One would like to think that the letter is a hoax. A married white woman writes to “Ask Polly” to complain about her husband. You see, she is totally distraught about Donald Trump. She is so distraught that she cannot function in her marriage. She is completely out of control over social injustice. She wants her husband to beat himself up about his white privilege. If he doesn’t she will do it for him. He feels some guilt, but, by her lights, not enough.
Dare I say it, this woman is deranged. She is a fanatical true believer. Not in the clinical sense of the term but in the brainwashed sense of the term. She cannot think at all and has no idea of what a marriage is about. She has bought the nonsense about white privilege, social injustice and the evils that white males have visited on the culture and the world. Now she wants to punish her husband for it.
To that Polly will wisely tell her that she is completely wrong. Bringing an absurd political fiction into your home is a very bad idea. Polly feels the woman’s pain and suggests that having a child might focus and ground her.
Polly is correct here. Obviously, she cannot tell the woman that she is deranged. She cannot tell her that she is an abusive spouse who is alienating her husband and damaging her marriage. Polly suggests as much, and I agree with her approach.
I would only add that said husband should run for the hills at his earliest convenience. He is married to a woman who wants her married life to sound like a Stalinist self-criticism session or a round of interrogation in front of the Red Guards. Or else, if you prefer, she has made her marriage into an Inquisition.
It is a bad idea to marry a fanatic. It is a worse idea to stay married to one.
I assume that the letter writer comes from New York. If you do not live in New York, this will seem like an exaggeration. If you do live in New York and consult for a living, you will still think that this seems like an exaggeration. One fears that it is not. One fears that it represents a case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
The letter writer, dubs herself “I Wish Hillary Won.” She tells us nothing about her husband. She says that she works in the comedy field but does not tell us what he does for a living. She does not see him as a human being, but as a bundle of defective opinions. She has made it her task to brainwash him, so that they can have a meeting of the minds.
Think I’m kidding? Here goes IWHW:
My husband is a funny, weird, supportive white man (I’m also white) who hasn’t really ever had anyone ask him to examine his privilege. We’ve been together for a few years now, and we’ve definitely had a lot of conversations about gender and race and institutionalized racism and sexism. He’s already learned a lot through our conversations and is usually very good about listening and growing. I know on a broad level that he’s on my side when it comes to these things. I’m more of an activist, and I feel things more deeply than he does — especially injustice.
Apparently, IWHW is deranged because her husband is not sufficiently deranged:
… since Trump was elected, I have very little patience. I want him to wake up right now. And he’s angry and sad and scared about Trump and what he’s doing to our country, but he’s not angry and sad and scared ENOUGH for me.
She is naturally appalled by the fact that he is a white male who receives certain privileges. She does not tell us which ones. She cannot stand the fact that he does not feel sufficient guilt for his privilege—what makes her judge, jury and inquisitor?-- and has not allowed guilt to destroy his mind… as it has his wife’s:
… he can also retreat into white-male-privilege-keep-head-in-sand-until-it-all-passes land. I wish he was more personally motivated to learn about privilege and that I didn’t have to be the one forcing him to think about it. Sometimes he doesn’t get things and I feel so disappointed and afraid that maybe I settled. That’s harsh. I hate even typing it. Everything is just so fucked right now.
Why does she believe that she has the right to force anyone to think or feel anything? As I said, her husband ought to flee her presence.
Given that women are increasingly powerful in the world, she only sees men. Is it wish fulfillment? Who knows?
I’m just so damn tired of being surrounded by men. Movies, TV, politics, my life. I’m tired of men running shit. And I feel so permeable since the election. I’ve always been emotionally watery — I often feel overwhelmed by my emotions, and I feel like I lose my boundaries and control over myself when I’m very sad. I’m so sad and anxious about the future, both in a broad sense and with my relationship.
At least, she's in touch with her feelings.
Now, thanks to her derangement the unhappy couple will be going to therapy. Good luck to both of them. And yet, IWHW still believes that her wifely role involves a cultural reeducation and indoctrination in the dogmas of political correctness. Isn’t this why people turned to Donald Trump?
We’re going to go to therapy, but how can I help my husband unpack his privilege?
For her part Polly tries to put it in perspective. She tries to get through to a woman who sounds like she will not allow anyone to get through to her. Polly’s attempt is correct and valiant. She makes the salient point: namely, do not allow your political fanaticism to destroy your marriage:
You can’t turn the story of ignorant white men into a story about your actual husband. Sure, we’d like some of the ignorant white men who voted for Trump to wake up, not to mention the ignorant white ladies who have swallowed society’s hatred whole-hog and therefore believe that being ruled by a mean daddy who doesn’t respect you is somehow preferable to being led by a woman — or, worse, who believe that a faceless mob of Muslims and Mexicans is out to ruin their good life. But let’s not fuck with the good men by our sides. Let’s not fuck with the liberal guys who are just as anxious for a woman to take a shot at the job as we are.
She continues with a bout of male-bashing, on the grounds, I imagine, that this crazed letter writer will not listen to anyone who does not feel the way she feels. I consider this tactical, not strategic:
Men, specifically, can be really fucking dull. Many (but not all!) men are repetitive, avoidant simpletons who really do have feelings and souls deep down there somewhere, but they prefer to pretend that they don’t a lot of the time. Now I’m not saying that plenty of women aren’t the same way.
Polly continues, and we hope that she does not believe her indictment of the culture as misogynistic. After all, one of the leaders of the Women’s March was one Linda Sarsour, a woman who believes in Shariah Law and who has argued that women have it better in Saudi Arabia.
Again, let’s hope that Polly is being tactical and not strategic here. After all, she is writing to a fanatic, and it is very difficult to deal with a brainwashed fanatic:
But because our culture hates the shit out of women, their feelings and souls are usually leaking out all over the place in spite of their best efforts to hide them. Sometimes these leaks can feel toxic, particularly if the lady in question isn’t really owning up to the fact that she’s making a giant mess, and instead wants to blame you for the fact that her sewage is staining your nice new shoes. But at least something is happening! Poisonous leakage can be exciting! At least everyone else can talk about it, or analyze it behind her poisonous blamey back!
Finally, Polly has some useful words of wisdom:
In a marriage, you really have to resist the urge to scapegoat your partner for things that you’re feeling.