Astonishing revelations that more and more men have abused women — with, I am certain, countless incidents unpublicized across our society — add more weight to what Hillary Clinton accomplished by winning the popular vote by nearly three million. She triumphed despite her gender and the now undeniable fact that women are often disrespected as objects and not equals in the workplace. Sadly, that condescending attitude probably affects the thinking of many men marking their ballots.

I am convinced that Donald Trump won because he ran against a female, even though, with her experience in government, she was admired worldwide and would have reaffirmed American leadership in these perilous times. I don’t doubt that qualified women — Golda Meir, Angela Merkel, Indira Gandhi, Maggie Thatcher — are more emotionally balanced than a tiresome charlatan like Trump, who doesn’t have enough integrity to admit a mistake, as Clinton did with her email account.

Perhaps most of us can begin to feel shame about predatory, disrespectful attitudes toward our “better halves.” And maybe, just maybe, this is a breakthrough moment.

I am no paragon of virtue, having traded lewd, sophomoric remarks about women with male friends in my younger years. But to their face, I have told women, “That’s a nice dress you are wearing,” not, “Boy, you’ve got a great figure.” That is the line you don’t cross.

David Griffiths, Mechanic Falls

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