1988 the Democratic Convention in Atlanta , Kyle in high cotton. A convention rememberd for a Rob Lowe naughty tape and this iconic speech from the last Democratic Governor of Texas, Ann Richards. Also this spry young man , the then Governor of Arkansas. He had me at hello - but then he went on for like two more hours. It was also my introduction to his wife, Hillary Clinton. Who I fell for just as hard as her husband.
Twenty eight years ago. For Twenty Eight years, including the eight that he was in the White House, I just knew that someday she would be there as well - just knew it. I have written before about my love for them. Young gay man surviving where so very many others did not - outlasting Reagan and Bush I , to have the Clintons use the word. To say " gay " with out meaning nasty faggot. I was real, I was an American - I had worth. I was theirs and they were mine. Another one I have told many times before. Neil jokes I moved to New York in 2000, first to vote for Hillary for Senate, second for Wegmans and third for him.
Fast forward a few years, A Tuesday in November 1996, I was in Little Rock for the second term election night. The first Democratic President elected to a second full term since FDR. Beth and I had to be there.
The point of this trip in the Tardis was just to let you know that I had been waiting for last night for such a long long time. I did not even make it to the end.
I am writing this late Wednesday night and it seems like it was days ago, not exactly 24 hours. I had been tense. Just totally on edge for a few days. Last Thursday, sitting here, obsessing over Nate Silver and the NYT's The Upshot as well as other polls, and this feeling just came over me, hard. What Jodi used to call " impending doom ". Almost the slightest of panic attacks, something very physical - I was hyping myself into a state not even close to healthy. I had to get up, get Koda and get outside. Telling myself nothing was wrong. No one was sick, I was not in a car wreck, everything was completely fine.. walk , sun.. calm down. But there it was - doubt.
That is why I was not really writing about the election that much, I was just too emotional. And not just about Hillary - the fear, real fear of a Trump - Pence Presidency was just more than I was willing to expend the energy to deal with. Like Christmas Day for an eight year old, getting to the actual day dragged... long days spilling into each other. X's on a self made calendar. Final ad's, final rallies - Gaga and Bon Jovi rocking the hell out of North Carolina State on Monday. Sleep was not going to happen.
Got up Tuesday morning, bit of that knot still in my stomach, check 538 one last time. We should be safe - no better than that, we are beating the spread in every state we needed to. Dare to believe , dare to pop back to that place called Hope. Nate got it wrong.
|The Final poll of polls before the election|
We voted - pretty big crowd for Mendon, which means like 10 people. Never a line, in and out in 5 min. With some peanut butter / chocolate chunk cookies from the bake sale. The day ticks slowly by, settle in as the polls start to close. Why is Virginia taking so long - why is Florida so close, on and on. The news was not yet bad, but it was not as rosie as my morning internet had told me. At one point I got up, just needed to move. A shower, Ill take a shower - went full Brittney Spears, shaved my head in a moment of panic - just did. Back downstairs - Neil says Feingold has lost Wisconsin. Freaking Wisconsin, deep blue, Feingold is gone early. Butterflies are bald eagles.....
Virginia comes in, Penn is slow but turning blue.. things are getting better. And then they did not. Nate had been wrong. Happy Trump fans and the sadness at the glass ceilinged Clinton party were just more than we could take. Giving up we went to bed, a little past midnight I think. I couldn't stay there, got up, came on here. Pennsylvania had gone red. Trump had smashed through the blue wall .The talking heads of MSNBC were just more than I needed, watched on line, sinking. Then the FULL ON GORE 2000 IRONY. She won the election , got the most votes and lost the fucking electoral collage. Crash.
I get this thing - not all that often - but the air feels like water. Moving my arms or walking takes effort, force pushing down on me. Muddled, fell asleep about 6 am, got up still in that underwater funk. It got better. I have yet to watch her speech this morning, fully understanding why she did not make it 3:30 that morning. I will, soon. Didn't watch his either, but saw some on the news tonight . Yet another new Trump , what like the sixth one. All full of praise for Sec. Clinton .... strange bedfellows etc.
Was not going to but went down the full rabbit hole of numbers this afternoon. It was so close, one or two less racist rednecks in the rust belt and this would have been an entirely different day. If we had some ham we could have ham and eggs if we had some eggs. She was gracious, the President was gracious . So much of my issue had been the vile Trumps taking the place of Barack and Michelle. Stinking up the joint .. debasing the White House. He made me feel better, he always does. Intramural scrimmage - same team USA! USA! USA!.
At least I was no where near alone, a quarter of the country was underwater with me. But it sank in. She lost, I lost - to me the country very much loss. We may dig into what is to come soon. The pure nightmare of the cabinet to come. Who the hell knows what Trump will show up in the oval office. So , now , me and many other ( mostly middle age and post middle age women ) will become what Lisa Birnbach once described as " ladies who , after three martinis , would shed a secret tear for Adlai Stevenson ". Yes, I happily drank the kool aid eight years ago and fell in love with the Obamas. For me he will be the President in my lifetime, more so than even Bill, but more to do with the times than the men ( well ,that and the recent unpleasantness of the Clinton White House ) But, this time, Clinton II, Hillary 45 would have been special. Knocked down hard but fought back... being that young woman at Wellesley, giving that graduation speech in 1969 climbing that final mountain . Everything all at once that so many wanted. But the real glass ceiling of the Javits center and the metaphorical one still are only cracked.
I am not done. We live to fight again ( talking to you , Sherrod Brown - head over heels for his wife as well ) . But, it won't ever be really the same for me. That is a lingering sad, one that can really only come as getting older sets in. NOT a bad thing, not depressed or anything really - just know that I am never going to have the innocence again of that young man in downtown Atlanta - finding his heros.