“Loose lips sink ships.”

— World War II slogan

Yes, those famous loose lips flapped again, and one word is currently helping to sink an entire political party.

OK, I looked it up, just to be sure, and there are so many definitions of the word; it really gets confusing. It seems to depend on the object or person you’re looking at.

Here’s what I found:

“nas•ty adjective: Unpleasant, disagreeable (those are softballs, usually used by library ladies and academic types), disgusting, distasteful, awful, dreadful, horrible, foul (those are generally used to describe garbage left in the hall by another tenant, or sometimes a television show or porn site).”

How about unsavory, unappetizing, off-putting? (I wish I had known those words when I was forced to eat rutabaga as a child.)

There is also churlish, spiteful, malicious, malevolent, unpleasant and unkind. Those seem kind of soft, more Peter O’Toole-ish. But I’m betting that one of those last five was exactly what that reality show producer and presidential candidate had in mind.

What we’re talking about here is that now famous line Donald dropped on Hillary in the last minutes of the third national debate (”Such a nasty woman”), as her eyebrows went up and moderator Chris Wallace dropped his pencil.

Within minutes, maybe seconds, that meme, and the other — “bad hombres,” by which he meant anyone of Latin descent, like Javier Bardem, Benicio del Toro, or Cheech Marin — went viral faster than the flu.

Donald didn’t know that the HRC war room was looking for a buzz word to hang their surge on; now women everywhere, and the entire Hispanic nation, have got one, and I’ve got a column. Thank you, Donald!

Yes, Donald, Hillary could be described as a “nasty woman” by Donald-types or angry Republicans, mostly Southern types, because nasty is really a Southern word, as my mother born in Charleston, South Carolina, would tell you. But in the tribal rooms of womankind, what was once a pejorative is now going to be a badge of honor worn by women everywhere. As of this campaign, it’s never again going to be spoken with a curled lip or wrinkled nose, but only with an admiring smile.

Actually, Hillary Rodham Clinton comes from a long line of strong women who were thought “nasty.” Queen Elizabeth I comes to mind. Liz could be sweet and charming, but when pushed, even the slightest, she became quite “nasty.”

Ask the survivors of the Spanish Armada. Ask Mary, Queen of Scots, whose head she took off. Oh, never mind.

I think of Margaret Fuller, women’s rights activist, who in 1845 said, “There exists in the minds of men a tone of feeling towards women as slaves.” Ouch!

I offer former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who once said, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

I suggest Rosa Parks, who the bus driver must have thought was a “nasty colored girl.”

Wendy Davis, former Democratic state senator from Forth Worth, Texas, and a Harvard Law graduate, whose 11-hour filibuster in 2013 focused attention on the state’s efforts to restrict abortion access, qualifies to wear the button.

I can imagine that this year’s best-selling calendar in bookstores and malls will be 2017’s “NASTY” LADIES — tough, no-nonsense power women featuring Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Fox News’ Megan Kelly; entertainers Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Madonna; Barbra Streisand; Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy; comedian Amy Schumer; actor Melissa McCarthy; first lady Michelle Obama; Latino spokeswoman Maria Teresa Kumar; U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren; and attorney Gloria Allred, the most famous woman attorney practicing law in America today, whom The Donald calls a “third-rate lawyer,” and who is currently representing three of Donald Trump’s accusers, filling out the months.

Ladies, this is your year, maybe your century.

Step right up folks. Get your calendars, T-shirts, mugs, hoodies, buttons and baseball caps now. But first get out and vote.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.


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