Today I lost two friends to political intolerance. It still baffles me to think about it. I tend to be a peace maker. I have sat on the fence my entire life. I have never identified with Denumocrats or Republicans. I have been a registered Independent for my entire adult life. It is very difficult for me to take a stand one way or the other way because I see both sides of almost every issue. I take voting very seriously. You can ask my dad, my friends, my husband, and my sister about the many, many phone calls and text message conversations where I pleaded with them for help figuring out who to vote for. I wanted someone to peacefully debate the situation with me. I got the best advice from my dear friend Jacob who said, “Vote and then don’t tell anyone who you voted for.” I obviously didn’t take that very wise advice, but I wish I would have to a certain degree.
I have always been very open about my life on social media. Growing up with a mom who had cancer and then no mom from the age 14 on, I never felt like I had anyone to talk to about the important life things. I have been so blessed to have so many moms and confidants through the years, but I’ve always felt this giant missing piece where my mom should have been. Facebook kind of became that outlet for me. Some part of me thought that maybe if someone out there felt the way that I did, we could connect and become each other’s “person”. That happened in so many more ways than one. I have gained so many wonderful friends and learned so much about my current friends from being open and honest about my life. Is it embarrassing? Yes. Am I too much sometimes? Oh yes. But is it worth it to put myself out there when someone comments or messages me and says, “Thanks for saying that. I feel that way, too.” Absolutely.
I say that because what I’m about to tell you is too much. It may trigger some of you, and I apologize in advance for that. Dad, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. But I want to be honest about my feelings with this election. I want to make my voice heard because if my past experience says anything, it’s that there are those out there that are just like me. My experiences are not unique. Here goes nothing.
***Stop Reading here and continue after this paragraph if you don’t want to read about rape.***
Back in 2012 I was raped. It was not violent. I was not left with bruises or scars. I was not tied up or any of the other horrible things that you hear about. But my body was violated without my consent. A man much older than me took advantage of my trust and naivety. He forced off my clothes, held me down, and took from me what I had been so desperately clinging to. After I told him,“ I don’t think I want to do this. I’ve never done this before.” He continued and told me to relax and enjoy it. Since he didn’t have a condom, he pulled out and proceeded to finish on my face. He got up, dropped a towel on my face and showed me the door.
I am sorry to paint such a graphic picture, but I think it’s important that you know the details of my story so that you understand that when I heard a man that is now the next president of the United States say, “Grab her by the pussy” it affected me in a very real way. To hear people say, “It’s locker room talk” affected me even more so. It wasn’t just locker room talk because it happens. This happens in the world today. I am careful. I’m full of anxiety and overly cautious. I knew this man for a long time before I went over to his house. I trusted him. But he didn’t just talk about having sex with me. He got on top of me and forced his way into my body without my consent while knowing that I was a virgin at the time. That mixed with the countless other things that Donald Trump said made him an impossible candidate for me to vote for.
As for Clinton, I was not a big fan of a lot of her policies and there were just too many questions and uncertainties surrounding her. I didn’t have a good feeling about her. I wanted to vote for a woman. She made me want to vote for her when I watched the debates. But that was more Donald’s doing than her doing. I didn’t support her. I couldn’t vote for her.
However, that’s when a third option became available to me. I, personally, think that Gary Johnson is kind of a clown. I don’t agree with a lot of his policies, however, I read something that gave me hope. Remember earlier when I said that I have never felt comfortable labeling myself as a democrat or republican? Well it turns out there is a third party voting system here in the US. This year, Gary Johnson led the third party as a Libertarian. I knew going into it that my vote would not make him president. But I wanted to vote and I wanted my vote to count for something. In an article from mintpressnews.com titled “Greens and Libertarians Rally To Secure 5% Of The Popular Vote Ahead of Election Day”, it reads “[An] … analysis of polls which include all four candidates, which was last updated on Wednesday, suggest Johnson would net 4.1% of the popular vote and Stein could get as much as 2.1%. If either candidate can net 5% of the popular vote on Nov. 8, they’ll unlock up to $10 million in additional federal funding for future elections. That money could unleash more political power by enabling the Greens or Libertarians to reach more potential voters.” (Kit O’Connell). This was good news to me. Even if I didn’t agree with this particular Libertarian candidate, my vote for him could mean more funding for those to come after him.
I didn’t steal a vote from Clinton. I didn’t give a vote to Trump. If I hadn’t voted 3rd party, I would not have voted at all. My conscious would not allow me to do it. I don’t feel like I should have to vote for the “lesser of two evils”. As an American Citizen, it is my duty, just as it is all of our duty to vote for who we think will give our country the best shot. For me this time, I voted for the future. I voted to be able to have a chance to one day look at a candidate and say, “That is someone that I can stand behind.” Voting for the possibility of a three party future, where everyone can feel represented, was to me an act of hope, and if there is one thing that the political process can use more of, it is hope.
As for those of you that are rolling my eyes and saying, “Of course you feel that way. You’re white. You’ve had everything handed to you your entire life. You aren’t negatively effected by anything that’s going on.” I can tell you that first of all, I am a woman that has been raped and sexually assaulted. The market crash in 2008 devastated my family’s income. We lived off of donated food and I have worked from the age of 16, sometimes two jobs at once, to support myself. I didn’t have health care from 2008-2012 and only got it then because my employer provided it. During that time, I had mono, swine flu, and had to be hospitalized twice. My medical bills were astronomical. I didn’t qualify for AHCCCS because I made too much money at my minimum wage job. I am in no way complaining about my life. Compared to a lot of people, I’ve had it pretty good. We all go through challenges. I am not LGBTQ, Muslim, a minority, etc, but I have experienced hardship and pain directly caused by our political leaders. While it may not be the same, I can empathize with your fears and heart ache.
To sum this all up, I think we all did our best. I think that all of us want what is best for our country. It is such a hard issue because it is so divided. There is no convincing one side that they’re right and the other side that they’re wrong. It’s a matter of how, where, and when you were raised. All we can do is be informed. I am happy to peacefully debate any subject with any of you. I am not as informed as I would like to be. I know that some of my logic is flawed. But please don’t yell at me and say hurtful things because you disagree. We can have a conversation without hate. I did the best that I could with the information that I had at my fingertips.
Well, I obviously am in part writing this to explain myself. But I am more writing it for the people that are just as hurt and confused as I am with all of this misdirected rage. If you made it through the full five pages, I congratulate you. It’s farther than I would have read on yet another political post. I love you all. Please let’s spread peace, joy, love, and optimism. I think we all really need it at this point.
To all of my friends that are suffering at this time, I mourn with you. My brain is going with a million and one things that I want to do to make this world okay. The following is a charity that Benn and I support. They are dedicated to protecting human rights.
I am cautiously optimistic that he will listen. At the RNC, Trump said the following, “Only weeks ago in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by terrorists. As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens.” (Donald Trump, Republican National Convention). Could it all just be a show? Absolutely. But I am hopeful that he is listening to us. I am hopeful that he will listen to our concerns and support the American People. Even those that are not Republicans.
I’ve ended this 900 times. I just have a lot of feelings. Also, I’m sorry that I was too lazy to look up how to properly site people and articles. I’ll at least post my sources below. Thank you for reading! Sorry it was personal and hard to get through.