Dear People of the World That Are Not Americans,
I’m sorry. I’m sorry that our foolishness has been relentlessly dissected on a global level and y’all were made privy to it. I’m sorry if anyone else got nervous about what the hell we’re about to do. I’m sorry if any of the candidates made you feel less than, because that’s never OK.
Here’s what I’m not sorry for: I’m not sorry that I finally got to vote for a woman to be the leader of this bonkers country.
I know, right? It’s about time. And frankly, I’m glad it’s Secretary Clinton, because to me, she represents something that I have grown to realize is the fate handed to many women. It falls to us to be overqualified for positions, so as to not offend the delicate status quo or, dare I say it, display any sense of personal ambition. We are predominately expected to handle every single problem that comes our way with grace and aplomb, never revealing our weaknesses nor our frustrations to anyone. We are expected to be impossibly beautiful, poised, elegant, with a smile permanently plastered on our faces. We are expected to be both sexually available and unavailable, which is a paradox I would love to have resolved any day now. We are expected to put our needs and our comfort secondary, so as to not inconvenience others.
And if we dare stray from this, we are astoundingly degraded. Our humanity is called into question. We are attacked based on our physical appearances, our sexualities, and our purported failings.
Secretary Clinton has had a lengthy history of monstrous attacks directed her way, attacks that would make any troll wielding them piss his pants if they were directed towards him. Her very existence in public life has been a long, drawn out critique. And yet despite Congress’s fetish of dragging her to hearing after hearing, she handles her business with a remarkable dignity. Despite pundits demanding her to answer for her husband’s sins on a nearly constant basis, as though she were his babysitter and not his wife, she focuses her energy on how to better serve her constituents. Despite a leathery-faced blowhard holding on to this dark email cloud, even though the FBI cleared her name, she has apologized and done her best to move forward.
My first vote was cast in early 2008, in the Virginia primary for Barack Obama. I voted for him again in that year’s general election, then again in 2012. During a family reunion in Orange Beach, I watched my extended family display their middle fingers at President Obama’s motorcade as he drove past our hotel in order to give a speech about the BP Oil Spill. I am not usually one to bend to authority figures, but I had never seen that blatant a display of disrespect before, and I was disgusted with the people I am supposed to call my kin. Regardless of how anyone felt about him and his presidency, there is something about the office that compels one to put pride aside and give respect. I believe this clip sums it up beautifully.
I had thought, and I had believed, that political campaigns could not be as vicious and toxic as the ones endured by President Barack Obama, Senator McCain, and Governor Romney. I have, of course, grossly miscalculated. This arduous campaign has been a trial for everyone involved. Watching Secretary Clinton try to land jokes in order to appeal to young voters has been as painful as watching the orange hotel manager flail and snort through each debate. The talks, because it is not rhetoric and Plato would never deign to call it that, have been vile. The social media involvement has been incessant and unforgiving.
My fellow Americans, here’s the thing: you don’t have to want to have a beer with the candidate, because there’s a solid chance you won’t ever get the chance to do so. You don’t have to vote with your heart, because frankly the heart can be fickle. You don’t have to like the candidates; in fact, you can lament that this is the best that this country had to offer this year.
Take every election platitude that has been repeated throughout this country’s existence,ignore it, and instead choose to do something radical: vote with your head. Who do you want in control of our appallingly large nuclear arsenal? Who do you want to represent this country on the global stage? Who do you want to address you after a devastating tragedy that rocks the nation to its knees?
I see that my home state’s polls are about to close, and I’d like to see how they do. I will get off my soap box now.
In other non-election related news, my latest short story will be coming out in two days! You can pre-order here. I’m very excited about this one!
Good night, readers. See y’all on the other side!