I Woke Up Like This

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I have avoided writing anything about this presidential election because it's been a shitshow of anger and illogical outbursts and I didn't want to get caught in the crossfire.

I feel bad for my Republican friends, especially because you guys had so little to choose from right from the start. I don't know what's going on with your party, but I know that for so many of you, it's a rough ride and you would like nothing more than to forget the whole thing. 

As for my Democrat friends, well, it's been crazy, right? For the longest time I think we were coming to terms with the fact that the Obamas are leaving the White House. I'm not sure we are Ok with that yet, but we can no longer live in denial. I, personally, was impressed with Bernie Sanders and truly believe he would make a great President. But then we got Hillary Clinton. I didn't know how I felt about that. I didn't enjoy Bill Clinton's leadership and I wasn't sure I could handle this whole thing of two people from the same family getting elected AGAIN. So, I've been a political minimalist this time, taking in the news in small doses for about a month. I've ignored the bait of dramatic social media posts. I've been thinking quietly.


I never liked Hillary. I once included her name in a poem I wrote about famous women whose reputations were trashed by the mistakes they made. I called her a "political tramp". To be fair, I ended that poem with the recognition that success came hand in hand with a soiled name. I could only relate to those women on that level. Success = a trampled reputation.

Having been in the public eye for so long, there are a lot of stones to throw at Mrs. Clinton. She has definitely made mistakes. I'm not happy about the fact that I can't say she is honest to a fault, like I felt I could say about Barack Obama. Out there in the real world, fighting as long as she has, in the middle of the shit, she has gotten dirty here and there. Sometimes it was by association, sometimes I think she made a mistake. She was terribly human.

Ya know who else has made mistakes? Donald Trump. Wow. I'm not going to list them, as it would be unfair and it's not the point I'm trying to make. But yeah, he's got his own public humiliations to deal with.

I have always said I vote for the integrity of the man, that it mattered to me more than anything. 

The integrity of the MAN.

Like you, I saw bits and pieces of that 1st debate. I read a few articles the next day. I pride myself in being able to read the character of people. And when I watched close enough, paid attention to this woman who I could not get behind all those years ago, something really amazing happened. I felt a sisterhood with her. I could relate. I felt her frustration and her restraint and her cautious hope. I felt her joy as her opponent laid himself out there. 

I don't feel sisterhood easily. You ask anyone - I have always been the woman who stood with the men at any party. My mentors, the people I looked up to, could relate to, wanted to converse with - men with few exceptions. I have been hard on my gender. But something clicked the other night. All I could think while watching her was "I know, sister. I know."

When I think back on all the people I have worked for and with over the years, I have always been acutely aware, and possibly a little bit proud, of the fact that I was able to withstand a lot of bullshit. I have worked for a lot of men and a few women who were difficult, many of them having the reputation of being "impossible to please" and yet I did. I held my shit together, I treaded lightly when egos were at stake, and I spoke up just enough to not be thought of as a pushover. It's dance of endurance for women in a male dominated business world and I did it well until I left. 10 years have gone by. 10 years of reflection; and this election comes at a time when I am considering my options of returning to that paid working world. It occurred to me today that I cannot even imagine Hillary Clinton letting herself be dismissed by someone because if her gender. That's the kind of woman I want in front of my daughter, her friends and my son and his friends.

I didn't vote for Barack Obama because his skin was dark. But I don't blame anyone who did. It was time. And if it was time in 2008 to elect a black president, then it is way past time to elect a female president. It is, embarrassingly, decades overdue. And I'm not ashamed to say that I'm going to help make it happen.

I always knew about the subtle ways that women have been kept from leadership positions. But what I didn't give much thought to was how incredibly affective they could be at representing me in a way that a man could not. This is something that the black man has always known and dealt with, but, I, as a white, middle class woman who purposely set herself apart from other women, did not feel the full effects of until I grew up. Not until I got a good look at Elizabeth Warren (who was born and raised in Oklahoma, btw)  and Michelle Obama, if I were honest. There was something about those women who helped me see Mrs. Clinton in a new light. And who sealed the deal? Donald Trump. Watching him try to put Hillary Clinton in her place in the last month has woke me up to what her place is right now, where we, as women, as a country, stand.

And, if you are wondering, yes, there is a defiant part of me that wants her to win this presidency because she IS a woman. There is a part of me that is so tired of being told what to do by men, that I could vote for her on that alone. But that's not the only reason.

Hillary is smart. I never denied that. She's experienced. She's ambitious. She perseveres. She has fought for my rights since the beginning. She knows what she is doing and I like where she's headed. Do I think she is perfect? No. But I believe she acknowledges that and still presses on. I get her. I relate. And I think she deserves my vote.

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