“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy.”– Donald Trump
These dehumanizing words spoken by the man holding one of the most prestigious offices in the world pushed me to vote early this election. Tuesday, November 3rd seemed so far away. And so I decided to not even wait.
I voted on Sunday because voting him out is the most direct way to turn this country from hatred and toward love.
This vote sparks memories of November 2016. On that day, sitting on the floor in my living room, I sobbed as I watched Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. When my daughter asked why I was crying, I couldn’t find a way to make sense of our strange new reality to a kindergartener who was learning about the importance of kindness, respect, and compassion in school. There really was no way to explain to her, or even to myself, that a man who mocked someone with a disability and called women pigs and dogs was just elected president.
But even then, I had no way of knowing just how bad it could get.
A sexual abuser on the supreme court. Neo-Nazis gathering in Charlottesville – and in communities across the country – with a nod from the president. A White House that set the country backwards on the path to civil rights and equality. Children in cages at the US border. Women undergoing forced hysterectomies in government-run concentration camps. A pipeline through Native Lands while California burned. Flat funding of HIV/AIDS work and rolled back protections for the LGBTQI community. A leader who mocks science while a raging pandemic has killed more than 223,000 Americans, is ravaging Black communities, and created a childcare crisis that will set women back for decades.
It was all so unimaginable then. And it’s so unimaginable now. But that’s how characters of books feel when they’re living in a dystopia, so perhaps that’s how this turn from love, justice, and humanity is supposed to feel. Hollow. Harrowing. Surreal. And yet somehow impermanent.
And so yesterday, I waded through this dystopian reality to vote. I didn’t even wait for November 3rd because we have to fight so hard for better, even if we are feeling weak and tired, even if our efforts might be mocked, even if we are overwhelmed and cynical.
A vote seems like a small thing, but Black people have died for the right.
Women were arrested and declared insane for trying. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, and voter intimidation are thriving in 2020. None of these anti-democratic tactics would exist if voting didn’t matter; none
of this would be a reality if this place we’re in, this place of hatred for our own and distrust of our neighbor, was permanent.
Voting does matter.
A reign of hatred isn’t set to last forever, and the sooner we turn from it the better it is for all of us. Love is real, and worth fighting for. So don’t even wait: just vote him out.