Yep. Veterans Day. Just the right day to talk about the election. This is not an explanation. Nor an excuse. It is not an apology. It is my thought process. What’s done is done.
I was talking to my sister the day after the election. She called because after her phone conversation with her daughter she was at a loss. Her daughter, my lovely and talented niece, was crying, obviously in abject pain over the election of Donald Trump. My sister was trying to figure out how winning or losing an election would put a person out of commission for a day or more. I can’t say I disagree.
I went to bed Tuesday night after a personal total ban on any election coverage, both TV and internet, so no knowledge of the winner. In the morning when Tom turned on the TV I asked him if that was a joke, a Dewey versus Truman moment? Although, I should have phrased it better, Truman was the underdog in that race. And he said, “No. Trump won.” All right, I foolishly thought. This election is done, in the bag, over. We can get back to other stuff, but no.
As soon as I went I facebook I knew that my niece was no outlier. With posts #notmypresident, and ‘I am ashamed of my country’, and ‘How could this happen.’ With lots of posts about the ‘ignoramuses’ who voted for Trump, and ‘who could vote for a misogynistic , racist, homophobic’, my Facebook news feed was a train wreck of people who were so devastated by the loss of Hillary Clinton that the emoting posts were painful to read. There are others who can explain the vote far better than I and I may or may not agree with the explanation, because anytime you speak in generalities or about blocs you lose the meaning of the thing. However, I am a white, college educated [BA, MBA], middle class woman who worked in private corporations in HR as my career, working hard enough, along with my white, college educated middle class husband to put our kids through college without pilling up debt for them or for us, not using any federal assistance. Did it impact our retirement, yes. Tom retired at age 70. We are both Roman Catholic. And yes, that meant something to us.
We voted both for and against in this election. After reading both the party platforms we decided that we could not vote for a party that wanted to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which is about taxpayer dollars paying for abortions. To us, within our faith, abortion is a sin, an existential evil. While we would not force anyone to accept our belief system, we feel strongly that to pay for abortion with federal dollars goes against our rights as a citizen. Additionally, in looking at the democratic platform we do not agree with the policies that, while they are called progressive, to us are socialistic; i.e., forcing wage equality, forgiving of student debt at taxpayer expense, decreasing military effectiveness and the list goes on.
The republican platform, for us, centered more on individual rights, a sovereign nation, free markets and smaller government. These are values we believe in. And while there are parts of the RNC platform and Mr. Trump’s campaign that we disagreed with [so who agrees with everything?] we voted our conscience.
As for the candidates, well, yes, Mr. Trump’s language was less than desirable, which is putting it mildly, but frankly I worked in manufacturing and I have heard much worse, which, admittedly is no excuse. His appeal to the darker nature of humankind versus humankind was distasteful, soul cringing. While one daughter called it sexual assault, I did not. It was words. I know what sexual assault is. And as a writer and a life-long voracious reader, I know the power of words. But still it was words. While, with Mrs. Clinton there was this feeling of ‘one more time’, ‘one more scandal’. One more, one more, one more. It was hard to shake the image of political aristocracy, entitlement, and arrogance from her campaign. And then when the emails were leaked? I am not going to debate criminal versus non, James Comey, or any other aspect, but we were tired of the Clintons, just plain tired.
In talking with my sister, we discussed our mom. A college educated woman, who could stand off against a classroom of forty fifth graders as easily as against a man twice her size who thought to mistreat her or her girls, all five foot one of her. Mom would have been appalled at the breast bashing, the weeping, the railing. “Suck it up and deal,” would have been her response. “You are adults, act like it. Think!” My parents were each registered to their party of choice, lol and not the same one. But I have real and clear memories of my parents sitting at the kitchen table with the League of Women Voters pamphlet going through each item, discussing what had been in the papers [no internet or social media then] what had been on the radio, what they had discussed with friends, any information they had, and then decided. Did they always agree? I have no idea. I do know that my parents voted while informed.
They voted, not from an emotional point , or, if it would be good to have a democrat or a republican in office, a catholic or a protestant, a woman or a man in the oval office, but on what that person would bring to the office and continue the hopes and ideals of all those who immigrated to this country. Legally, I should add.
That is exactly what we did. It was irrelevant if a glass ceiling was to be broken. It was irrelevant if Trump was a cad or worse eleven years ago. What was relevant was we do not agree with rules and regulations in place today, the conduct of foreign policy, the use or misuse of branches of government and we do not agree with conflating rights established under the constitution with ideals listed under a social justice agenda.
Why is this under the category Writing in the Past? Because of history, this story. The voting is done. Our system worked. Our leaders on both sides have been gracious about the winning and the losing. It’s time we all, in honor of all those people who fought and died for the right for us to vote as our conscience dictates, are as gracious. We do this every four years. Don’t make 2016 the year the best of our American aspect and system fails us.