Saturday, November 19, 2016

EVOLUTION OF A FEMINIST, a guest blog by Leila Gough

I am not a feminist.  I have never been a feminist. Sure I have experienced harassment and discrimination in my career, but I have always just ignored it. I was hired in the investment business in 1981.  At the time there were two of us applying for the job.  A male with no college degree but sales experience (car sales) and me with a college degree and no sales experience.  I was 22 years old.

In the securities industry, when you are hired to be an advisor, you are given a desk to study for the Series 7 exam for three months.  Pass the test, move on; fail, you are let go.  The male was given the desk to study.  I was hired, but as clerical help with the proviso that I could study at night, or when things were slow and if I passed I too could get a desk.  We both passed the exam and I was given a desk.  Instead of being angry, my narrative was that because I had done some clerical work, I understood how to get things done for my clients right from the beginning.  

A few years later I was working late afternoon in the office as were others.  The manager walked by and grabbed my ass.  Yes, just grabbed my ass.  I did nothing.  I don't even think I told my husband.

Fast forward to the 1990s, I am in a conference room, full of men (it is after all, a male dominated business) waiting to hear from our new regional manager.  I was in the front of the room.  He walks in, looks at me and says, "I wonder what you had to do to get that ring."  I said, “get married.”

None of these incidents in my career has made me change my point of view about feminism.  For years I have watched the sons of business owners get handed the business on a silver platter.  Or the advisor who doesn't always have his clients’ best interests at heart get the corner office. Or the less qualified male get the managerial job over a qualified female. This is just the way the world works.

But then something happened the day after the election.  There are a dozen TVs in our office, but only one in the office of a female advisor who happens to be my business partner.  Hillary Clinton was giving her concession speech and I went in to watch. In addition to my partner, three female admins were also watching. We watched in silence as she gave her speech.  Kleenex was passed.  It was a sad and emotional moment. I got very angry at all the times I have seen the more qualified female passed over for the male with the silver spoon in his mouth.  And this AGAIN.

 I am still angry, and I am grieving deeply for this country. I am worried about much more than me and my feminism.  I am worried for my black grandson, for my friends of color, for those that serve me in the check-out line who may not be here legally.  For my gay friends who are so fearful.

I can hide for the next four years behind my white privilege; even though I am a Brazilian anchor baby, I certainly don't look the part.  But instead I hope to become an activist feminist; calling my congressional and senate offices (all women by the way); calling Paul Ryan's office; speaking up against injustice; donating to causes that work to stop discrimination and hate; and doing what I can to help those in need.

And of course, working and voting in the mid-terms for change.

Yes, I guess I am a feminist.

Leila Gough

Sunday, November 6, 2016


In a leaked handwritten document, Donald Trump has uttered what appears to be a heartfelt apology for his conduct during his campaign for the Republican nomination and for election to the Presidency.  The New York Times will publish the apology tomorrow, on the eve of the election.
The text of the document follows. (The words in brackets and stricken [  ] are NY Times editorial staff’s best reading of several scribbled, virtually unreadable words and words that appear to have been stricken) reflecting, perhaps, the haste with which Trump wrote the apology.)
“Fellow Republicans, fellow Americans, all Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, African Americans, Asian Americans, [Democrats] all of the huge number of you, the huge, and I mean HUGE, number of you.
“I write this apology with a hugely heavy heart, but with a beautiful, and truly BEAUTIFUL hope that by writing this and sharing it with all Americans I will be relieved of my guilty heart.
“First I want to give you some background.  NOT AN EXCUSE, no hot an excuse, but something about me that lead to my behavior, bad behavior, yes really hugely bad behavior during the past year.
“I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth.  Not literally in my mouth. No, but you know the expression.  My father was filthy rich. FLITHY, hugely filthy rich.  I had everything as a kid and like that kid Ethan Couch who drove drunk and killed some people, I got sick. I caught affluenza. I could not help thinking of myself as superior to all others.  Money made me sick.  I thought my wealth, well, at first my beloved father’s wealth, excused my lies, sexual assault, insults, elitism, [groping and infidelities].
“You don’t know how terrible, really very, very terrible, affluenza is.  I truly hope and pray—and I do pray, I pray every night, BEAUTIFUL prayers every night that America becomes great again and that I will be cured of this dreaded disease.   My spiritual advisor, my beloved Melania-- oh how I love her! She is such a good [lay] wife—has given me great, really great advice. Open my soul to the American People, admit and apologize, FOR CONFESSION IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL.
“I treated Miss America badly.  I admit it. VERY VERY BADLY.  Seeking her forgiveness and salvation of my soul, I have given her a life time membership in Weight Watchers.
“I failed to pay dozens—they claim hundreds—but dozens, or maybe several dozens, perhaps a huge number of vendors and contractors who worked for me.  Many of them were financially wrecked by my bankruptcy, which was the reason for my not paying them, since bankruptcy discharges debts and that’s the way the law is written, so if my creditors didn’t like the law, they could have gotten Congress to change it, but they sat on their fat [asses] derrières – I really good at foreign languages, Russian especially-so really it is their fault that they went broke.  But I have a big heart, TREMENDOUSLY BIG HEART, and I am giving each of those contractors and vendors who went broke a tuition free enrollment in Trump University and an autographed copy of my best seller, yes, the highest selling best seller of all times, The Art of the Deal.
“I apologize to Khizr and Ghazala Khan, mother and father of Captain Khan, killed in action in a needless war that I was against and who would still be alive if I had been president.
“I apologize to Senator McCain.  If you had just read Art of the Deal you could have dealt your way out of that cage in North Vietnam.  But you didn’t. And you didn’t read it before losing to Obama.  You lost.  But I realize that being a prisoner of war doesn’t make you a big loser. Not a BIG loser.   You said you are voting for me. That makes you a WINNER in my eyes, unless I lose in this rigged election.
“Locker room talk is just that. Locker room talk.  All the guys talk that way. I never kissed or touched a woman who wasn’t asking for it.  Look at the way they dress, showing a lot of leg a lot of cleavage. Of course they wanted me, wanted to share in the limelight of a big celebrity. A really HUGE celebrity.
“If I have left anyone out, it’s not that I am ignoring you. I apologize to all of America for all of my transgressions, but I just don’t have time to list you all. You know who you are. You are all beautiful people, really beautiful, and you are forgiving and understanding, and I know you are accepting my apology and want to vote for me and make American Great Again.
“So now, all those [lies] allegations are behind me. Forgiven and Forgotten.
“I’ve got to run now.  Going to make my last campaign speech about that lying, nasty woman Hillary.”