Grace and Whit with me as I voted for Hillary Clinton for president, last Saturday, October 29th
I’ve resisted saying anything political here. Ever. I’m not strongly aligned with either political party, have voted for Democrats and Republicans (notably, always in Massachusetts), and deliberately retain my Independent status.
I do have some issues I feel strongly about, and often they tip me towards the Democrats: gun control, women’s rights, a woman’s right to choose, climate change.
This year, since the very beginning of this endless and bruising campaign, I’ve been a Hillary supporter. All four of us are.
All of us. My husband, a long-time Republican who has only voted Democrat once before (for Obama in 2008), has been a vocal Hillary supporter for many months. When I walked to the polls with him and watched him vote for Hillary in the primary, I knew he was a good egg. Well, I already knew that, but it was a good moment.
I’m afraid right now. Scared about what’s going to happen tomorrow, yes, but maybe even more scared about the deep fault lines that this election has exposed in our country. In particular I’m daunted by the latent sexism that these last, long months have revealed. I won’t get into all the reasons I think Trump is an unacceptable choice (it’s a long list), because for me his incredibly derogatory behavior towards and words about women are enough reason to say no way.
I’m also proud. Proud that I got to stand next to my teenage daughter – who will vote in the next presidential election! – and my tween son and cast my vote for a female president. I’m a feminist through and through, I’ve never wavered on that. To me, being a feminist simply means that believing that men and women are equally valid and valuable. Not exactly the same. But possessing the same inherent worth. Given my definition of feminism, I’m shocked that not everyone agrees with me. Call me naive, but when I’m confronted with evidence that people honestly don’t agree, I find myself bewildered and startled.
For many years, one of my all-time favorite children’s books has been Grace for President. I’ve given it as a gift tens of times. I wish the protagonist wasn’t called Grace, actually, because that coincidence has nothing to do with how much I adore the book. Grace and Whit both know that I can’t get through a reading of the short picture book without actively crying. So they still like to ask me to read it now and then, for entertainment purposes. I cry every single time. And here we are. On the brink of that truth, of electing a woman because she is the best candidate, who said as she accepted the nomination, “standing here as my mother’s daughter and my daughter’s mother.” I loved the way she said that, the way she put her motherhood and daughterhood front and center. I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton just because she’s a woman. No way. Do I think that her being a woman is pat of why she’s such an exceptional candidate? Yes. For me it’s inextricable. But my vote is about more than electing a woman. It’s about electing the best candidate (by a wide country mile, in my view). And she happens to be a woman.
I can hardly hold back my tears. When tomorrow comes, I hope we will hear the people sing (yes I have Les Mis in my head), and there will be a roar of celebration. I wish my grandmothers were alive right now. I felt them with me in the voting booth as I cast my vote, with my daughter, whose veins run with their blood, standing beside me. Nana and Gaga were both such important women in my life, intelligent, thoughtful, articulate women, feminists at their core, both Planned Parenthood leaders and supporters long before it was mainstream. They would be in tears, too, I think.
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