Opinion: In The Age of Trump, Women Are The New American Heroes

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Desiree Linden after the race. Courtesy Boston Marathon

By Colleen O'Connor

In this divisive era in American society, women have emerged as the country’s heroes. In just the past week, we’ve seen their accomplishments in the air, in sports, in media and in politics.

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In The Air

The most amazing, death-defying landing by a pilot since Vince Scully was thanks to a woman.

When a Southwest Airlines jetliner’s engine exploded and the plane began falling, passengers were crying, vomiting, screaming and sending texts to loved ones.

The pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, checked in with air traffic control and calmly said, “We have a part of the aircraft missing. Could you have the medical meet us there on the runway as well? We’ve got injured passengers.”

Admiringly called a “badass,” Schults’ radio communication amid the impending horror speaks volumes about her discipline and courage. And the fact that she was also one of the first women pilots in the Navy and one of the first women to fly the F/A-18 fighter jet.

I would call her heaven sent. A real hero.

And of course, she checked with all the passengers as they exited the plane.

In Sports

Speaking of heaven sent, anyone watching the greatest ever 3-point, buzzer-beating shot in NCAA women’s basketball history witnessed real-time divine intervention.

Widgets Magazine

How that basketball flew from Arike Ogunbowale’s magic hands and whooshed itself into the title-clinching shot for Notre Dame defies explanation. And this with one-tenth of a second remaining on the clock.

Watch the shot. And gasp. The concentration. The grace. Another hero.

And let’s not forget Chula Vista native Desiree Linden, who became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon sinc 1985. And she did it the hard way—in pouring rain, strong winds and temperatures in the low 30s.

Ever run a marathon? Wonder Woman.

In Media

This year’s prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was awarded for reporting about powerful men abusing women.

The New York Times and The New Yorker shared the prize for work that put the #MeToo movement in the national spotlight. The Times team was led by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. The New Yorker’s work was by Ronan Farrow—an intrepid feminist.

Here’s how the Pulitzer Committee explained this award:

“For explosive, impactful journalism that exposed powerful and wealthy sexual predators, including allegations against one of Hollywood’s most influential producers, bringing them to account for long-suppressed allegations of coercion, brutality and victim silencing, thus spurring a worldwide reckoning about sexual abuse of women.”

And the prize for investigative reporting went to a team at the Washington Post—also led by women—for revealing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s alleged history of sexual harassment of teenage girls.

Read the stories and weep. All are heroes worthy of awe.

And in Politics

Stormy Daniels has emerged as a weather system all her own. A force of nature—a porn star—who is not only more believable than the President of the United States, but whose lawsuits could actually ensnare his presidency.

A woman ridiculed, allegedly threatened and perhaps defamed, rose up—like a dust devil in the desert—and is now a household name. She is now a brand that is more recognizable, more formidable, and more acceptable on prime time news than most elected officials in the country.

So much so that her recent appearance at a New York courtroom found the crush of reporters outside knocking over barricades to catch a glimpse and snap a photo of Ms. Daniels.

She has out-Trumped Trump. And out-numbered him. Her 60 Minutes interview drew 22 million viewers — 2 million more than Trump’s post-election family appearance.

One woman. One symbol. She says it all. #MeToo. Anti-Trump. Human. Defiant. Believable. Hasn’t backed down or buckled in the face of massive power. Incredible.

She, too, joins the pantheon of the “New Normal” in America—Wonder Women heroes.


Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.

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