We Need To Talk About Mike Pence’s Wife, Karen, And Her Fucking Towel Charms

Just when you thought the 2016 election couldn’t get any weirder, Donald Trump announced Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate, which means we have to talk about his wife, Karen Pence. And Karen Pence depresses me. I know it’s not nice to talk shit about people or judge anyone’s experience, but the most disappointing thing about the present day GOP is the women who actually fucking support it. Nothing says support like marrying someone. I’ve fallen for a lot of duds, but they were just duds with liberal arts degrees. Mike, and any active Republican these days, is actually dangerous because he’s not a deadbeat — it takes a lot of energy to run for office and then create policies that actually harm other people.

Karen is also not a deadbeat. She’s an educator and runs a small business selling “towel charms.” You know, those little packages of charms Pottery Barn sells to put on wine glasses so middle aged women don’t lose their Pinot Grigio at a party? She created those to put on towels, so when you’re poolside, you know where your towel is.

Cool.

We are just one rainy November day when no one goes out to vote away from handing the role of second lady over to someone who can’t find her towel and thinks that’s a problem worth addressing. Newsflash: there are a lot of things and issues to address, and who stole your towel at a BBQ  is the least of America’s worries.

I know we talk a lot about Michelle Obama’s fashion choices (always on point) and love of fresh food, but she was also a corporate lawyer who probably supported our current president while he thought about changing the world as a community organizer. Our current second lady (which is a terrible term), Jill Biden. is actually Doctor Jill Biden and has spent her career in education. So has Karen, for what it’s worth. She taught for 25 years, according to Indiana’s official bio of her, and serves on boards of hospitals and is into art therapy and leaning in in her own way.

All of that is fucking amazing and so is, by the way, starting your own business selling charms for towels. Towel charms are silly, but let’s all give her three cheers for that “go get ‘em” attitude and handling the paperwork. It’s not about the career. It’s about what towel charms, and their creator, stand for.

Towel charms stand for nothing. Not one thing. A towel charm says something about you. Towel charms make me think of little houses made of ticky-tacky, in-ground pools, and pitchers of iced tea. Which is lovely, for sure. But it also shows just how fucking out of touch with the country she and her family must be if she has patented the idea.

Over 14 percent of Americans live below the poverty line. I’m not naive enough to think people in office, to even be able to think of running for office or partnering up with someone who does, know what that means. I don’t even really know what real poverty means. Towel charms are a way of announcing to the world that you have no fucking idea what real life, with all of its real struggles, means. Towel charms speak to a certain kind of privilege, and I happen to think someone with that kind of privilege should use it for something other than a craft shop. Sorry, not sorry.

It’s 2016 and women are lucky enough to have more rights than they used to. We can choose to make towel charms. We can choose to run countries, run numbers, raise children, watch Netflix, and write for the internet, and be generally amazing at everything. All of that shit. But choosing to make towel charms while being married to someone like Mike, who believes woman can’t choose anything? My head explodes.

Governor Pence signed a bill in Indiana that forces women to bury or cremate their aborted fetuses. The very idea of electing someone who made that a law is something I cannot, will not, ever fucking get over. Donald Trump is a big, orange bigot who has no idea what he got himself into. He’s a fool. Mike is a Tea Party Republican. I would rather confront a real life Walking Dead-style zombie in a dark alley than imagine Mike in a pullover sweater in the Oval Office, shooting the shit with Trump.

I actually (really, it feels terrible) hate judging Karen for making towel charms and sleeping in the same bed with a man like that. But the stakes are too high to not ask questions (or just yell into the ether) about potential leaders’ values and the company they keep.

I want to be inspired, and I want to be inspired by women. Our hypothetical first lady could be a woman who married Donald fucking Trump. Karen makes towel charms and married Mike fucking Pence. America has some badass (flawed, like humans are) women so close to power. So fucking close. I don’t want anyone clutching their pearls, lecturing about where to place my towel before I take a dip, around anyone making the rules, dragging America’s collective attitude back to the dark ages (like, 1994).

Karen depresses me, being that close to power and not speaking up. The world has enough problems and where we throw our towels is not one of them.