even the number of White women happy with your presidency, sir, is dwindling. Polls show that women favor Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 23 percentage points, and that was before Harris joined the ticket. And that’s what really keeps you up at night isn’t it, Mr. President? That the 52 percent of White women who carried you into office in 2016 is eroding, bit by angry “suburban housewife” bit.
If Harris is a mad woman, it’s because you, your administration and the Republicans who support you have given her plenty to be mad about. But she is not alone in her righteous indignation. We are furious behind and alongside her. And we’re the mad women you should worry about, Mr. President.
Women stormed Washington in historic numbers the day after you took office. We voted at higher rates than men in the 2018 midterm election and now hold more seats in Congress than ever before. We’ve formed walls between protesters and brutal police officers and rushed to the border to reunite the immigrant families you separated. Like the Black and brown women among us who have been doing the vital and perpetually overlooked work of ridding this country of your ilk long before you rose to power, we have no plans of stopping, either.