Well, we have arrived. The heart of the apocalyptic election. Or so it seems.
For the record, I wanted Bernie Sanders. I had the bumper sticker. I read the 180 page policy plan. I waited 13 hours outside his rally in my hometown.
I know I lost many of you with those few opening sentences but it's not lost on me that I cannot write this post without sharing that bit about my voting history this election.
Anyways, most people, conservatives included, that I talked to about being pro Bernie didn't have much to say about my choice -- they either stood with me or against me and that was that. Then when I went all #hillyeah about twenty days after Bernie lost in the primary there were a few people who passively suggested that I might possibly have the moral backbone of a snail.
It is no secret that I am a democrat and it sure as heck isn't a secret that I would never, ever condone a Donald Trump America. So why? Why, when Bernie lost in the primary, was it so much more horrible to transition my vote for Hillary than it ever was to support Bernie?
And then it came to me in a dream, or maybe it was a Facebook post from the woman I used to teach Sunday school with, many Republicans think Hillary Clinton is the antichrist, or at least something very close to it.
In light of the strong conservative aversion to Hillary Clinton I took hours each night for a few weeks and got to know Secretary Clinton. Reading policy is never fun but if you're a voter and you didn't read the elongated policy text that your candidate put forward, please do. Aside from reading policy, I spent an afternoon with people directly linked to the Benghazi scandal, I read every credible piece of released information on the great email scandal, and I got down and dirty with a few sound bites about Hillary freeing rapists and killing babies that have been throughly debunked. And then, after entirely too much time spent on that, to be fair, I spent an astronomical amount of time getting to know Donald J. Trump.
In all reality, getting to know Donald Trump was far more entertaining. Half the time I was sitting up at 1-2am with my mouth half open because he is truly, by all accounts of everything, the most vile, disgusting man I have ever taken the time to learn anything about.
I could sit here and write a twenty page debrief analysis of everything I learned, including everything about the sound bite scandals on both sides, but we're less than a day away from the election and quite frankly, I don't have the energy for that kind of debrief.
The thing about Trump is that the disgusting, vile words that spill out of his mouth aren't the only thing stopping me from voting for him. It's not his incompetence, it's not the fact that he openly (and routinely for all those that think it was a one time thing), bragged about sexually harassing and grabbing women's genitals, it's not even the fact that he's on trial for child rape.
What's stopping me from voting for Trump isn't about tax returns or metaphorical nuclear war. Those things are entirely too bizarre to recount to begin with and quite frankly, Donald Trump's antics don'y matter nearly as much as his policies matter.
The bottom line that transcends all else is that I'm not voting Trump because Trump's policy is shatteringly incompetent, his experience is embarrassingly unrelated to anything that the president needs to be able to do, and his values are not my values.
I understand that my values are different than the values of some that I know and others that I love. Regardless, the reality is that these values proceed me, as they will proceed me throughout my life. Voting Hillary isn't about emails (that were once again exonerated after a bizarre, seemingly desperate, reopening on behalf of the very Republican head of FBI) just like not voting Donald Trump isn't because I'd prefer not to have my president sitting in a court hearing for child rape during his first year in office.
I'm not voting Trump because his policy is not a policy that protects and upholds the basic human rights of our neighbors, both at home and around the world. I'm voting the way I'm voting on Tuesday not because I have some blind devotion to Hillary Clinton, or even to the left, but because I have a very raw devotion to international equality, to women's rights as human rights, and to the reality that being with her means being with every "them" that has ever been misrepresented or labeled a minority.
I don't do blind patriotism. I don't do racism, sexism, homophobia, or any person or party who won't boldly and wholeheartedly reject these ideals. I don't support gun laws that have translated into the killing of at least one innocent life every hour. I don't talk about fellow human beings like they're the bad guys in a violent video game. I don't believe, and am well aware that there is no documented evidence to prove, that closing boarders and ripping families apart will somehow "Make America Great Again".
So when I wave my flag with Hillary Clinton tomorrow it's not for any one reason. Instead, I'm waving my flag for every policy and ideal that I value. I'm waving my flag for every woman before me and every woman to come, not because this election is about gender, though it's about damn time for a Madam President, but because Hillary has petitioned for the rights of women and children for decades and now she's taking those values where they belong, to the White House.
As this election comes to an end, there is a likely probability that Donald Trump will become president. Should that reality play out, I will write openly and vulnerably about my devastation after taking some time to be with family and friends. I know that so many of you may find that sentiment to be a bit dramatic but you see, I care about families around the world as an extension of my own. Devastatingly, families around America and around the world will be ripped apart and destroyed at the hands of a Donald Trump America.
His policy plan, at every page turn, has a byproduct effect that rips families apart while her policy plan, at every page turn, aims to bring families together. You can say a lot of nasty, horrible things about Hillary and some of them may be very, very true but her immense contribution to the well being of families and children isn't even remotely debatable.
I could go on and on, and I did in fact go on and on, and then I cut out hundreds of words to simply leave you with this -- when it's all said and done, these are my values. My carefully researched, prayed over, and thought out values. Regardless of your own values, the reality is that it's fundamentally incorrect to believe that a president should, or could, uphold the immense promises that both candidates are incorrectly promising this election.
That being said, if we want to see change in our communities, we need to be that change. If we want to see our values and ideals implemented into our every day lives, and into the lives of our neighbors, we need to open our homes, open our hearts, and love our neighbors (not just here but around the world).
Not for a second do I believe that you have to be a democrat to have compassion. The only thing you need to be to have compassion is human. So, after you've voted, the real work begins. Conservatives, liberals, independents, and others around the globe, get your compassion pants on and remember, real change starts with you -- not with the President of the United States.
That being said, I'm voting Hillary and then, regardless of the results, I'm getting back to work spending every day doing my part to champion for the issues that matter most to me. I hope you'll do the same.
Go make some noise, be the change, and love your neighbor. Cheers.