No Hard Feelings…

It’s Sunday, and I’m eagerly *insert sarcasm* awaiting the 2nd round of presidential debates taking place tonight. But like a dutiful voter, I will be watching. Despite the emails that have been released this week about Clinton and the newly released audio of Trump and his commentary on women – you bet your ass I . Will . Be. Watching.

Tonight will likely be as messy as the first debate and there’s certainly more dirt to throw around this time. I wonder if any of the issues will be discussed or simply lost in the circus. Let’s face it, this is a train wreck that most of us will watch through our fingers, cringing and even laughing, though none of this is remotely funny. Our future is at stake and it’s just plain sad.

Perhaps tonight Trump will finally lay out HOW he’s going to create these jobs and “Make America Great Again.” And maybe Clinton will tell us HOW we can trust her, when she’s lied for most of her political career and tell me why I should claim “I’m With Her.”

I have to admit, I’m not hopeful at either prospect.

This political year, and the time leading up to this fiasco, has been one testing friendships, ideals, and morals. I fear the backlash for posting this because I cannot say #Imwithher, when there are so many outspoken about that sentiment. And then there are those that want to #MAGA who are either hiding in the shadows or the outspoken extremists.

Let me say now that I respect their (your) point of view because our individual beliefs are deeply rooted. None of us agree wholeheartedly, and that’s okay. It’s what makes America already a wonderful place. But I’m sure you’ll admit that the political climate isn’t the only thing wrong right now. We are not as unified as we should be and we are not as secure as we should be.

Unfortunately, neither Clinton nor Trump represent someone I can stand behind or someone I can see uniting us.

These two cannot be the best of us.

I know not everyone feels this way because each candidate has a loyal following, so I certainly don’t speak for everyone when I say this, but to me, they are both villains in this narrative. And we’re left picking between the lesser of two evils.

The Lesser of Two Evils: I’ve read people saying this is not a valid argument, but isn’t it? These are the choices we are given and to cast my vote for either of them is a punch to my gut.

We had choices. In the early stages of this election, we had some decent choices, and I don’t think anyone could look into their crystal ball back then to see this place we stand now. There was an overwhelming amount of support for Bernie Sanders and yet he “lost” to the Clinton machine. And while the Republican ticket was divided greatly and admittedly a spectacle, there were a couple who would have been great candidates, if only they were given a chance to speak.

So again, we’re left with Clinton on the left, and Trump on the right. And neither is truly and completely the voice of his or her party. Though there are many more Democrats rallying around her while an overwhelming number of Republicans distance themselves from him.

And then comes the bashing that we’re used to in an election year…

You have Republicans saying “She’s ____.” And Democrats saying “He’s ___,” and guess what, maybe they’re both right! And if you like him, you’re everything that’s wrong with this country and if you like her, apparently you want more of the same.

I remember when I turned 18, it was an election year. I was so excited to be able to cast my ballot for the candidate that I felt best represented my vision for the future. I was young, optimistic, and of course I thought I knew everything. I watched the debates…maybe not as keenly as I watch them now, and I prepared to make the biggest choice I had made up to that point. I took this privilege very seriously.

Now, let me stop here to tell you something that most probably know about me…I’m a Republican. Like most of my family, but certainly not all, I more closely align myself with the Republican view. Although, if you were to talk to my very close Democratic friend, he would tell you he thinks I more align with his views. (It’s nice to talk with someone of differing views and you both respect the other.)

But I digress…back to the 18 year-old me.

That year, back in 1996, I cast my ballot for the very first time. And though I was as staunch Republican, I voted for Bill Clinton. Despite his treatment of women, the affairs he was alleged to have engaged in, and his policies, I was one of the over 47 million people who voted for him. I couldn’t relate to Bob Dole because he was old and seemed unwilling to change with the times.

When the Lewinsky scandal came out, it was the first time there was an absolute media circus surrounding the President and his personal life.

Okay, maybe I should correct this to say, in my lifetime – that I can remember. It was embarrassing. But like the rest of the country, I was riveted with the goings on and wondered how his wife could stand by him – time after time. Now, I can’t judge their marriage because that happens behind closed doors. Perhaps she truly forgave him and they’ve made amends. That’s their business.

But what is my business…our business…is the vilification of the alleged victims.

I’ve been absolutely disgusted by Trump and the things that have come out of his mouth. But it’s sad to say, I’m not shocked. Not shocked because we’ve all heard things he’s said before. And, unfortunately, as a woman, I’ve heard worse from both men and women. I’ve heard the talk and heard the excuse that this is how men talk. Maybe not all men, most definitely not all men, but yes, I think it’s more common that we are willing to admit. Does it make it right – ABSOLUTELY NOT. Let me repeat….NOT AT ALL!! I’m not excusing his language or treatment of women, because it’s inexcusable. He is vile. There’s no other way to say it. Has he ever apologized to the individuals that he has victimized?

Now I have to ask myself, is Clinton any better? Okay, so she hasn’t had an audio leak talking about what she can do to a man because of her position, but when her husband cheated, she blamed the other women. And when he allegedly assaulted or harassed women, she claimed they were lying and said awful things about them. She vilified and demonized them. I watched videos and read her words about these women. As a wife, as a woman, I understand the anger and humiliation she must have felt, but when truths came to light, those women were still made out to be the bad guys. Bill Clinton was just as guilty for the infidelity and he also shamed these women as much as his wife, so maybe they share equal blame here. And look, I understand the whole “innocent until proven guilty,” and she was standing by her man…but has she ever made amends with those women?

Both candidates have used their position of power to intimidate and silence those beneath them. To that extent, both are pretty unfavorable…or rather deplorable.

Regardless of all that I’ve said, what it boils down to for me is that neither candidate represents someone I feel can create what I hope and pray will be a stronger, unified, and better America. And as someone who takes my privilege of voting very seriously, even though I do not know that my voice really counts, I hate to admit that I’m not sure if I will cast my vote this year.

I’ve spent the better part of my day reading recent articles and those from years past. I’m trying to educate myself more than I ever have before because it’s important. My daughters are watching because my oldest will get to vote in the next election, and they want to stay current. They are well aware of the mudslinging and even the hot issues. I’m often surprised at how much they actually know. But like I said, it’s important, and I’m glad it’s important to them.

And after all of this, it might be the year I vote for a third party candidate since Gary Johnson is on the ballot. I’d like to hear him debate and see what he has to say, but our system makes it very hard for that to happen. So I implore all the undecideds out there, like myself, to read up…look at ALL the candidates and choose who you think will best lead this country. Not just the one you hate the least. Our future depends on it.

Much love and respect to all. ❤

XO
~T

:/ Listening to No Hard Feelings by The Avett Brothers, because they’re my spirit animal.

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