Dark Days For The USA: From Celebration To Despair To Determination (Part 1)

Hillery Clinton election 2016

How wonderful it felt to vote for Hillary, the first woman president…

I think that the US presidential election of 2016 is going to be like 9/11 and the assassination of JFK. In future years. We long-lived lesbians will all know and tell each other where we were when we found out that Hillary had not won.

We all thought she was going to win. Every long-lived lesbian I know – and a lot of other people besides, including all the credible poll-takers – expected it.

The last several days before the election, I volunteered at Clinton’s headquarters in my town. I made hundreds of phone calls to registered Democrats, asking them to vote. With another volunteer, a Vietnamese woman a little older than myself, I drove and walked around unfamiliar neighborhoods knocked on doors, carrying the message to vote for Hillary.

Along with the others working on the campaign, I felt confident that Hillary would win the national vote, but I was slightly concerned about my own state. As a point of pride, we were doing everything possible to make sure she took Florida.

I cast my ballot in early November. Trump signs lined the entrance to the polling place, but I thought that the preponderance of Republican signs was due to a few crazy fanatics. My yard had a Hillary sign up for weeks; it was one of two on my block, competing with two for Trump.

I walked into the early-voting site full of excitement and quiet pride. When I filled in the oval next to CLINTON, I was so happy that I got tearful.

The night before the election, just before the deadline, I took my elderly mother’s mail ballot to a further-away voting office. The office was at the end of a dark strip mall, and that time of night there were only a few cars around, all close together. As I pulled into a parking spot, I saw a white woman about 30 getting into her van, and I asked if she knew where the ballot drop-off box was. She smiled and pointed me in the right direction.

As I walked up to the building, carrying my mother’s large sealed envelope, I passed a Hispanic woman about my age walking away. I smiled at her, guessing that she was voting for the same candidate as my mother and I. I deposited the ballot and headed back to my car, seeing yet another woman, an older black lady, walking up with ballot in hand.

That made four of us women, each out alone on a dark night, each having made the trip to make our voices heard. I cried again, with pride and joy.  How lucky we were, how wonderful it felt to vote for the first woman president of the United States!

On election day itself, I went to the Hillary HQ about dinnertime, just before polls were closing. I was told by a happy staff member that they didn’t need any more help, so I went to a party given by some lesbians I’d met while volunteering there.

They were having a nice celebration. I met a couple of lesbian couples, and I found we had friends in common. Lots of people of all different ages came to the party, even someone’s father, a conservative Republican who did not support Hillary. Jubilant, generous in our sure success, everyone welcomed him.

The daughter of one of the hosts did fire-twirling, and we toasted marshmallows for s’mores and toasted each other in anticipation of Hillary’s win. Someone asked one of the hosts how late we were going to stay. She said, “Till we can say, ‘Madam President’!” and with seltzer and wine, fruit juice and beer, s’mores and love, we all, lesbian, straight, young and old, toasted to that.

Next time: What happened that night, and what happened next.