It is Youngest whom I want most of all to understand. He who has become so wrapped up in the election hysteria, watching debates as intently as I do and keeping up on the news nearly as much. He who wears his Trump T-shirt and enjoys entirely too much the interactions he has while wearing it. The fact that we know he wears it as an ironic statement does almost nothing for my disapproval of his wearing it. And, while I recognize that I am the adult in this relationship, I let him continue to wear it and fight his battles. I will value his political engagement and set aside the rest.
Or maybe I won't.
He said to me last night that it is inexcusable that the Trump sexual harassment accusers waited as long as 30 years to speak up. He completely discounts the Jessica Leeds's story about her encounter with Trump on the plane. He can't imagine anyone not speaking up at the time.
But I can imagine it. I lived it. For more than a year, more than a decade ago, I was harassed by a man in a position of power. And I did nothing about it as a means of self-preservation. I needed the job. I hated being in the situation I was in, no doubt about it. But I sucked it up. A number of us did. There really felt like there was no recourse.
Ultimately, when he went way too far with another woman, it all came crashing down. And you know what happened to him? Nothing. Sure, corporate sent him for a bit of counseling and he gave up drinking (at least around any employees for awhile). And he continued to run the company. And he continued to make me uncomfortable until I finally had the chance to leave.
Dear Youngest, it happens. The strongest women among us suck it up because we see what happens when we don't. Nothing.
It's time to bin the Trump shirt, honey.