When I was in elementary school, I made friends with an older woman in my neighborhood. Pat had a cute little dog named Goochie, her house was full of curiosities that any young child would marvel at, she would happily give you one of the amazing-smelling roses from her garden, she had the most curious mole on her face that I couldn't help but look at, and she was always friendly and accepting. My family would invite Pat over to Sunday dinner and occasionally she would invite my very large family over to her house for dinner.
One time, when we arrived at Pat’s house, she had the television on. Hillary Clinton was speaking, and Pat said something along the lines of, "Isn't she just wonderful?" Pat occasionally did strange things, and who could blame someone getting up there in years and living alone? At the time I didn't know much about Hillary Clinton, but I watched my mom avoid the question and later heard my parents talk about the Clintons and specifically Hillary in a disparaging way, so naturally I thought Pat's opinion of Hillary must be one of her quirks that was forgivable due to her age.
From people I was surrounded by, I learned that Hillary couldn’t do anything right—I even remember hearing her being criticized for getting expensive haircuts, which most of us would probably do if we had the means and our looks were being critiqued by the world.
It took about 20 years for me to re-evaluate the belief that Hillary was a horrible person. Today, #ImWithHer.
I’ve seen all the same bias at play with Hillary—her voice is shrill, her voice is too manly, she’s not loving enough, she’s a woman and women are too emotional. She’s been criticized for her husband’s choices and her outfits. Media focus has been more on her past mistakes and where she as a person falls short than on where she stands now. Through it all, she has remained unwaveringly confident. I wish I could have poise like that.
Honestly, I've mostly looked at politics as annoying and to be avoided as much as possible. I think it says something that someone like me has been seriously affected by the hatred and selfishness spewed by Trump in the current election.
I’ve cried when hearing that people I know are supporting Trump—not because they’re not supporting Hillary Clinton, but because I hear "Like Trump, I don't respect you or any woman and I am not willing to show love and understanding to people who are different from me."
A lot of people have had trauma re-surface because of Trump and it’s terrifying to think his hatred could be normalized more than it already is. I can’t even begin to tell you how emotional I’ve been this election, from the trauma of Trump, to the excitement at possibly having a woman in the office of president, to the bitter disappointment at how strong the racism, xenophobia, and sexism are in the U.S.
Although I haven’t lived in Utah for many years, this breaks my heart:
I was so proud of so many from the state I was raised in disliking Trump. What happened? Were people unable to look past their party? Do people know that Utah used to be Democrat and it's okay to vote outside of your party to thwart someone like Trump?
As far as I know, in my lifetime, Trump is the only U.S. presidential candidate who has been so openly, repeatedly, unapologetically hateful of people different than he is. I do not believe that either party is an advocate for hatred and I’m confounded as to why Donald Trump has come this far. This election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is no longer a question of political views or parties; it is a question of hating/allowing hate for or supporting your fellow humans.
I don’t believe it’s possible for any human to be a perfect leader (do you?!), and I don’t think Hillary Clinton is the exception to that. I do know that Hillary Clinton has long cared about women’s and children’s rights, that she has years of experience dealing with the most difficult situations, that she does her homework to make the best decisions she can, that she stuck it out with an unfaithful spouse (seriously, wow), and that she’s seeking to learn and be more inclusive as we all should.
Having Hillary Clinton as president would be a whole world better than an America with a hateful Trump as leader. Again, I know that Hillary Clinton isn’t perfect. But I also know that she hasn’t sexually assaulted anyone, been unapologetic and even encouraging of sexual assault, mocked people with disabilities, proudly avoided paying taxes, stereotyped minorities as rapists and criminals, stooped to endless name-calling and body-shaming, talked casually about nuking, not paid hundreds of people for their work, been hands-off about raising children and discouraged fathers from being involved, or been endorsed by the KKK.
If I felt like I had any sway and that it’s not mostly too late, I would beg: do not vote for Trump and the hatred and fear he stands for. It has been somewhat relieving to hear of family members who have decided to vote for third-party candidates in mostly Republican states, but in the end, they are essentially voting for Trump and "spoiling" the election. (See this video about voting paradoxes to learn about the spoiler effect.)
It has taken a lot for me to say this publicly online, but the more I think about it and feel upset by the awfulness of Trump, the more I feel like I have to say something or forever regret not standing up for someone I believe in and against a horror. I, like many others, have asked myself if I would have stood up against Nazis in Germany or if I would have been on the wrong side of history. Today, though I'm late, I stand with the person I believe will steer America clear of similar utter chaos and tragedy.
To anyone reading this who has been afraid to publicly support Hillary Clinton or at the very least to speak up against Trump, I encourage you to stand with me.
To anyone who has not closely examined their disgust of Hillary Clinton and needs some inspiration (even if you've already voted), let me know and I will add you to an amazingly inspiring, Hillary-supporting Facebook group that you can read about here.
At the end of today, I hope to be able to know for sure that we will finally have a tough, experienced woman as president who will set an example for generations of girls and women. I hope if Pat is watching, she'll be proud. I also hope that my ballot stub will be a treasure for years to come as I've seen happen with suffragette sashes.
I leave you with some words that resonated with me from blogger CJane:
[Hillary’s] fight feels so personal to me. She's had to fight like hell and she's still standing--and that's important to me because I've never seen it done before. And I need to see it done. What will we gain from a nation full of women who fight and stay strong and don't give up until their voices are heard from the very, very top? We don't know. But I am willing to bet it's going to be radical, transformative and ultimately healing.
Some other things to check out: