two years ago, after the disappointing midterms, i started this post: why Hillary can’t win. TWO years, y’all. before 20 Republicans, before Bernie Sanders, before Donald Trump and Russian hacking and pussy grabbing and 650,000 emails and James-effing-Comey and, actually, before all of the whole damn circus. (screen-shot proof below.)
i didn’t get very far and never finished the post for a variety of reasons. at the time, i hadn’t really gone political here and wasn’t sure i wanted to. and honestly it was hard to write and really examine how i felt about the whole issue. then life and feeling the Bern and a bunch of other things got in the way. lately, i tried to pick it back up, but honestly began to feel afraid i would jinx the whole thing if i wrote about it. and it was just too important for me to be the one to screw it all up.
here’s how i started:
fast forward to today. it is 2:30 in the afternoon and i am still wearing my Hillary shirt (with I’m a Georgia Voter sticker still attached) and jammie pants, drinking a(nother) beer, avoiding work, crying intermittently, trying not to post too much on Facebook and trying to figure out what in the hell happened last night.
and it finally seemed like it might be okay to put this in writing. Hillary never had a chance.
i’m certainly not the first to say it, but Hillary is flawed. fundamentally, terribly and unfixably flawed. it’s not all her fault. but that doesn’t matter. nobody takes blame like a woman. i knew two years ago that it wouldn’t matter. people had already made up their minds about her then. there were already emails and Benghazi and Whitewater and the Foundation and her cheat of a husband (whom i loved and rooted for, even as i watched Monica routinely enter her lawyer’s office down the street from where i worked all those years ago in D.C.). and i knew then, it all would be too much for her campaign to overcome. even with all of her amazing experience and vision and even Beyoncé.
i knew then that after eight years of our amazing first African-American president and all the turmoil and slander he endured from a public campaign to gin up mistrust and a Congress that would rather not do something he agreed with than agree with him, that the smart thing for the Democrats to do would be to put up another old white guy — maybe a middle-aged Hispanic guy — who would calm everyone the fuck down and be able to quietly continue some slow progress on a progressive agenda. because he looked like the rest of them, he wouldn’t rock the boat too much. but they didn’t. in fact, they worked behind the scenes to utterly undermine the only hope for that scenario and the only hope for a fighting chance in this election.
sure, the past several months gave me some hope that this Hillary thing might actually work. maybe i wasn’t as smart as i thought i was. see how even smart girls always second guess themselves? just maybe in this completely unreal election cycle, where the Republican candidate was a hateful, boorish, ignorant, racist, sexist, elitist reality TV star with a terrible combover and a terrible business record, though he touts himself as a successful businessman, maybe Hillary could actually defy reality and overcome. that was the only possible outcome, right? America can sniff out bullshit. America knows better. love trumps hate.
yesterday, i went to the polls in my white pantsuit to honor Hillary and the suffragettes who got us here. i allowed myself to hope that ruby-red Georgia might even go blue. i even iced a Hillary logo on the ridiculous election night cake i bought. then i opened a bottle of wine, tentatively allowing myself to feel a tingle of excitement imagining uncorking the bottle of champagne in my wine fridge a few hours later.
last night was devastating. last night, all of the worst traits we exhibit as a country won. last night, regard for truth, experience, inclusiveness and progressiveness (among other seemingly obvious positives) lost.
today, just hearing “president-elect Trump” triggers my gag reflex. repeatedly. i should probably turn off MSNBC.
when i woke up this morning, i cried. Miss Girl came to my side of the bed and asked “who won, mommy?” i gave her a hug (i needed it more) and Spy shuffled her away to give her the bad news. she was less concerned about the election results than she was about her weepy, despondent mom. empathy. another character trait i’m afraid our nation lost last night.
she has not had the experience of a less creative, louder man stealing her ideas and taking them as his own. she has not had the experience of being excluded from high-level outings and conversations because she wasn’t one of the boys. she has not had the experience of working her ass off to get two degrees, then being talked over or mansplained to like she knows nothing. she has not had the experience of being valued more for the size of her boobs than the content of her character — or her brain. she has not had the experience of a man getting a job that should have been hers. she has not had the experience of being the lowest paid, lowest titled team member among men who were less educated, less experienced, less talented and less tenured. she has not had the experience of getting the promotion but being asked if she really wanted it because she was “a new mom and all.” she has not had the experience of “accidentally” being left out of a bonus program all her male colleagues were included in. and she has not ever had to question if she is good enough, smart enough or talented enough to be accepted. i hope she never does.
those soul-crushing realities are why i think we older women hoped so hard and now are feeling last night’s loss more sharply than younger ones. we have been around long enough to have those experiences and more. my ever-chatty mom has yet to even be able to talk about any of it today. and that is why it has been devastating to us to watch all these terrible experiences that so hit home play out on a national stage. after all we have done, they won again. the boys club. the white guys. the rich, entitled guys. the jerks. the idiots. the abusers. the manipulators. the narcissists. the posers. the toads. those guys.
so, was it a woman thing? i hope not. but i’m honestly not sure that our country was ready to take on a strong woman as its leader and change its perception about what women really should be and look like and how she should act.
was it a Hillary thing? definitely. but you know what? i can’t think of another woman who could possibly have gotten this far. and it wouldn’t surprise me if it is another decade before someone does it again. and it would surprise me if a strong, smart woman who acts like a strong, smart woman does because its how she got to where she is doesn’t give America the warm fuzzies it wants from a woman. it won’t surprise me if she also is attacked for being cold and calculating, maligned for being ambitious, judged by her husband’s actions, scrutinized for her appearance, ridiculed for being prepared and mocked for standing up for herself and others. maybe it will be 3 cycles before the unicorn who can withstand all that materializes and if so, and if we agree with her vision for America, Miss Girl and i can vote for her. together.