Why has this been so hard, so deflating, and so seemingly hopeless?
I want to believe that “it will all work out,” that “ the sun will shine,” that the checks and balances of our governing system will moderate any extremist action. I really want to believe it.
I don’t want to be a “sore loser,” unsympathetic to my other party friends who feel they have had to “endure” a democratic presidency for the past eight years. I really don’t.
I could underscore Hillary’s qualifications, my belief in her credibility, integrity, and honor. I could reiterate what I, and many others (including many of those who voted for him) dislike and abhor about President-Elect Trump. I could. But I won’t. We’ve been spouting it to one another - both the true and confirmed and the untrue and unconfirmed - for months, now, on social and news media. Few of us have changed our minds or positions.
For many of my Republican friends, Mr. Trump offered the only pathway to change and a conservative SCOTUS. I think it is a dangerous path to take, with Mr. Trump as the leader, but I respect your right to choose it. Please understand, though, that it is a very frightening path for many of us. As a self-employed, self-insured, gay woman, I have great anxiety over what the consequences of a Trump presidency hold for me and others like me, as well as ethnic and religious minorities, Women in general, and immigrants. I suppose we can argue that these are socio-political arguments upon which we will have to “agree to disagree.” Perhaps.
There are those of you for whom your vote was tied to one issue alone – that of life versus choice. Sadly, this is another matter where many people I love and respect find it hard to believe that those of us who are pro-choice are truly not pro-abortion. Just as I refuse to believe that everyone who voted for Mr. Trump is as bigoted as he represented himself while campaigning, I would ask that my pro-life friends recognize that everyone who is pro-choice does not devalue life, but perhaps see the picture painted with a broader, grayer brush.
So the question remains . . . why does this election feel so different to me?
I was a young girl in the age of the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment and the advent of Title IX. And in those days, my mother - a smart, fairly independent thinking woman - believed it wouldn’t be good for a woman to be President (“What if she had to make a decision about war and she was having her period?”). That didn’t seem right to me then, and it doesn’t seem right now. And with a little more age and life experience, I might have reminded my mother that any woman President would likely be long past menopause, so that wouldn’t be an issue (so to speak).
When I came out as gay, my sister was talking with my grandmother as she tried to wrap her head around the revelation. “Memaw . . . would you rather have her marry a black man or a woman?” Neither of these was an issue for my sister, but both were for my grandmother. My grandmother responded, “Well . . . I guess a black man.” As one of my oldest friends reminded me yesterday, “Your Memaw knew our country better than we did. They were ready for a black man to be President, but not a woman.” For the record, my grandmother kept an open mind and an accepting heart, and started introducing me to the “lesbian fellows” who lived in her neighborhood. She was a little confused on the terminology, but had the acceptance part down just fine.
Now here’s the thing. I am in a committed, loving and long-term relationship. I love my partner with all my heart. We have a home and family of canines together. We rely on self-insurance through Obamacare. We have been through some difficult and challenging times – significant health issues, caring for and losing my mother to Alzheimer’s earlier this year, buying a house together, just to name a few. We have survived all of this, grown closer and more committed, and I have been looking forward to the day when we could actually be (legally) married.
I’ll also confess this. I’m a bit of an intellectual elitist. I like people who run my country to have a broader vocabulary than “great” and “bigly,” and to see them demonstrate some measure of critical and reflective thinking. It is one of the reasons I like Hillary. And why I simply couldn’t imagine her losing to her opponent.
There have been many memes on social media the past few days delineating what we voted “for” when we elected Mr. Trump. I think my sense of hopelessness is reflected through a different lens, though.
When Hillary lost, it felt like I lost, too. In fact – I. Felt. Lost.
Just when I thought we were entering the promised land of acceptance and shattered glass ceilings, I found myself turned back to the wilderness to wander for . . . forty years?
- I don’t know if I’ll have or be able to afford insurance this time next year.
- I don’t know if I will be able to legally marry the woman I love.
- Young girls who weren’t really aware that the glass ceilings exist have seen them brought into focus in a way I had hoped they would never have to witness.
- Teachers all over the country are trying to figure out how best to comfort their students who fear for the safety of their immigrant or other-than-Christian parents.
- Worst of all, when even a country like Libya, which has endured a culture of brutality and rape against women, can elect a woman as their leader in the aftermath of civil war, the United States stands as the most powerful country in the world – powerless to shatter that glass ceiling and elect its first imminently qualified woman President.
The glass ceiling remains intact, leaving me feeling not a little shattered.