When I heard Wednesday that Sen. Charles Schumer had called a flight attendant a "bitch" under his breath, my response was to figuratively shrug my shoulders. I couldn't even muster so much as a literal shrug. It's not that I thought it appropriate for Schumer to call the flight attendant a "bitch" for asking him to simply comply with federal law like everyone else on the plane and turn off his cellphone; nor did I think it was a particularly pleasant comment for his female colleague and seat mate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, to overhear. Still, I felt rather "meh" about it.
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I was mulling all of this on my lunch break today, when I walked by a homeless man blitzed out of his mind who flashed me a lecherous grin. When I didn't respond in kind, he hurled a choice word at me, and I bet you can guess just what it was: "Bitch," he snarled. Then he added, "I'll piss on you." Well, okay, then. That right there is why I'm desensitized to the word -- if I wasn't, I would be crying in a bathroom stall right now instead of writing this post. In fact, if I hadn't been anesthetized to the word "bitch" quite a long time ago, I'd hardly be able to leave my house alone. (Tracy Clark-Flory, “Feminist silence on Schumer,” Salon, 17 Dec. 2009)
People who have daily contact with other people, eye-to-eye contact, interactions, are the most important of people -- they do the daily attendance, therapy, which can tilt a whole nation closer to the good. Crazily, they tend to be set up sometimes as lessers who exist to pleasure the powerful -- to please, and suffer further abuse. Please figure out what is working away at you here. Take a time out. And return to defend no group more strongly, than these most important of people.