Eight months into the campaign we were pleasantly surprised that we had not seen any particularly gross vitriol. Then October brought in all the tricks and treats. I was opening campaign mail when I came across a letter that just felt weird. The texture was off — it felt like it had been wet at one point but then dried. I examined the stack of mail — had it been left in the passenger seat of a car and been rained on? None of the other mail was like that so I didn’t understand. No return address — oh yeah, that’s suspicious. The handwriting of our address was neat and I dare say feminine. I started to open the envelope but I had to be careful — it’s clear that this letter was soaking wet at one point.
I read the first sentence and my face burned hot, “U must be on drugs or sick in the head.” At this point I’m wondering if I should even be holding the letter with my bare hands because I think — and oh gosh, I hope it’s not true — I think the letter had been peed on. Filled with hateful rhetoric and racist stereotypes — this letter sounds like it could have been written in 1950. But we aren’t in the 1950’s — this is 2021. Where we send billionaires to space for funsies and cars can drive themselves — all while black women get socially lynched for speaking their mind and are told to “go back to Africa.” They didn’t sign it — shocking *eye roll*.
I opened up the rest of the mail. Among the contributions was a note from someone who met Bridgette at a picnic and couldn’t vote for her, because they do not live in her district, they were inspired by her compassion and felt compelled to donate to the campaign. So many emotions running through my mind — I was angry, sad, happy, and hopeful — all at the same time. Why would someone put so much energy into sending such a hateful message. But then that feeling of hope bubbled up because even though someone took the time to send us a nastygram — another person took the time to write a note and make a contribution to a campaign that will not benefit them at all. And that gives me hope.
Later that night Bridgette called me to talk about it. What upset her most was that the hateful letter came to our house and that our children were around. Do you hear me? Even after all of this — she’s worried about me and my family. That’s what she’s going to do for all of you too. Because that’s just who she is — an authentic, genuine, real, live human who wants to make the world a better place. I know she had to feel some kind of way but her first thought was about others.
She’s not in this for her, she’s in this for her son. She’s in this for my children, and me too. She is real people with a kind heart and a strong spirit that I hope I can teach to my children. She stands up when nobody else will. She is the real deal.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments. If you’d like to learn more about Bridgette’s campaign please check out these links:
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.