On Tuesday, I walked into a local school, showed my ID and got a ballot, voted, put it in the scanner, and stuck an “I Voted” sticker to my shirt. I wore it all day. I lingered outside and called my husband. I wanted to tell him that the lines were good right now (he’d gone to vote at 6am and found a long line) but mostly, I wanted to breathe the moment.
I got into my car and cried.
Then I took a selfie.
Voting is always emotional, but with this election, I felt present in history. Proud to stand up against the hate-spewing assclown who makes fun of people with disabilities, calls a deaf actress “retarded,” and has said that Mexicans coming into our country are rapists and drug dealers.
He’s been on tape talking about grabbing women by their privatest of parts, saying that Americans should exercise second amendment rights against his opponent, and well, so much more. We all know the more by now, and there are better articles and websites that detail his stunning rise to power better than I’m able to.
“Tickle my belly?” It was bedtime on election night, and my not-so-little-little boy rolled over holding his Minecraft Ghast stuffy to his chest. He’s at the wanting-me-at-night while pushing the limits of independence-after-school stage while sometimes telling me to go away at bedtime because he’s “mostly big now.”
“Shhh,” I said. “It’s time to go to sleep.”
“I love you,” I said. He took my hand and held it against him. I waited long past his deep breathing sleep breaths while breathing. Remembering that this life is our life. That this home is our home. That this boy will have services until I die because I will do what needs to be done for him in spite of this election.
I walked downstairs, transferred my “I Voted” sticker to a piece of paper, and wrote that I’d just voted for the first (hopefully) woman president. I only put “hopefully” in because of jinx factors. I was sure she’d win and wanted my son to have a memento in a scrapbook or a box years from now.
I wanted him to know that I was here. In history. That in a way, he was, too.
My not-so-little-little boy is newly seven, developmentally delayed, and does not have the maturity nor the years to absorb that a man who makes fun of people that are closer to him than they aren’t might become president.
And still, I breathe.
On Tuesday, I left work, picked my son up, and he saw my “I Voted” sticker. “You voted?” he said. “Yes,” I said, and we went to Chipotle. I looked at the projected polls, and felt good.
I stayed up too late, not believing but knowing that this person who says “Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” might win. HE WAS WINNING.
I watched the polls, and I cried, still sure that one of the states remaining gray on the map would turn blue.
I woke at 3am, and didn’t look. I woke again at 4am, because my son had a bad dream. I almost texted my husband “tell me don’t tell me,” but didn’t, because I already knew.
I already knew.
Our Country Voted for The Guy Who Hates People who are Brown, Black, Disabled, LGBTQ or Female
I cried the next morning at breakfast as I told my son about Trump’s win. “But he’s the one who made fun of people, right?” he said.
“Yes,” I said.
We walked to the bus stop and I told him not to talk about it. That some people would be really sad like I was but that many people were really happy and that was okay too. I say this. I don’t believe this. But my son is seven and developmentally delayed and it’s my job to make it so that the world is amazing and that finding a way to build robots matters more right now.
I came home and bawled. Wondered how people voted for him.
But then, I remembered that there are smart people who voted for Trump, too. I know a few of them. Not every single Trump voter can be a racist bigoted hate-filled person, right?
Maybe they voted for him because they believe he’ll help the economy. Maybe Obamacare didn’t work for them. Maybe, they’re smart people who are afraid of terrorism, of borders, or for their safety.
Yes, there are Trump supporters who are bigoted haters but certainly the haters don’t make up the entire population of those who voted republican in this election, right? Certainly there are some who believe in a land of empathy and wonder. Who don’t hate.
Maybe, they’re scared. Maybe they want a president who has zero ties to lobbyists, to funding that comes with cost, to I don’t know. I’m still crying and my brain is blurred by knowing that our next president would probably make fun of my son for his speech and other delays.
In the meantime, I’m not moving to Canada. I’m staying here. I will fight for my our friends whose skin has more pigment than ours being welcome here. I will be the safe place when it feels like the country we call home isn’t safe.
I stay in America to say that NO always means NO. To say that our fellow humans who are gay and gender neutral or still trying to figure it out, I’m here, and you’re welcome in our home.
We watch a man make fun of a journalist who has a hand that’s different from his, and we sob.
And still, we breathe.
I know that we WILL keep making this world better. In spite of and despite the electoral vote, which is not the popular vote, and also something I don’t understand and need to learn more about. Tonight though, all I can do is write to process my grief and my fear.
Yes, it’s grief that I feel. And that’s just fine.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, with this week’s sentence being
“When it comes to the unexpected or to change…”