Much like Hillary Clinton herself, I assume, I’ve been struggling to understand why many people believe that she is an equally bad a presidential option as Donald Trump.
I’ll admit – I was not what you’d call “jazzed” about her being the nominee at first, but then two women I respect shared their opinions of her, which began to change mine. The first I know personally – she’s intelligent, thoughtful, and holds many people’s wellbeing in her hands. The second was Gloria Steinem, whose memoir My Life on the Road I listened to while driving to Moab.
After listening to these women and looking into my own heart, I realized that my main problem with Secretary Clinton was that she wanted it, and I could tell. I couldn’t stand her because of her ambition and willingness to play the game.
It was the same impulse that made me dislike a woman who was in the NYU Summer Publishing Institute with me – when we did a class field trip of sorts to Jane magazine, she spoke up every time the editor asked a question, charmed the woman and eventually got a job at the magazine. I loved Jane and would have stabbed someone with a pencil to work there, but I didn’t want to seem too eager. I didn’t want to annoy anyone by seeming like I wanted to sit at the head of the popular table. But DAMMIT if I didn’t want to sit at the head of that table, and I turned my sadness and jealousy into snide derision.
That young woman, shunned by so many of us, pursued and achieved her dream. I found a job on craigslist, far from the industry that I loved. My feeling superior to her was cold comfort.
Barack Obama, who makes me feel all the feels with his graceful yet powerful speeches, has made some bad-judgment mistakes. And yet, and yet, I love him. He’s cool and funny and calm, and I can’t see the gears of his clock. Hills, as I like to call her, is intelligent, experienced, and far more qualified to lead this nation than many of the people who tossed their hats into the ring, but we can see her gears. We can hear them when they grind and we know when she gets out the oil can.
She isn’t always smooth and polished, but at least I know that she has the right mechanisms to tell time. Donald Trump, by contrast, is trying to tell us time doesn’t exist, and that somehow feels preferable to being faced with the truth behind the facade. He’s the guy making s’mores, and she’s the person telling you that marshmallows are made from cow tendons.
In November, I will proudly cast a vote for Hillary Clinton, because my conscience revolts at the thought of voting for someone who believes that I would rather live in a fantasy world than deal with some hard truths. Someone who appeals to the darkest, fear-inhabited pieces of our souls, whispering that these shameful feelings of hatred and racism aren’t wounds we need to clean out – they’re righteous truths. Someone who encourages us to believe we can feel good fast if we are bombastic and blunt enough, instead of listening to each other and embracing nuance.
People I love and respect will vote for Donald Trump, and neither of us will ever fully empathize with the other person’s choice, and I am okay with that. Thank God we live in a democracy where we can recognize the validity of different ways of living and loving. Hillary Clinton isn’t pure good and Donald Trump isn’t pure evil, because reality doesn’t work that way, but I am choosing to stand with her.
Though he isn’t Satan incarnate, Donald Trump is the human equivalent of a deep-fried Twinkie. Deep-fried Twinkies are ridiculous and a novelty, and the first couple of bites taste pretty good. Their lavishness feels incredibly American. Eating a deep-fried Twinkie in the summer sun at the state fair seems to send up a one-finger solute to boring, constrictive worries about nutrition and diabetes. But Twinkies, deep-fried or otherwise, are really bad for you! They’re harmless every now and again, but imagine if they became a staple of your diet. If you had to eat deep-fried Twinkies every day, wouldn’t your stomach ache grow worse as you realized that perhaps this didn’t turn out like you thought?