I spent last weekend in the company of two of my most favorite women. Strong, intelligent women with compassion and humor beyond words. Women who wake up every day energized to do good work to help others.
I stand at the end of a long line of smart, resourceful, empathetic mothers. Mothers who live in the grey area, who refuse to see the world in black and white, who constantly broaden the birth and depth of their compassion. Mothers who will do anything to help their families and their friends. Mothers who have never, not even once, told me that I was less than because I am a woman.
These are the qualities I voted for on Tuesday morning. I had happy tears in my eyes and I drew the little black line next to Hillary Clinton’s name. Not only did I vote for her vast experience, her belief that we are better together, her belief that every American deserves equal respect and access to opportunity, but I also voted for fact that the person who would be leading our country has moved through the same male-dominated world I do. A world that can be harsh and unsafe, a world that is far from easy. Electing Hillary Clinton as my president not only meant electing a qualified president, it also meant bringing a new type of compassion to the most powerful, visible role in our country.
It meant a so much to me to vote for a woman for President. It felt like progress deep in my bones. But I was not just voting for any woman, I was voting for the woman who I knew in my heart would do the very best job. I voted for myself, for my husband who’s belief in equality runs just as deep as mine, for our future children, for every young girl and boy so they would grow up in a world with this example, and for every woman in the world because America’s example reaches far and wide. I really thought that together we we would shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling. I felt empowered, and so, so hopeful.
As I watched the results come in from across the country, I felt sick. I felt heartbroken. Tears poured down my face, Jordan poured us each a whiskey. We watched, my stomach in my throat, my hands at my face. We cried when the path of reason was obliterated.
It is a heartbreaking and terrifying thing to realize we have not come as far as I thought we had. I had no illusions that America was perfect, I knew we had a lot to of work to do, but I did honestly believe that most Americans would understand that there is place in America for all of us, that making America safe for all people is empowering all people, that our diversity is our greatest strength, that racism and misogyny would not run quite so deep.
To elect a man for president that preaches a message of hate, of aggression, of racism, of misogyny. Who has sexually assaulted women, who has repeatedly disrespected the collective rules that make America work, who’s hate is so much his hallmark that he was endorsed by the KKK. I am outraged. I am heartbroken. I have no idea how I will meet in the middle with the Americans who voted for a man like this.
People talk about the fact that they wanted a change. They wanted someone to ‘blow the system up’. They wanted something new in politics. To that I say, your frustration has blinded you. You are not looking two steps into the future. Our government serves 318 million people, and supports countries all over the world. It is not perfect, but we live in comparative luxury and security. These things work because of our politicians. Yes, political corruption is a real thing. Corruption is a real thing across every aspect of our lives. You are taking your stability for granted. This is blindness of privilege, I did not realize just how blinding it was.
I want to have hope for the future, but from where I sit today, the future is grim. As a white, educated woman, a place of privilege for certain, even I do not feel I will have representation in our national government come January. A Republican house, a Republican senate, a President elect who brings out the worst demons in all of us. The progress we have fought so hard for over the past 50 years, it feels so tenuous. I feel sick and I expect I will feel that way for a long time. This is no regular election, these are not the feelings of a typical transition of power from a Democratic president to a Republican one. This is very different. Tears of worry continue to well in my eyes and anxiety sits in the pit of my stomach.
But, what is there to do but get to work. Work to build a future for myself, for the people I love, and for people who are far more marginalized that I am, a future that is safe, respectful and inclusive. We cannot be silent. We cannot be afraid. This work will summon all of the courage we have, but there is hope in the work.
5 replies on “heartbreak”
Yes, you have a lineage of forward thinking women.
Worth’s grandmother Nellie was president of Tehama County Woman’s Suffrage Committee in 1908, in Chico, CA. My grandmother Kate was first woman Post Mistress in Tehama Co. She was not active in the Movement because she was busy having my father, your great grandfather, Franklin Alden Almstead.
Change comes slowly. We have choices. My choice is to say “What the hell happened” , listen to the various replies, and to dedicate my remaining life to positive change. Sulking or pouting or sighing in resignation are not options in my vocabulary. A waste of excellent energy best used to continue creating a better world, in our corner of the world.
Your commentary was excellent. Much love dear Emily, Grandma Hannah
Thank you for your eloquent letter. All that happened is shocking and tragic. I appreciate you expressing how many of us feel. Praying for a more generous, kinder spirit in this America that we love.
Emily, Hannah and Marie,
Thank you so much for expressing the sentiments that many of us have experienced. You have expressed it so well. You see, I do not look like you. But my heart and soul is the same. Can you imagine how I feel? I have grandchildren who were afraid to go to school for fear of being called names or bullied. I assured them not to worry, that we would protect them. But in my heart, I hope that to be true. Ladies, it is OUR job to help others understand that We are all children of God, and we want better for our families and our future. A world of kindness and respect for each other is what we want our children to learn. They are the future United States citizens. As we pray, we will continue to ask for the supreme being’s wisdom in our decisions; guidance in the messages we send to others in our actions; and deliverance from assumptions, and evil influences. Life is already too short. All American citizens deserve a Better – Happier and Peaceful Life! Love You!
Thank you for articulating so clearly the same shock and horror that I feel. Kathy and I both stayed home Wednesday in hiding, eating pizza in bed and watching The Crown on Netflix. Deny. Avoid. It was like a snow day with no joy, where the snow was nuclear fallout.
In the Spanish-speaking restaurant kitchen where I work, I am the only Anglo. I want to wear a button that says, “Me da avergüenzo para nuestro país.”
Beautifully written. I am so proud to have such a strong family. The best thing we can do now is continue to rise up and promote the good. We can keep making positive choices and supporting others who do the same.