I have not spoken out, during primaries or general debates, on my own personal thoughts and feelings. I have posted articles and shown my approval for the posts of friends and family when I agreed. I have played the opposite side, when I felt it needed support, especially as a theater artist and dramaturg in charge of a political show. I was happy to do it, even when it seemed impossible. But I want to voice my most powerful feelings and show my support for a woman I both admire greatly and question often.
The following is one moment that sums up my personal feelings toward this election. Debate 4.
She walked out on that stage in a blinding white suite, straight line of buttons. My heart swelled. To see her, a her, on that stage. I think she deserves to be president. You could say I trust her too much. But I do, I trust her, in spite of the mistakes she has made and some things that I will not over look and do not agree with, I trust her. After all the research, viewing, and discussion it still comes back to my gut feeling. She might break my heart, but she wouldn’t be the first politician and she won’t be the last. I want her to have her chance and I personally believe that she deserves that chance. She has proven to me standing on numerous stages, sitting in countless interviews, as the knowledgeable, controlled person the likes of which I have rarely seen before, that she does.
I will not deny that when I see her it is the woman inside me that swells, it is an emotional reaction. Until watching her on that stage, I never realized the great weight upon me. The awareness that there has never been a woman president of this country. For someone who studies, challenges, and cherishes history as much and as often as I do, isn’t it strange how for so long I must have noticed this fact without questioning. A part of me must have not wanted to acknowledge it, and yet another part must have been screaming that it is wrong. Wrong that half the population of this country has never had representation as head of state. I didn’t know it was screaming until the tears of pain and fear welled up, seeing it so close, so achievable, and equally still so far. I didn’t know how oppressed I felt in this regard, until I saw her female form on that stage, with such strength, and womanhood. It sounds silly and still unbelievable….there might, just might, be a woman as our next president. And not just any woman. A woman who is truly qualified, as qualified as any woman or man, and more than most of either in my opinion.
When I see and hear Trump I feel like less. I’m not debating this. I am telling you how I feel. He brings back some of the men I have met along the way, in college, working in restaurants, on the subway. The man who treats me as an object, because he sees me as one. To be compared with all the other objects. Just another man of those who have caused the sexual trauma I am forced to deal with every day. I don’t want to feel this, but it is a reality that I have worked hard to overcome.
I try instead to dream of and fight for a world where people feel safe. Where all people feel safe. Right now I am most concerned with people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, women, and immigrants. These are people I love, whether I know them or not, but it does help that I am close to so many of them and that they have taught and challenged me to be better, truer, more outspoken, helpful, and honest.
As I watch the debate I oscillate between longing that this election will break through that ceiling we always talk about, and fear of the disappointment of being sent back to the normality of objectification. To be prodded, slammed, wrapped, and shoved as a woman in this country. With people I love even more threatened than I.
Some may call it one issue voting, but I would not vote for any woman, after all I know the gamut of female leaders in my history brain, and I certainly know they can screw it up and be just as corrupt as any man. Just female is not enough. But yes, it does draw me to Clinton. I would still vote for her if she was a man, and Trump were a woman, or if either of them looked or identified in any infinite number of ways. I have taken their words and while neither is perfect, I refuse to support the language of hate and violence. I don’t see this as a vote for the lesser of two evils, I see this as a choice for a woman I have watched try, fail, try again, learn, lie, admit mistakes, deny, grow, promote causes I believe in, and speak with an awkward kind of love for a world I too believe is possible and desperately want to see realized.
Thank you for reading. Happy Election Day! Stay safe.
Things to consider as a NYC voter: http://www.wnyc.org/story/how-be-better-nyc-voter/