Wed, Jan. 22

Letter: Quit needling me for wearing safety pin


For some weeks now I’ve been wearing a little steel safety pin when I go out in public. Only that- no slogan-bearing T shirts or caps. Just a little steel safety pin. It’s been interesting.

Most people don’t even seem to notice it. I expected that. A few see it, catch my eye, smile and nod in quiet agreement. A few have asked me what it is for. And then there have been the, well, I can only call them haters. Because that is what they’ve shown me.

These folks see that little pin, and their faces betray their rage at the sight of it. Then they edge a bit closer, turn their backs to me (!) and begin their tirade. About how they simply despise un-American, politically correct, libtard etc etc expletive deleted....

I don’t engage. I don’t reply. I go on about my business, while their passive-aggressive tantrums run on and eventually down. If I thought for a moment that they’d actually listen, I’d tell them a bit about me, and my little steel safety pin. How it is not a statement against them, or America, or even Trump, so much as a statement FOR peace, unity, kindness, and what used to be known as common decency. That I, as a woman who has been a witness to, and on the receiving end of bigotry, misogyny, and violence will not stand by silently while watching it happen to anyone else. Not ANYONE. Including them!

If I saw any one of them harass or mistreat another person, I would step in. I’d intervene, I’d call the police, I’d do whatever I had to, to stop a hate crime in progress. By the same token, if saw someone harassing or intimidating them, targeting them with hate, I would step in to defend them. It goes both ways. Hate and bigotry and violence a re not o kay. Not ever.

All over this town, I’ve seen those yard signs and big flags, bumper stickers and T shirts and hats, proclaiming Trump’s presence.

Sometimes right alongside confederate flags. Sometimes alongside even uglier things. These are horrifying to me, anathema to the greatest degree. But they are also protected by your right to free speech, protected by law. My solution? I look away. I avert my eyes, and say yet another silent prayer. For you, for me, for our nation.

If you find my little steel safety pin so disturbing, maybe you could try doing the same. Because I plan to keep wearing it for at least the next four years.

Desiree Valenzuela


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