I Want a President

A couple of years ago, I read Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King. Glory is a young woman who has just graduated high school and suddenly finds herself with visions of the future. That future is bleak. A civil war has broken out in the US over women's rights, which have disappeared. Women are taken from their homes, interred or sold as property. Glory wants to know how to stop it. It is a wonderfully written, deeply unsettling novel. Unsettling because it is a dystopian future that seems entirely possible. The Hobby Lobby decision had just come down from the Supreme Court. Women's reproductive rights were being threatened in many states, there were police shootings and mass shootings in the news far too often. The real future was seeming pretty bleak.

Twenty four years ago, Bill Clinton was running for president. I was a high school senior thinking about constitutional law as a career and I loved Hillary. She grew up in the Chicago suburb just south of where I grew up and she was so smart, so accomplished. I thought she was a bad ass and really wished she was the one running for President. It seemed impossible. 

Sixteen years ago, I got into a fight with a friend over Ralph Nader and we didn't speak for years. Everything seems so volatile with this election and I didn't want that to happen again. I've mostly stayed quiet. I didn't want to make waves.

Eight years ago, Barack Obama ran for President. He hasn't been perfect but President Obama has delivered the hope that Bill Clinton promised during his first Presidential race. Change felt possible for the first time. Si se puede. 

A few months ago, I broke down and cried to my husband. I admitted the election scared me and I told him about how I couldn't stop thinking about the civil war in Glory O'Brien's History of the Future. I was sad about Bernie but I had to vote for Hillary. I've learned so much about her since I was 18, much of it not good. Sadly, she would no longer be my choice for the first woman President. But she is the devil we know. Trump is hateful, unpredictable and underqualified. He scares me. This country feels like a powder keg and he's about to light the match under the guise of Making America Great Again. 

Yesterday, Roxane Gay wrote in the New York Times, "It is crystal clear that a Trump presidency would lead both the United States and the rest of the world into a dystopia the likes of which even the darkest of novelists cannot fathom." 

Two days ago, I was riding home from work after hearing vague reports of the Trump/Billy Bush tape all day at work and I was catcalled at a stop light. I cried when I arrived home and found all my internets overflowing with Trump and sexual assault accounts when all I wanted to do was sit on the couch, looking at pictures of corgis, embroidery and drag queens and forget that man ever spoke to me. 

But I couldn't. I was so angry. I don't usually cry over cat callers but this one felt particularly viscous. When I actually read the news, after hearing it third hand all day, it felt like he was emboldened by Donald Trump to talk to me that way. I mean, if a man running for President can talk to and and about women that way, why couldn't this guy? 

I can't stay quiet anymore and I'm not alone. If you've spent any time in the world the last few days you know this. Brave women have been shouting about sexual assault for years but it feels like there's been a signal boost the last few days. It is simultaneously infuriating and empowering. I mean, here I am, typing for the first time in months.

Today, I am afraid that if Donald Trump wins it would be open season on minorities and women. Unlike Glory O'Brien, I know what I can do to stop imminent disaster. Vote for Hillary. And start making waves now for the future. Because we deserve better candidates than a racist sexual predator and the lesser of two evils.