Dear time travelers, welcome to 2017
My Lord, these time travelers.
I first noticed this influx of visitors from the past — men, mostly — shortly after the election. Filling my email inbox. Trolling my Twitter and Facebook feeds. Offering one unsolicited directive after another about how women should be conducting themselves.
We should leave the country if we don’t like President Donald Trump — and keep our opinions to ourselves. Good luck with that one, boys.
They mock our femininity and attractiveness and openly speculate on our sex lives. And oh, how they pity the men stupid enough to marry us. Over and over, we’re back to this: “If you love your husband so much, how come you didn’t change your name?”
I figured out the answer to that one years ago. I just smile and say, “But I’ve always been called Connie.” They scowl and blink a few times and, like magic, they just run out of things to say.
It’s not so surprising, really, to see why these time travelers are showing up now. They feel emboldened. The man who bragged about grabbing women by their genitals got elected anyway. If you are the kind of guy who admires that, how could you not find hope in his being elected?
So here they are, ramping up the hate mail and acting as if we’re still taking orders from them. I was raised to be polite, so I tend to welcome them to the year 2017 and explain that women can think for themselves now and speak their minds, too. As most women know, this has been true of our gender for all of time, but I keep that bit of history to myself. I figure these time travelers will eventually return to women who wish they hadn’t, and those sisters are entitled to their secrets.
Lately, I’m wondering whether time travel isn’t contagious. Spreads like a syndrome maybe.
Take North Dakota, the largest producer of spring wheat and home of “Geese in Flight,” a piece of art made from used oil-well pipes and tanks that, according to Guinness World Records, is the largest metal sculpture in the world. I mention these things because I don’t want you to think the story of North Dakota begins and ends with the conduct of two state representatives who took on the womenfolk to defend so-called blue laws requiring some businesses to open late on Sundays and others to stay shut all day long.
State Rep. Bernie Satrom said Sundays should be devoted to “spending time with your wife, your husband, making him breakfast, bringing it to him in bed.” He continued, “And then after you’re done with that, go take your kids for a walk.”
State Rep. Vernon Laning seconded that emotion and added, “I don’t know about you, but my wife has no problem spending everything I earn in 6 1/2 days. And I don’t think it hurts at all to have a half a day off.”
Laning later told the NBC affiliate that people who are offended by their comments need to get a sense of humor.
How many times do we have to go over this? Nothing kills a joke like having to explain it. If we aren’t laughing, you aren’t funny.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate, the Republicans voted Tuesday to formally silence Democratic colleague Elizabeth Warren. She dared to impugn the character of Sen. Jeff Sessions by reading a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King urging the Senate to reject Sessions’ nomination as a federal judge.
This went about as well as you can imagine. Warren stepped outside the chamber and read the letter live on Facebook, garnering millions of viewers and sparking a Twitter storm of support that has yet to subside. Millions more Americans have now read King’s letter, thanks to the fact that everyone from Aunt Wanda to NPR posted it online.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell explained that Warren knew darn well she was violating an arcane rule of the Senate. “She was warned,” he said. “She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Nevertheless, She Persisted.
There’s a line for your bumper sticker and favorite T-shirt right there.
Look for that best-selling title, too, coming to a bookstore near you.
Editor’s note: Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “… and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.