The first woman in our country is about to accept the nomination to become president. And I have yet to become excited. Why have I not been excited that the FIRST WOMAN EVER is about to accept the nomination to become THE PRESIDENT of the United States?
When I was in first grade, my birthday fell on President’s Day. We happened to have February break off during the same week, and when I returned to school the other children were shocked. They assumed I would become a president some day. They didn’t understand that, as a person who is not a man, that probably wouldn’t happen for me.
I vote in every election. Presidential, mid-term, local city ad-hoc elections. Voting is important to me. My voice has power and I want to scream from the rooftops.
I didn’t vote for President Obama in 2008. I wasn’t convinced this Harvard educated, career politician from Illinois would speak for me, then, a recent graduate a state college and a young professional from the Boston area whose career aspirations were complicated and expensive. Then, I cried wicked good when he won the nomination. I’ll never forget watching tv and seeing the enormous crowds crying and hugging. It was an incredible day for our country, and the world.
This election cycle I voted for Bernie Sanders. I voted for this incredible person who promised me he could change our broken political system. He would provide healthcare to all. He would do away with the ridiculous amount of student loan debt I, and so many of my peers, struggle to pay for. He believes in peace and diplomacy when dealing with foreign affairs. He put social justice in the front and center of his campaign.
So when friends and colleagues or even random people I see on social media start taking about how insane the “Bernie or Bust” crowd is, I get upset.
I feel frustrated that these people don’t understand why I need to mourn the fact that I can’t vote for Bernie Sanders to become President. Mourn the fact that everything I see Hillary speak I am offended by her inability to ever speak up and say how wrong it was of her husband to treat her so poorly in the 90s. Mourn the fact that I cannot possibly NOT vote for the first time ever – because I am afraid of Donald Trump becoming president.
I’ve been taking my time deciding what action to take.
I watched the convention steaming on YouTube. There are no commercials: You can hear someone providing instructions like, “When the signs say ‘Go’ turn on your phone flashlights to become a part of the performance.” It seems so manufactured – like pro-wrestling. After some AV screw-up botched up Katy Perry’s performance, I asked my husband which performers were at the #RNC and I cringed. Performers? At some of the most important political meetings of the decade? Yup. When Bernie transferred his delegates to Secretary Clinton, I – like those who walked out – felt anger and frustration. I understand he couldn’t win. But I wanted him to. And now my vote goes to someone I don’t want to be president. It’s like Hulk Hogan almost winning a match and before he can make the final knock out, stops everything to say the guy who cheated in the last round can have the match because he’s actually a good person. excusemewhat.
I spoke to two women who were born in the 1940s. They talked about their emotional experiences while watching the democratic delegates announce their votes. They had so many memories: When they were girls they had to wear dresses all of the time. Families looked down upon them for choosing to have careers or for not choosing their husband’s last names when getting married. They shared their secret treks to underground facilities offering birth control.
I listened to Chelsea Clinton talk about healthcare, gun protection, LGBT rights. I read her words on equal pay for equal work and paid maternity leave for working families.
And, you know what? I’m in. I’m with her.
I believe Hillary Clinton will fight for human welfare. She will help young families with their student loan debt. She will fight for equal pay for equal work. She will fight for affordable daycare for working families. She will ensure the safety of my child by fighting for sensible gun control.
She’s not my first choice. I don’t respect her as a person, or even as a politician. But I’m picking my cause for this election cycle, and it is family. That is what is most important to me right now.
Making sure my family has health care. Ensuring we have enough food to eat so my little Elle can remind us all to hold hands and say grace (she says, “I have grateful for this delicious food and for the sun and the rain and the earth” and my heart melts). Being sure to keep my job that offers a reasonable wage, regardless of the fact that I am a woman. Holding onto our incredible daycare provider so my husband and I can both work.
My conscience says this is the right thing to do. I ask you to do the same: Go out and vote for what makes you happy, finally.
And, to all who keep telling the Bernie or Bust crowd just to vote for Hillary Clinton because they don’t want Trump to be president: Please – stop saying that. Tell everyone why you are voting for Hillary. What cause is important to you? Why will she make a good president? Convince them she is worth of your vote, not because she will prevent a Trump presidency, but because she will be a good president.