On Tuesday, November 8, I wore a white flannel shirt and put a big white bow in my youngest daughter’s hair. I believed the United States was about to break the highest glass ceiling in the land. I thought we were going to use our votes to say, “no, thank you!” to hate and racism and misogyny.
I did not vote for Mrs. Clinton in the primaries. In fact, I voted in the Republican primary because I’m currently a registered Republican. (This has swung back and forth, Democrat to Republican to Independent and so on since I turned 18. I suppose I really am an Independent but I just keep trying to identify with a party because who doesn’t like a party?) If I could have chosen my ideal Presidential race, neither candidate would have been on the ballot and I would have had a difficult time choosing between Bernie and John. These were my options, though, which to me really only meant I had one option.
I know now how naive I was. In my mind, we were choosing between a racist sexist hateful man and a slightly shady politically-tied woman who did some stupid crap with her emails. This seemed like such a no brainer to me. It’s not how a large portion of the country saw things, though.
I will not pretend to understand it all. I will not pretend to be a political analyst here. I have many thoughts about this, but I will just tell my story and let you tell yours.
Sitting on the couch with my husband and 3 oldest children, we sat and watched some of the first results coming in. It was all very close. Too close. You could tell some of the people on the news were surprised… or nervous. I sent my boys to bed. My husband dozed off next to me while my teenage daughter and I watched on.
When Ohio turned red, I felt like someone had stacked bricks on my chest. I don’t exactly know how to put words to this. I don’t want to belittle the prejudices others face on a daily basis. For the first time in my life, though, I felt hated for something I am. I felt discriminated against. I felt like all my fellow Ohioans were looking at Mr. Trump and all of his disrespect of women then looking at me and my daughters and the other women of the world, the people of color and people of differing faiths… and chose him. I went to bed and hoped I would wake up to something different.
On Tuesday, November 8, I thought I would witness history. I thought my children would live in a world where it wouldn’t be unheard of that a woman be elected President. Instead, I witnessed… something else.
I don’t know exactly how I will talk to my children about this President. I’ve always firmly believed that we should respect our leaders, even when we disagree and I still believe that. But my kids have already heard so many of his words. They’ve heard so many things at school. They’ve asked so many questions. And I won’t lie to them for him. I will just hope that he will do and say things deserving of respect, too.
Wearing suffragette white to the polls on November 8 wasn’t really a nod to Hillary Clinton. It was a nod to every woman who has helped pave the way. It was a thank you to suffragettes of all colors and backgrounds. And you know what? I think from now on, I will wear white to vote. I will hope and I will teach my children to love and I will pass along the message, “to all the little girls watching… never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance & opportunity in the world.”