So I agreed last week to write A Political Post for an organization I love, and then this week happened and this week was a complete jerkface and I ended up doing… um, almost nothing I was supposed to. At all. As in: I got up this morning and did a week’s worth of dishes, because it was that kind of a week. SUPER FUN! (And here we mean “fun like a root canal.”)
Anyway, that’s not your problem, that’s mine. I’m dealing with it. Turns out that time and coffee heals all wounds, or at least dulls them to the point of manageability.
A different sort of person would then come here and implore you to vote, if you haven’t, yet, and keep partisan opinions out of it. But I am me and if you’ve been reading here for any amount of time at all I cannot imagine you’re shocked to learn that I find The Orange One Who Shall Not Be Named to be the most terrifying “politician” to emerge in my lifetime, and besides, I already told you I’m an enthusiastic Clinton supporter. Not a “well she’s the lesser of two evils” supporter, but a wildly enthusiastic, I-think-she-is-smart-and-dedicated (and yes, not infallible, but neither is anyone), I-cannot-wait-to-say-Madame-President, supporter.
Again: I cannot imagine this is a surprise for anyone who’s ever read me before. If it is, and if you find that offensive, okay. I’m not for everyone.
If you’re willing to read on, I have a few more things to add.
I voted early
I’ve never voted early, before. I never saw the need. Everything about this election scares the crap out of me, however, and so Otto and I headed over to early voting on the UGA campus this week. As we descended the steps to the basement of the student union, at one flat section mid-staircase, someone had filled the landing with a colorful chalk design. Coming DOWN the stairs, the words were upside-down, so we stopped and turned to see what it said. In bright, coloring-book cheerfulness, it read DAWGS FOR TR*MP 2016! [asterisk inserted by me], complete with happy, childish doodles and hashtags and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN (I think; I have blocked a lot of it out). And I would’ve been enraged by the dissonance of it—the happy colors, the notion that the Republican candidate gives a single fuck about any of the sheltered, rich, public university students who are enthusiastically supporting him in spite of his repeated inability to behave like an adult human, much less a leader—except that in a large diagonal across this cheerful message, someone had added RACIST with black spray paint. [Edited to add: My intrepid husband, who took a picture, because of course he did, would like to point out that the black “racist” comment is also in chalk. My mistake.]
Freedom of speech, man. It works both ways, and so I felt a little better.
We waited in line almost an hour before we cast our ballots. Everyone there was pleasant and, it seemed, hopeful. That made me feel better, too. I thanked each poll worker for their service. I cast my votes. I hoped it was enough.
I am pro-choice
I addressed this in the piece I wrote for Alpha Mom, but pro-choice is not the same as pro-abortion. I am, more accurately, pro-education, pro-empowerment, pro-medical-professionals-and-patients-making-appropriate-care-decisions-without-the-intervention-of-politicians. One candidate for president wants to preserve that choice which has already been ruled on by the Supreme Court; the other wants to punish women who have abortions. Scream about the “sanctity of life” all you like (and yeah, I don’t happen to believe a clump of cells is the same as a human, and I don’t believe ANYONE terminates a pregnancy without a certain amount of heartbreak and relevant cause), but in a world where rapist Brock Turner gets out of jail after 3 months, I am 100% not okay with a law which criminalizes women having a say over their own bodies. Women’s bodies are violated at an alarming rate and frequency even in today’s supposed advanced society. We haven’t figured out how to fix that yet, to our shame. We absolutely cannot criminalize a woman’s choice not to sustain a pregnancy when that pregnancy may have been forced upon her or may jeopardize her life. If you believe otherwise, you are either naive or a misogynist (even if you’re female). That’s not the world I want to live in. This world is hard enough.
Also? I’m anti-abuse
Never in the history of our nation have we so blithely had a giant group of people all agree that it’s okay if someone is an admitted attacker of women, and probably children, because hey, have you heard about this email thing? The list of things The Orange One has done (and continues to do) is long and disgusting, but as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, don’t tell me it’s no big deal that he’s scheduled to appear in court to face charges of child rape. Nope. I don’t want to hear it. He has already admitted more than enough to make it clear that he believes himself entitled to whatever he wants, even other people. Aside from his bankruptcies, aside from him stiffing his contractors, aside from his refusal to release his taxes, aside from the fact that he seems incapable of telling the truth about anything, this is a man who abuses women and children. Your argument (assuming you think you have one) is invalid.
My children are having nightmares (I am, too)
My youngest is the most profoundly affected, right now, perhaps because he is the most sensitive of the bunch of us, and maybe also because he is the only one not old enough to vote. I get an earful several times a week when he gets up and comes to tell me about a horrible dream he had. We talk a lot about how much anxiety the election is causing. We talk about the issues with the candidates, but also with the rampant encouragement of intolerance and violence, and how some people are interested in facts and others are only interested in feelings. We talk about a lot of things I wish we didn’t have to.
Someone told me Benghazi is the reason she’ll vote against Hillary
This is someone I like and respect, and she has a son in the military, and so “because he doesn’t trust her as commander in chief” she feels she “can’t” vote for Clinton. We discussed—as respectfully as I think two people on opposite sides can—and there was no budging. It doesn’t matter that military service carries with it higher risk than, say, working in an office or delivering mail. It doesn’t matter that literally thousands of our servicemen and women have died under other presidents, sometimes in similar situations. It doesn’t matter than Clinton was investigated more thoroughly than any other government official and exonerated. That’s the line in the sand. And I get that some people truly believe that, but it’s ridiculous. Benghazi was a terrible tragedy and a failure of communication/action in multiple ways. But you cannot pin that on Clinton. People tried (really, really hard) and it didn’t stick, because it’s not true. Move on.
“Oh but my protest vote means something”
I wish I had a nickel for every time I shared this article with someone who wanted to tell me it was really meaningful that they were voting third party. I get it—our two party system is broken! There are more choices! I don’t really like either major candidate! Well, good for you. One of the two major party candidates is going to win and if you vote third party you may as well not vote. Also, if you vote third party you are categorically indicating that if someone wholly unfit to hold the presidency wins, you’re okay with that.
I happen to admire Hillary Clinton. I know not everyone does (and I think a lot of that has to do with media spin, rampant misogyny, and several decades of the GOP trying to make sure you know that THAT LADY IS THE DEVIL), but even if you don’t, there is no rational planet on which not voting for her isn’t tantamount to voting for the playground bully. So go ahead and vote third party and tell yourself you’re not voting for him. You are kidding yourself.
You are the company you keep
I see lots of otherwise reasonable people saying they’ll vote a certain way “in spite of” various issues which they agree are valid. There is no “in spite of.” You endorse a candidate, you endorse their policies and their ilk. Who is being formally endorsed by the KKK and the Neo-Nazis? Hmmmmm, let me think. You want their guy? “In spite of” that? Again, you’re kidding yourself.
I want to be on the right side of history. I want to live in a world where everyone matters, not just the people with money or the “right” genitalia or color of skin. What you do is up to you, and I will defend your right to it even if we disagree. But this election is unlike any other in my lifetime, and I am scared.