By now we know that the American people voted for you, that you won the majority of the popular vote. Congratulations. I was one of them. I kinda wanted to barf doing it. I already had a mental outline for the first letter I’d send you. I’m really disappointed not to get to write it. I’m not nearly as shocked by your loss as many of your “real” supporters seems to be. I don’t have the privilege of living in the echo-chamber of only having friends just like me. I voted for you because you looked really sane next to your opponent. I’ll be honest, you’re the first time I ever voted with the majority in this nation. I’ve always voted for losers before.
I don’t like you and I don’t like your foreign policy but I thought you were, far and away, more qualified to lead the free world. I don’t like you because you’re status quo, because you support the business-as-usual practice of drone warfare, weapons sales, propping up evil tyrants, anti-democratic military coups, and dictators. I love people whose lives are directly impacted because of these hideous policies.
I voted for you for the sole reason that your opponent kept asking about dropping nukes on these people I love and suddenly business-as-usual seemed like a much better option to me. That and I thought you might be slightly more likely to let my friends live in this country if they wanted to. Politics is personal for me. I like my civil liberties and human rights and freedom. And, being a good Christian, I want everyone to have these good things. I’m not a hoarder to keep the best for myself.
The thing is, you really fucked up, pardon my French. You were the only true conservative running in this election and none of us want true conservatives anymore. We don’t want neoliberals, either. Half the country has checked out entirely and doesn’t bother with the ten-minute chore of voting. The other half of us want, need, desperately need, a real revolution. You really should have let Bernie have the nomination. Even Trump wasn’t enough to make the status quo a go for quite enough people. I still wanted you to win because his “revolution” is dangerous and evil. Because he takes my Christian faith and mangles it up and abuses it for his lust for power. Because he doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself. Because he’s incited hate against my loved ones.
But power and greed and lust and narcissism and hate are all part of the status quo you represent as well. And we know it. I totally get why so many people went with the open hate rather than the hidden hate. For some people it gives them permission to express their own hate. And for others they see it as being, somehow, more honest. And I get the frustration and dissatisfaction of working-class America. And the, deserved and earned, dislike for intellectual and academic America. I’m part of that intellectual and academic world and the business of talking down to people and being paternalistic snobs needs to go. People who work with their hands also work with their brains.
When I say I have a diversity of friends I mean real diversity. Muslims in the Middle East. Evangelical Americans. Atheists and Buddhists and Pagans. PhDs and GEDs. Doctors and lawyers and welders and drillers and prosecutors and drug addicts and physicists and teachers and real estate agents and students and restaurant workers and car salesmen and nurses and social workers and truckers and poets and architects and painters and preachers and carpenters. I have friends of so many racial and ethnic and national origins I can’t even begin to list them all. I have friends who write academic books and friends who can’t read. And one thing I know is that each and every one of these friends has something good to add to our country. Even the one’s who don’t live here contribute to my well-being. All of these people are my tribe, all of them teach me. One of my best teachers struggles to read. It hurts me that people think this makes someone stupid. It hurts me to think that any of my friends are lumped into demographic groups and treated as pawns in political schemes. And this is why I don’t like you and they don’t vote for you. Your opponent made people feel OK about themselves, tapped into their frustration and played them like a bad poker hand. But you didn’t even pick up the damn cards.
This has been a difficult election for me as a human being, a Christian, a woman, a patriotic American. Everywhere I turned people I loved were being demonized, played with, and used. I know I occupy a strange place in our land. I know that this diversity I live isn’t the norm. So often people surround themselves with people just like them. Maybe they say, “my black friend” to avoid seeing their own racism and don’t even have a single black friend. It’s surprisingly hard to be constantly faced with my own privilege and prejudice. I totally get how tempting it is for people to shut down on this work and stay comfortably numb. Especially given how damn tired our nation is. We are a sleep-deprived and frantic country.
And this, this is the real issue. We’re not really “developed” or “civilized.” Most of us just work like fiends to get by and then we die. We don’t have time or energy left over to do emotional work, to think critically, to love intentionally. And no politician has really addressed these root problems. We have a thousand symptoms of massive cultural failure, of systemic issues, and no one is willing to change this. Not you. Not your opponent. I don’t for one minute believe that working conditions, material well-being, or spiritual strength will be improved by any politician or business man.
I love my country and I love my friends. I don’t love you. I don’t even like you. You’re only slightly better than that guy. I pretty much only picked you because I figured the chances of my friends living long enough for us to have a real revolution were slightly better with you.
I love my country and I love my friends. Right now I’m grieving the hate my friends are experiencing, the violence incited by bigotry. And I feel that my other friends who went along with this, who aren’t condemning, it are traitors. Maybe they aren’t racists or homophobes or Islamaphobes or antisemites but they’re quietly doing nothing while my other friends experience violence and hate and hurt. It’s really hard to love a friend who bullies another friend. Really hard. Heartbreaking hard. And I’m a Jesus-girl, it’s my reflex to stand with the underdog. So, President Clinton, for the moment I stand with you. I also stand with all the people who had those concussion grenades and teargas canisters used on them.
I’m really disappointed not to be mailing this letter to the White House. It would have been a bit different. And I know full and well that I’m just some girl in New Mexico, just one of “those” Christians, just a drug-addict, just a single-mom, just a university student. I’m not on of those people who gave a shit about. I am, however, one of those people your opponent seems to hate. I kinda prefer being ignored to assaulted and abused. But I would have really liked to have had the option to vote for someone who really had my back and my friends’ backs. That would have been so cool.