A lot of women are hurting right now. The 2016 election was supposed to be a turning point, a final, cathartic cap to centuries spent pushing, clawing, sprinting toward change. But instead of crowning our first female president and shattering the ever-impenetrable glass ceiling, we’re preparing to welcome a man with deep roots in misogyny, racism, and xenophobia to office. Many men have offered their empathy to a battle well fought, and questioned how they can support us as we continue to drive forward. That roadmap is beautifully articulated in Aaron Sorkin’s letter to his daughter on Donald Trump’s presidency. On Thursday, the writer-producer, best known for his work on celebrated films like A Few Good Men and The Social Network, published a poignant note to his 15-year-old daughter, Roxy, in Vanity Fair. The message is important for a variety of reasons, and is worthwhile reading for those affected most immediately by our new America — but especially for allies searching for answers.
In a sea of celebrities looking forward, Sorkin is getting fired up. It’s necessary to grapple with where we can go from here, but it’s also critical to stay angry, to reject Trump’s ideologies, and to fight fervently against them. “It wasn’t just Donald Trump who won last night — it was his supporters too,” Sorkin wrote. “The Klan won last night. White nationalists. Sexists, racists, and buffoons. Angry young white men who think rap music and Cinco de Mayo are a threat to their way of life… have been given cause to celebrate. Men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration struck a blow for misogynistic sh*theads everywhere. Hate was given hope.”
Sorkin turned that fire into fuel for the future. He shows
that this is not a struggle for women — or religious minorities or people of
color or members of the LGBTQ community — to fight alone, but a call to arms for our entire
country. He tells us to remember we are not alone, to get out of bed, to get
involved, and to “f*cking fight,” because “America didn’t stop being America
last night, and we didn’t stop being Americans."
Trump’s largest advocates are his white supporters — white women, unfortunately, included — and while many who voted for him do not believe in his hateful rhetoric, they did look past it and elect him to office. That was a jolting revelation for many, and now, more than ever, is the time to ensure we’re not blindsided again. As Sorkin tells his daughter,
“The battle isn’t over, it’s just begun. Grandpa fought in World War II and when he came home this country handed him an opportunity to make a great life for his family. I will not hand his granddaughter a country shaped by hateful and stupid men. Your tears last night woke me up, and I’ll never go to sleep on you again.”
I’ll keep my own letter short and sweet: Dear America, please wake up.