At no time while my grandparents were alive was I aware of how they voted in an election, whether federally, state-level, or locally.
It is entirely possible I wasn’t paying attention. Grandmother, in particular, was not a woman to leave any subject matter untilled – be it politics, religion, or “the filthy mouth on” Joan Rivers – whether during morning coffee or at the dinner table. My sense growing up was that my grandfather voted for a person rather than a political party.
I do know that they hated Donald Trump.
Thirty years ago, Trump the real estate mogul was “a bum and a slob” with a portfolio of casino properties in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Nothing annoyed Pop more than hearing my sister and me talk about wanting to be adopted by Daddy Trump. It upset him, to say the least, that we would even kid around about replacing our own “hard-working, honourable” father. Pop died in 1991, years before the media blast about Trump’s penchant for “grabbing pussy” and the multiple allegations of rape and sexual assault. I can only imagine the bordering-on-hostile stream of smoke rising up from behind his newspaper, were he here today.
And now Donald Trump is President-elect of the United States.
I’m not saying that either of my grandparents would have chosen Hillary Clinton, as I would have done if I had been able to cast a ballot yesterday, but I know that for Pop a spoiled ballot or a third-party ballot was as good as wasted and not the protest vote that some people think it should be. I wonder if it wasn’t the winning candidate who couldn’t stay on message and needed to be reined in, but the electorate: when you vote in an election, the goal is to evoke positive change, not eviscerate all hope entirely.
I am apologetic and saddened, for the American women and girls who are my family and friends. Women of colour, all people of colour. My LGBTQ+ friends. My children, and my unborn granddaughter.
It is deeply offensive to me that Hillary Clinton could cinch the popular vote, which is the only voting mechanism that should count, and yet denied her shot at being the first female American President by the antiquated and highly confusing Electoral College process. A government by the people, for the people, where did that go? How about some long overdue representation for the 50% of the country who identifies as female? Why is the United States lagging so desperately behind, when at any given time in modern world history, there have been no fewer than twenty – and at one point, 22 – women at the helm of their respective countries?
For the women who broke the ceiling and won Senate seats last night, I salute you. I pray that you remain true to the platforms that will send you to Washington in January, 2o17.
Thankfully, I didn’t have the unwelcome task of explaining what happened last night, to my daughter. As she rode in the car with me today, after a slate of classes as a high school freshman, her words were simple and pointed: “I’m not American, but I’m sorry for them that fake tan Oompa Loompa got to be President.”