I remember vividly when I broke the news about the presidential election in 2008, and the democratic nominees, to my then ten year old daughter, Abby. I knew, even though so young, she had developed her own unique and strong opinions, and that she would appreciate the fact that a woman was running for president.
We were walking into our local grocery store when she posed the question about the upcoming election. Whom did we have to choose from? She wanted to know. When I got to Hillary Clinton’s democratic candidacy, she became quite put out, and much to my surprise.
Her exact words were, to my recollection, “We can’t have Hillary!” as she gestured expansively around the produce and seasonal section of our store, “She’ll make everything pink!” It was a LOUD, funny statement from a naive ten year old girl, with light white skin and flaming strawberry hair down to her waist. She was adorable and store-goers were enamored. Many an indulgent smile was sent my way.
Eight years later, she is more than ready for her first real election. Still adorable, still with long flaming strawberry hair and pale skin, she is, however, no longer naive. She’s spent the last four years of her schooling becoming even more opinionated and developing even stronger morals. Four years of honors history classes and AP Government are under her belt, and CNN is the website that she checks even before her Facebook every morning.
Still maintaining her inherently democratic views on certain matters, she has a smattering of republican in there, too. But she’s a liberal at heart. And as such, has been unable to find anyone to get behind since Sanders was pushed out of this election. Hillary did have her attention for a while, but Abby’s strong morals and expectations about how politicians MUST conduct themselves has soured that option.
“We can’t have Hillary!” she now says. “She’s a liar, I can’t trust her!” That’s a far more mature and educated opinion than her previous worry of vast pink landscapes.
And Trump is a terrorizing alternative.
It’s been interesting watching this miniature, young, adorable, and possible future world leader struggle with this election. And I feel badly. I’m struggling, too.
I have no direction for her. I have no guidance. I am just as lost, just as sad, and feel just as powerless. At this point, we are simply praying for a Hail Mary.
But I can take heart. This election has come at a perfect time for my daughter. And because of it, she has decided to take a year off before college to explore her future career options, and is leaning toward politics. I admit, she is talented and I am pushing her in that direction.
So maybe I can feel optimistic about future elections. And maybe you can, too.
Just remember that, in twenty or thirty years, when an adorable, pale, fiery redhead named Abby is looking out at you from your ballot.
Or if you are looking up at her from a hospital bed somewhere. She may decide on the trauma nurse career she’s been thinking about.
Either way, you’ll be in good hands, no matter which train wreck she decides to save.
Good luck, Abby!