DC began to sit Shiva yesterday.
By Tuesday, 260,000 of us cast our vote in the way of humanity; 11,000 voted for something else. The majority here and, as it turns out, actually across the country (but that’s not how the electoral college works) did not display poor sportsmanship yesterday; we mourned as we tried to stomach the words “President-Elect Trump.”
We offered a hand on the metro, huddled together in cubicles, and stood next to each other in break rooms. We wandered into churches and other safe spaces. We offered each other home-cooked meals, because that’s what you do when the people you love grieve. People cried, and no one asked why, because most times, tears do not need dried but rather the opportunity to be released. We helped answer logistical questions about IUDs, because free access to birth control could change more quickly than our readiness to have children will in the new year. And we listened, to the fears of those we know who legitimately fear that they will be sent from their home.
Because yesterday was not about a Democrat losing, and a Republican winning; Trump could have very well been a Democrat, and he wouldn’t have gotten my vote (or, I can say with certainty, the votes of most of this city). Because a vote for Hillary, in many cases, was not necessarily a vote for her policies but a vote for her humanity; it was a vote that said, “I will not stand with a man who will not stand with me.”
Me was a great many things to a great many people.
For me, Me is a woman.
Me is a woman who wants to be able to choose what I do with my body and who requires consent as a formal step before you may grab my pussy (though the men and women who would be allowed to do so would never be grabbing it, because that’s not how you touch a pussy).
Me is an educated citizen who lives on the East Coast and works for the government but remains not an elitist but someone who, as Francis Perkins (the first woman in the Cabinet and the namesake for the building I now work in) said and as I have written over my desk, “…came to Washington to work for God, FDR, and the millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen.”
Me is the daughter of plain common workingmen who was raised to believe in the values of the plain common workingmen: respect, integrity, kindness, the worth of a dollar, and elbow grease.
And Me is the daughter of plain common workingmen who knows that Trump never has and never will be anything close to a plain common workingmen, because racism, sexism, homophobia, sexual misconduct, abusing our tax code, and declaring bankruptcy are not those values—unless I misunderstood a whole lot about how I was raised.
Me is the resident of the District of Columbia (we also voted to become a state, and now that may not happen either) who knows that living in Washington and working for the government does not make you an elitist or a part of the political machine; frankly, between my FOUR jobs, I wouldn’t have the time.
Because that’s another thing: Me is the woman who works her ass off at four jobs because she is aiming for something more and is very passionate about the person I want to become, and I could and would never condemn another woman, let alone another public servant, as “the establishment” simply because she spent her life in service of what she was passionate about.
And Me is the woman who is heartbroken that men and women across this country, men and women I truly expected to stand with Me, won’t; they decided President-Elect Trump will do more for the plain common workingmen than I will.
All I have ever wanted from the men in my life, was to be protected, and I can’t help but feel so many men across this country just condoned the behavior of a man who thinks he can grab their wives and daughters and sisters by the pussy because he is a star. (He’s moving here now, by the way, and he’s not only a star but soon-to-be the most powerful woman in the world.) And from the women in my life, to be told to “never doubt that you are valuable, and powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams,” and all I feel right now is that no matter how hard I work I’ll never be enough.
I’m not mad. I’m grieving.
And every day I am going to get up and tell myself a different story than the one women across the country were just told, and I am going to, as Cheryl Strayed put it, “stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.”
And I’m going to pray that President-Elect Trump is nothing like the disgusting man who played him during the election; like Hillary said yesterday, “I hope he will be successful President for all Americans.”
But, if you’re a parent tonight, I’m sure your daughters may be struggling to do that as much as I am. So call them. Tell them you’d never let a man hurt their body. Tell them you believe that they are worthy of a big life.
And if you need some help, Aaron Sorkin had some good ideas in the letter to his daughter.