The other day I was texting about the election with a friend. I asked her if she’s mailed in her ballot yet.
“I’ve been waiting until I have a quiet moment,” she wrote. “This is a monumental vote.”
Monumental is an understatement. Not only are we voting to keep a dangerous demagogue who threatens the Republic — if not the entire world — out of office, but for the first time, we get to cast our vote for a woman. A woman who is highly qualified, intelligent, and has a proven track record of working across the aisle to get things done.
She has devoted her life to public service, and despite the nastiness of this campaign that has falsely painted her as “crooked,” I truly believe she will be successful and popular when in office. She is well liked when she’s working. When she left her job as Secretary of State her approval rating was 69 percent. When she ran for her second term as a U.S. Senator in New York, she won re-election with 67 percent of the vote. Those are exceptionally high for a government official. I don’t think Obama’s approval rating has ever topped 60.
Hillary’s Republican competitor is no match for her.
So while my friend is waiting for the quiet moment to relish the casting of her historic vote, I couldn’t wait.
I cast mine noisily, with my daughters and husband, on the very night I pulled our ballots out of the mailbox.
“They’re here, they’re here! Our ballots are here!” I yelled as soon as I walked in the door from retrieving them from the mailbox across the street.
“Let’s vote!” my husband agreed.
We all gathered around the kitchen counter. My younger daughter grabbed it from my hand; I grabbed it back from her in a tug-of-war. We both wanted to be the first to see Hillary’s name.
“Hey, I’ve waited for this a lot longer than you,” I said, opening the envelope and removing the coveted ballot.
“There she is,” I said. And after a long pause, “Hillary Clinton. It’s such a thrill to see her name.”
I got a little teary.
My daughter grabbed a pen, and my ballot from me again. She wanted to fill in the bubble herself. While part of me wanted to let her, I knew I couldn’t.
“No way. One, you’re not old enough to vote and it’s illegal for you to fill out my ballot. Two, I’ve been waiting a long time for this. I get to do it. You watch.”
I filled in the bubble. My husband filled in his.
Two votes for Hillary. Two daughters watching.
It took another 30 minutes or so to work our way through the rest of the ballot, casting our votes for Governor, U.S. Senator (another woman, Patty Murray, who I interned with in 1993 during her first term), our state representative, initiatives and judges (more women).
I must admit I finally acquiesced and let my daughter fill in some of the bubbles.
It was late when we finished voting, but we considered hopping in the car and driving the ballots up to the drop box at City Hall right that minute. I decided I wanted a little more time with my ballot though. And I wanted a picture of us dropping the historic ballot into the mailbox, and it was too dark to get a good one.
The next day the girls and I drove by the post office. I got my picture (then later lost it when my phone crashed) and dropped the ballots inside, thankful that I got to share this important moment with my daughters.
I looked something like this mom in an Instagram video I saw a few days later. Her daughter caught her on camera, overcome with emotion.
“Mom, why are you crying,” the daughter of this woman asked.
“I got to vote for a woman for president.”