I’ve never met you, and for that reason I hesitated to write this. But it occurred to me that the people who think they have some business criticizing you have also never met you, and something inside me hates the idea that they would claim the right to speak while I remain silent.
I just read this Guardian article, and it left me appalled and sad. I’m sure other people have told you this, but I need to say it too:
You did not deserve this treatment.
You did nothing wrong.
If you’ll forgive me for being so forward, your hair is beautiful and you should wear it however you’d like.
The people who attacked you are small, pathetic creatures who try to tear down and destroy anything they personally cannot achieve. They may have targeted specific aspects of your behavior, but if they hadn’t found that, they would have found something else. The best of them are just tabloid-level hacks trying to leech an instant of your global relevance for themselves.
But the worst of them are the sick, hatred-filled trolls whose only source of joy is wounding others. These miserable excuses for human beings do not understand what makes America great. They do not understand that our strength is in our diversity and our freedom of expression. They know two things—hate and fear—and they lash out with them like savages cowering behind rocks. To be frank, you’re in rather esteemed company by becoming their target. You may not remember, but when you were 11, a presidential candidate by the name of Barack Obama came under similar fire.
If these people hate you, it means you are doing something right.
I have spent the last week feeling a deep sense of pride in America’s Women’s Olympics team—your team. My wife and I have called the kids in from other rooms to watch you and your teammates perform. Your team’s story is an amazing one. It inspires not only admiration for hard work and perseverance, but pride in what America is: the best of the best, regardless of skin color or belief or hair style. All are welcome, as long as they bring it. (And wow, did you bring it.)
The haters reject this idea of America, and by being there and being so powerful and graceful and beautiful, you spit in their eye.
It kills me that they got under your skin on Sunday, and I’m truly sorry that happened. As haters of everything America stands for, I’m sure they counted it as a victory. They are happy when America fails. They are overjoyed when they can ruin something good.
But the inspiration you’ve brought to millions of people—not only American but around the world—isn’t undone so easily. You’re a hero to countless children of all skin colors, and just by getting there you have done far more damage to the haters’ agenda than their words can ever do to you.
The good news is that these troglodytes are losing. They’ve crawled out from under their rocks lately, egged on by an exaggerated sense of their own numbers due to the internet and certain exceptionally loud voices, but they are NOT the majority. Every time we speak, we force them back. Every time we show them what the true America can do, we force them back. Their constant and increasing attacks are not a sign of strength—they are a sign of desperation.
Thank you for winning a crucial victory in a battle you never signed up for.
Thank you for representing your country so well.
I’m proud of you.