Taken from A Hopeful Act in a Perilous time
When I was four years old my father broke my femur. I believe he meant to kill me, and for the next fourteen years it became my mother's job to try to keep him from getting another chance. Needless to say, my childhood home was nervous at best and terrifying at worst, and it turned me into a woman who always takes notice when a man threatens a woman's life.
My father said to me often, “Pam, one of these days you are going to wake up and realize you spend your whole life lying in the gutter with someone else’s foot on your neck.” It was the closest thing he had to a world view. Looked at a certain way my entire life has been dedicated to making his words untrue.
Maybe its because I grew up in my father’s house that I can see Trump so clearly for what he is. A desperately insecure bully, with no moral center--no center of any kind really--who feels momentarily powerful only when he is able to break those unlucky enough to step into his path.
Trump has already vowed to destroy (or threatens by his very being) every single thing about my life that I value: the remaining wilderness, diversity of all kinds, education, art, animal rights, choice, affordable health care, compassion, tolerance, honesty, hard work, kindness, peace. I have not lived well these 54 years just to end up with a sociopathic narcissist’s foot on my neck.
So I dedicate my No-Trump Vote to my four year-old self, smiling bravely for the camera in her 3/4 body cast, and for every little girl who lays awake at night in her room afraid, and to Hillary Clinton, who has dedicated much of her life to the betterment of girls and women, and who each day puts on her bulletproof vest and stands up for us all.
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PAM HOUSTON is the author of two novels, Contents May Have Shiftedand Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton. Her stories have been selected for volumes of The O. Henry Awards, The 2013 Pushcart Prize, and Best American Short Stories of the Century. She teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and directs the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande and is at work on a book about that place.