I’ve voted before, and I’ll vote again, but today was the first time I teared up as I fed my ballot through the machine.
My eldest son patted me on the back. “It’s ok, Mom,” he said, grinning at my emotions.
My daughter rolled her eyes. “You cry at everything!”
“You should have seen my grandparents,” I said. “It’s hereditary.”
What would my grandparents think if they were here today, voting for the first woman to lead this nation? I know they would have voted for her, too.
Today is a momentous day. Either we step into the dark side of judgment and hatred, bigotry and bullying, or we step into the dawn of a new age, when women really can lead the pack and we can all be better for it.
I’m no dummy, of course. I know that simply electing Hillary is not an end to our problems. He Who Shall Not Be Named has opened a floodgate of hatred in this country that I never imagined we would experience as Americans.
On other shores, sure. Not here. I can’t quite fathom how such hatred and meanness has lurked beneath society’s surface for so long.
Now we know it’s there. And with a valiant leader who knows right from wrong, who advocates for those who have no other advocate, who holds her head high even when people spit vitriol in her direction simply because she is a smart, strong woman who won’t be beaten down, we have half a chance to get on the path to healing.
I’ve already written about why I find it so distasteful when people say they just don’t like Hillary.
I’m so sorry to hear that. Perhaps it’s a little bit of self-hatred, too.
Perhaps it’s years and centuries and millennia of women being so mystifying and threatening that we as a culture, as a people, as the human race just can’t wrap our heads nor our hearts around the idea of inspiring female leadership.
People say, If it were another woman, I could get behind her. It’s just Hillary I don’t like.
I don’t buy it.
It would be any woman in this hot seat, and frankly, most women wouldn’t be able to take the heat as long as Hillary has.
Because she cares more about the American people and the future of our great nation than she cares about herself.
Today, I took my two eldest children with me to vote. We parked, walked into the gym of the school where the polling booths stood on the gleaming parquet, and filled out the form identifying me and my right to vote.
The pen shook in my hand as I colored in the circles. My son remarked that I should just vote straight party ticket until I colored in the oval for a Republican candidate whom I know and respect. (Just one.)
When I finished and my paper slid into the machine to be counted, we walked out of the gym and into the silent hallway.
An eerie but serene calm enveloped us. I bit my lower lip as emotion flooded me. I swiped at the tears forming in my eyes.
“It’s ok, Mom,” my son said, wrapping his long, strong arm around my back. I leaned my head toward him.
I stuck an “I Voted” sticker on my jacket and another one on the blouse underneath.
“It’s funny, you’re so liberal, but also so patriotic,” my son said later as we took my rings to the estate jeweler who sold them to me, the one with long dreadlocks, tattoos on his wrists and knuckles, big gold rings on every finger and a shop that reeked of incense.
“The two are not mutually exclusive,” I replied.
“I am so proud to be an American,” I said. “And I hold fast to the idea that we need to take care of those who need our help. The more I make, the more I can contribute.”
And there’s nothing wrong with that.