For years, I was never interested in politics. As a reporter in Crawford County for 14 years, I have had the opportunity to interview local candidates at length so on Election Day, I always know who is getting my vote. I voted in every presidential election since I was 18, and if the Democratic candidate lost, I went on with my life and quite frankly, didn’t care.
That was until this most recent election.
About two months before the election, I was listening to one of Donald Trump’s live rallies on a news channel while writing. A few things he said caught my attention and I was flabbergasted. He was so hateful toward so many groups of people and at that point — more than when I had watched him on his scripted reality TV show — “The Apprentice,” it was obvious he is a narcissist. I knew two of my friends were voting for him simply because they hate Hillary Clinton, so I created a Facebook status message asking people to tell me why they were voting for Trump without being able to talk about any other candidate or former or current president.
I really wanted to know what they saw in him that was so fabulous that they would think he would make a good president of our country. Out of more than 200 comments, only 18 people were able to really articulate why they were voting for him and most seemed to simply be voting for their Republican party. Some said they were voting for him because he is not a career politician. Okay, I could respect their opinions even though I did not agree.
The next two months were full of posts in Facebook land that led to arguments and debates between my friends and others. As I read these posts, it became increasingly clear that people I had known and respected my whole life were not who I thought they were. Donald Trump’s hateful words seemed to give them permission to come out of hiding with their racism, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia and dislike of all Muslims and other groups of people. I watched the live broadcast in which Trump made fun of a disabled reporter, then watched his supporters deny that he did it. I was amazed at how easily they would take up for a man who has no idea they are alive.
The morning after the election, I woke up with an all-too-familiar feeling, one I had not felt in many years. It was the feeling I used to have the morning after my ex-husband beat me or choked me after he had a bad day at work or was angry with someone else, only to take it out on me. It was in that moment I realized many people I loved and cared about for many years had voted to put an abusive man back in my life in some sort of way.
Those first few days after the election, I cried a lot. I was depressed, hurt and angry, but it was absolutely not because Hillary did not win. This election was not a football game, it was so much more serious than that. I felt betrayed by people I once respected and that feeling was not going away anytime soon. My long-time friend, Lisa, told me about the Women’s March on Washington in December and for me, it was something to look forward to. Whether I liked it or not, it was time to become political, put my feet on the ground and take a stand for what I believe in. Lisa and I, along with several other friends, made our plans and on Friday at 7 a.m., we left Lake Galion to head to Washington D.C.
On Saturday morning, as we walked off the elevator to the outside of the parking garage at the Metro station, the view before us was amazing. There was a sea of the same pink hats Lisa made for all of us to wear to the march. There were thousands of them in that small place and a feeling of relief came over each one of us in my group. For months, we had been called names, told to suck it up, told we were sore losers, yet here before us were thousands of people who felt the same way we do.
As we rounded the corner leading upstairs to the platform to board our train, everyone was holding their signs in the air and one caught my eye. It read, “My Nana marched, my mother marched, and we are still marching.” I teared up because here I was, getting ready to march, and I am a Nana. I was there to march in hopes of a better world for my two grandchildren.
I marched so my little 2-year-old, sweet Brayden, will grow up knowing that he is to respect women and treat everyone like a human being. I marched because I want my 3-year-old Dariana to know that it is not okay for a man to grab her the way that Donald Trump bragged about. I marched so they will know that their Nana took a stand against racism, bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny.
I want my granddaughter to have control over her own body and her destiny. I want her to know that the sky is the limit.
I want both my grandchildren to know that in spite of all the naysayers out there, I headed out of my comfort zone with millions of other people around the country and the world on Saturday in hopes that their future will be filled with tolerance, inclusion, acceptance and love. I want them to know that love really does trump hate.
And to my little Dariana who recently told me she wants to run for president one day while working as a writer like her Nana, I will reiterate the words of Hillary Clinton, “To all the little girls watching … never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.”