On Tuesday of this week, I had the opportunity to vote for the first woman on a US major party ticket for the Presidency of the United States. As soon as I voted I uploaded this photo to Instagram. Today I am still incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity--for the vote, for the long overdue chance for the person of my choosing to be a woman, for the sense of pride that my candidate sported the best resume in the history of presidential candidates making her the all time most qualified for the job. I am thankful for the three young adults to whom I dedicated my historic vote, and for their father who did such a fine job helping me raise them. And I am thankful that when the dust settled my candidate, the first woman chosen by a major party to run for the highest office in the land won the popular vote.
I tried to think of something from the campaign for which I was thankful. I am thankful that at all three debates, the woman candidate showed up prepared, knowledgable of both policy and history, touting plans for future programs, self-possessed and graceful. She was a credit to her gender every single time.
For a minute I was thankful that I had not once during this campaign heard the phrase, "People are trying to decide which of the candidates they would rather have a beer with." I have always found this to be the most inane measure of who to vote for, but it seems to come up every four years. Then I realized that I likely had not heard that because this time around it had been replaced by the simple statement, "People just don't find Hillary likable." Who cares if the candidate is likable by the way? We are not looking for Buddy in Chief here. If I had to say which president in history I think might be most fun to have a beer with, I suppose I would say President Obama. But here's the thing---if I got to spend a few hours with this guy, it wouldn't be drinking beer. I would want to keep both of us sharp for the 225 or so questions I would have about what it is like to be the leader of the free world. Come on, I work in a middle school. I want to create a Venn Diagram... Skills it takes to work with middle schoolers/Skills it takes to work with Congress. I am thinking the overlap has got to be tremendous.
As the shock wears off I am trying to be thankful that I am no longer ignorant of the level of division in this country. Let me be clear, the division itself makes me feel physically ill. However, at least now it is apparent, so maybe we can do something to address the divide. We are one country split in half ideologically. This frightens me. Abraham Lincoln speaking about slavery proclaimed in the Illinois Statehouse, "A house divided against itself can not stand." The house feels threatened, folks. I believe the threat is more substantial than many, maybe most, of us realized. It has been exposed, and I am thankful for the voices suggesting it is high time to mend the rifts.
There's my list. Did I come up with eight? Ten? Truth be told I didn't count. Somehow this week I just don't have the heart to spend another minute attempting to count things that just don't seem to add up.