I’m from a rural area. I grew up in the nineties with a vague idea that Hilary Clinton was not a good person. She overstepped her bounds. This wasn’t an idea planted by my parents, surely, but it was the general chatter I’d hear. Sort of like Chevy vs Ford, Washington State vs University of Washington, Tonya Harding vs Nancy Kerrigan, except the universal dislike of Hilary seemed, well, universal.
In ’08 I was 100% behind Obama. Clinton’s candincy seemed like another dose of nepotism and I didn’t want that.
During the primaries this year I voted for Sanders. Once again, something about Clinton seemed unsavory. I’m not sure if it’s because of my early general impression of her, or if it was because of Sanders’ brash calls for a political revolution.
So, during the summer, like many many other millennials, I held my nose, held my mouth shut, and quietly supported Clinton. Or, so I thought. I live in the Northeast. It’s blue. The suburbs I live in are red as far as state representation and Congressmen go, but in a general way, I assume most of the not-in-your-face people regarding the election were for Clinton. (Trump supporters always let you know they are Trump supporters, I falsely thought).
I’m a person who reads the Sunday NY Times. It’s actually delivered to me. I watch the Nightly News on NBC, well, nightly. I enjoy Bill Maher and John Oliver. To me, it seemed like every well informed, educated person would certainly vote for Clinton. I had a bit of nerves hit me, occasionally, on the idea of Trump winning, but to myself I felt all in all she’d squeak by.
It’s fitting I was home in the rural part of my home state during the election. As the results rolled in, my parents and I could only look at each other, speechless. My husbands text messages came in, in increasing levels of urgency, he even resorted to typing in all capitals at times (which the logical pilot husband of mine NEVER does) WHAT IS HAPPENING. I couldn’t even stand to watch the full results, besides I had an early morning drive across the state the next day (which BTW I have a whole other blog post planned out about traveling with kids on standby but this seemed more urgent).
Driving the next morning, across the vast fields, empty skies, and desolate country that makes up Eastern Washington, I streamed WNYC through my phone to listen to the reactions on the call-in morning after show. Brian Lehrer was a voice of comfort and clarity as my mind spun, wondering how it happened. The cell reception is shoddy in Eastern Washington so I kept losing the stream and having to wait a few minutes to find it again. I tried to find a similar NPR station, but that’s the thing, NPR really isn’t a thing in this area. In fact, my parents, sister, brother, they’ve even asked me what NPR is before…
So it sort of hit me. What Michael Moore prophesied on Bill Maher earlier this year was true: I live in a total liberal bubble. It’s terrible to write out, but I just assumed anyone with any sort of brain would be just like me, voting for Clinton. Voting against all the hate, racism, fear mongering, the sexist rants, and the anti-intellectualism Trump represents. Clear thinking people couldn’t possibly believe the sort of lies the far-right media put out – people surely would do their own research – well, like all the media outlets I follow, we were all stunned and flat out wrong.
And I should have known. The absence of #ImWithHer from all the people back home didn’t resonate. My flight attendant friends were all #withher on election day, proudly sporting their “I Voted” stickers and proclaiming their nastiness as women, so I assumed most people were just like them. A few of my friends from out west posted their election day pictures, without the same enthusiasm, so I assumed based just on my Instagram newsfeed it was in the bag.
But the highly diverse, open minded people who made up my former employments work force don’t represent Middle America. I see now why Clinton lost. She relied to heavily on the glitz and glam of high profile stars and endorsements, the money coming in, and did not connect or inspire enough voters. Someone like me, a politically minded person up to date on current events, who is going to vote no matter what, does not represent the typical voter. But to reach out to a voter not motivated by her, to get that person in Middle America to cast a vote for her, she needed to do more. Trump did that.
I cried most of Wednesday. I cried Thursday as well. I think the tears are all gone. I plan on buying a safety pin and wearing it daily as a show of solidarity to everyone who fears this president. I’m in the bubble that will most likely not be affected by this vile man’s agenda, but I know so many great, good people than are in his crosshairs.
I refuse to be on the wrong side of history and will speak up. Like some, I’m holding my breath. Maybe Trump will change his tone, his view. Maybe it will all be ok. But unfortunately this mindset is what led to my utter disbelief Tuesday night and I won’t just “hope for the best” anymore. I will demand it.
I’m not the praying type, but I do find it appropriate to end this with the sentiment “praying for our nation”.