(NOTE: This is an OLD POST. I’m cleaning up my drafts folder this week and publishing some posts that are lingering there. Some are obsolete, but others still resonate at least in part so I can’t bear to delete them. This post I wrote on election day, the day world turned upside down. Let us remember.)
Who slept well last night? Election Eve felt more like Christmas Eve. We could elect the first-ever woman president. Or Santa could leave us a huge lump of coal in our stockings.
My eyes opened before our radio alarm went off at 6 a.m. with the top-of-the-hour NPR news announcer telling us what we all know too well. After 18 months of an ugly and bruising campaign, it’s finally Election Day.
It should be a national holiday, don’t you think? Several friends and my husband have texted me today saying they can’t concentrate on work on a day like this. Me neither.
I stayed in bed this morning and listened to the radio for a while, lingering over the significance of this day. It was news I’d already soaked up the night before, but I couldn’t get enough. The announcer rehashed Hillary’s midnight campaign rally in North Carolina and Donald’s final campaign swings where he talked about the rigged system and how “this will all be the biggest waste of time if I don’t win.”
Our democracy is never a waste of time, Donald. The government sent my dad to Vietnam where he had his legs blown off so you could campaign for President, on your bone-spurred heels. He served this already great nation with courage and patriotism, while you dodged your duty, built your wealth on your dad’s money and then made fun of people like my dad.
My dad spent 42 years in a wheelchair, visible evidence of the two purple hearts he earned and Donald made light of them. Then he picked a fight with a Gold Star family who lost their son, Capt. Humayun Khan, to a roadside bomb in Iraq. Giving a man like Donald Trump the power to send more young people to war is in every way absolutely unacceptable.
Donald said outrageous things about not only our Veterans, but many other Americans. He demeaned women and minority groups, mocked a disabled reporter and for years called into question Obama’s citizenship. Combine these with his lack of experience, pitiful knowledge of issues, childish Twitter wars, xenophobic calls for a wall, alarming intolerance of religious freedoms and embarrassing ill-prepared debate performances and it’s a head-scratcher how he got this far. In previous years, any ONE of these missteps would have marked the end for a candidate. Donald, it seems, can do no wrong and he flaunts it.
“I can stand in the middle of 5th Avenue in New York City and shoot someone and I wouldn’t lose any followers,” he bragged during the campaign.
“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?” he told a rally crowd, whipping them into a frenzy. “Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.”
Man, it frightens me that someone with his temperament has come so close to the Oval Office.
Thank God for women. For one woman who is quite likely the most experienced candidate ever to run for office. And for the millions of us women who will vote her in today.
I pulled myself out of bed. My pantsuit was waiting.
I cobbled one together last night with a jacket and shoes from my daughter’s closet; pants, blouse and a necklace from mine. The last time I clearly remember wearing one was in 1996 when I worked for the Washington State Legislature, just a few years after Senator Barbara Mikulski staged the Pantsuit Rebellion on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Up until then, Senate rules required women to wear dresses or skirts.
I voted two weeks ago, but I put on my pantsuit today, in honor of Sen. Mikulski, in honor of the Suffragettes, and in honor of Jeanette Rankin who was the first woman to win election to the U.S. House of Representatives 100 years ago yesterday (four years before the passage of the 19th Amendment). I put it on in honor of all the women who came before me and for Hillary, the pantsuit queen, who is about to break the highest of glass ceilings.
I put on my pantsuit and I’m not taking it off until we hear the words Madame President-Elect tonight.
I forgot how good a pantsuit makes me feel, and I’m not alone today.
Women across the country are donning them. I’ve met many on Pantsuit Nation, a secret Facebook group that has helped restore my faith in this election. Women (and men) share stories there about what this campaign means to us, to our daughters and sons, and to our grandmothers. They support each other in uplifting and positive ways.
“…it’s been a bright spot in this otherwise very troubling election,” wrote one Pantsuiter.
“Pantsuit Nation gave me hope, unknotted my gut and released my shoulders from my earlobes,” wrote another.
“The silent majority — so incredibly proud of HRC — has finally been heard. Enthusiasm gap? No. Societal pressure not to support the first female presidential candidate unabashedly? Absolutely.”
I’m sorry Hillary. I’m sorry I did not wear my support loudly on my sleeve. We’ve had to spend too much time talking about too many nasty and highly contentious things, and it got to be too much.
Did you see the long lines of voters queuing up to pay their respects at Susan B. Anthony’s grave? That’s what hope and progress looks like.
A mixture of excitement and anxiety hangs heavy in the air today. Five Thirty Eight gives him a 30 percent chance of winning and that’s too high for me.
I’m nervous, but I’m ready for this historic day. I have only one meeting today, with the PTSA, but I’m going to rock it in my pantsuit.
Election Afternoon: Pantsuit Solidarity
The woman sitting next to me at the PTSA meeting had on a pantsuit, too. We were the only two in the room.
“Pantsuit?” I leaned over and whispered.
“Yes,” she said.
“Pantsuit Nation?” I asked.
“Yes!” she said, slightly surprised. “I love that group. I’ve been so anxious I can’t sleep.”
Later, at Trader Joe’s, I spotted a woman in the vegetable aisle wearing a purple pantsuit. I scooted closer, pretending to examine the carrots.
“Pantsuit Nation?”I asked quietly.
“Yes,” she answered. “I love that group. I’m so excited about this election.”
I felt inspired, powerful, connected, and on top of my game in a way I hadn’t felt for a long time.
Who would have thought I could feel this way after all the ugliness? I have wanted to feel this way and have tried to celebrate the momentousness of this election with my daughters, but it’s been difficult.
“This is not normal. He is not normal,” I’ve told them repeatedly.
“We know mom.”
But do they really? What about younger kids? What kind of lasting impact will this election have on them? Bullies are not supposed to be rewarded for their behavior.
When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, we dropped balloons from the ceiling, cried and cheered. My kids were six and eight then. They remember that night, but this is the first Presidential campaign where they will remember the substance. And much of the substance was pure garbage. Hillary deserved a real run against a qualified Republican candidate. She got The Donald.
I am so ready — we’re all so ready — to put this behind us.
It’s time to put The Donald back where he belongs in his gold-gilded penthouse.
Election Evening, 5 p.m.
The family’s home, the party food is out and we have no fewer than seven screens set up with election coverage on all of our favorite major networks: two TVs, two laptops and our mobile phones. We are ready.
I gathered my daughters for an Election Day photo. Me in my pantsuit, a daughter on each side. Smiles all around.
Having seen pantsuits all over town today, I feel better about that 30 percent chance Hillary will lose the election. I feel confident the firewall of blue states will hold. I feel confident we will be celebrating history tonight. I feel confident that eight years after electing the first black president, tonight we will elevate the first woman to become leader of the Free World.
Election Evening, 7 p.m.
I stopped watching election results come in.
Election Evening, 9 p.m.
I went to bed in my pantsuit, wondering what happened to the America I love. How could so so many of my fellow Americans overlook all this man has said and done?
For the good of us all, I hope he can rise to the occasion and become a leader worthy of the office he has won, but I fear we should have heeded these words by the great Maya Angelou.
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”
And the second and the third and the fourth and the fifth and sixth and the seventh….
God help us.