Early voting begins today in Maryland, and so, sometime in the next few hours, I will cast my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States. I have voted for Ms. Clinton every time I could. I am thrilled to have this time, and another opportunity in 2020 to do so.
I first voted in 1984 for Walter Mondale. He was running against Ronald Reagan, who I thought then and continue to believe was a horror; he was at the forefront of the demonization of the poor and non-white, non-heterosexual, non-male, non-christian population, and his non-reaction to the AIDS epidemic disqualifies him for inclusion in any list of decent human beings.
Being a decent human being is the FIRST requirement of someone for whom I vote. And this election and the thirty-plus years slandering of Ms. Clinton has — I confess — shaken my faith in the progress made since 1984, shaken my faith that everyone is at the core full of love and light. I have been near hermit-like to avoid evidence of the horrors being promulgated by the Republican party — yes, to me, they are each and every one responsible for this long descent into a standard-bearer whose trademark is bullying those non-white, non-straight, non-christian, etc, and spreading a level of hate and divisiveness not seen since Nazi Germany.
The echoes of this terror resulted in me becoming inordinately sensitive to everything anyone said. I withdrew from Twitter because I felt attacked — not by bigots and haters, those I am used to, but by someone I love, from whom I expected love, not judgment.
I pouted and “woe-is-me”-d and — well, it doesn’t matter what I did. I finally said, “I am enough.”
It sounds simple. It is the most complicated thing of which I have ever had to convince myself. A long story into which I will not go here except to say, I am enough. And I further realized that if I want proof of a better world, I’d better (so to speak) be the better self I am at every opportunity.
This morning, the gym, where I went at 5:30 so I could early vote at 8-ish before picking up my Mom for hair-Thurmont-Thursday, I was in a hurry to accumulate my sweat-points and earn my calories. I was working that elliptical like a mad-man and on a short break for water-fountaining, I saw him, a gentleman I thought was much older than me, struggling to work the leg machine. Long/short, I stopped my dervish-frenzy and asked if I could help. He was ridiculously grateful, and talkative in the way people who are terribly lonely can be. Loneliness radiated from him. He told me he couldn’t figure out the other leg machines either and I knew what he meant and I walked him through, though he had some difficulty even walking from machine to machine. It only took fifteen minutes out of my day, and I didn’t get all my calories/sweats in but I got all my soul in.
As we were saying goodbye, he said to me, “Thank you. I’ve been coming here for weeks and you’re the first person who’s talked to me. I guess people don’t want to be seen in a gym talking to a three hundred fifty pound fifty-one year old.”
He’s younger than I am. He weighs twice what I do. Walking is an effort. Coming to the gym, noticing that no one has talked to him, carrying the weight of that, too. Listen, voting, for me, is about affirming what is good and right and wonderful. Hillary Clinton has worked her entire life to make this world a better, fairer place. She has been pilloried and slandered and demonized and yet, she keeps on going. She doesn’t surrender. She is committed to the process of making the world welcoming and safe for all of us.
I like to think, in my tiny way this morning, I did my Hillary — I put someone else first, I helped make the world friendlier and safer for him, I got him from place to place and showed him how to be there; soon to be President Hillary Clinton has been doing that very thing for decades, with the added burden of being dismissed and attacked and distorted and having her dignity assaulted.
I couldn’t do it. But I am out here, I am with you Hillary Rodham Clinton, doing what little I can to live up to your example of kindness and affirmation and support for everyone.
It is my privilege and my duty and my honor and my JOY to vote for you this morning.
Thank you for serving as an example and a guiding light for all of us. Thank you for safeguarding a world in which I can have the time to evolve to a place where I can say, “I am enough.”
Love and Light and congratulations Hillary. (Sorry to use your first name before we’ve been formally introduced.)