Not My President
It was a wet and rainy day in New York City. The kind of rain that comes down in sheets, but it wasn't stopping me from my mission. I wanted to see the Central Park Zoo for the first time, and by golly, I was willing to walk through the rain for a few miles to do it.
Unfortunately, the Californian in me didn’t realize that you can only walk so long in the rain before your boots and socks get wet. And mine were soaked through and through. I was still convincing myself that I could muddle through when I heard the sound of chanting a block or two over.
It sounded like a marching protest headed in my direction and I could just make out what they were saying. They were chanting in unison: Not My President.
It was just a few days after the 2016 election when protests sprung up around the nation in response to the results. It was clear this was another one of them.
I had witnessed another protest earlier in the week when my sister's family and I came across a group gathered in the Boston Common. In some strange way, I felt like I was witnessing history in those first few chilly November days.
I still remember the feelings that came after the election – a nation that seemed in heartbreak, at least in the areas that did not vote for the candidate who won. It felt like we were taking ten steps backwards after a few shaky steps forward. And, it felt like having the wind sucked out of our sails. At least, that’s how I felt at the time.
Four years later, I still feel that dull sense of loss that seemed to come in like a fog after the election. And, I can still hear the chanting on the streets that rainy day just steps from Central Park:
Not My President
The unfortunate reality is that despite the words of protest and the feelings that fueled them, the person with the most electoral votes did indeed become our president.
The other reality is that I threw my vote away in that election. I wasn’t excited about either party’s candidate, so I wrote in one: Alexander Hamilton. Dead or alive, I thought he would be a good president. And, I’ve grown to regret that decision now that I understand how much a single vote counts.
Since that time, I’ve been waiting for the day that I get to clearly mark on a sheet of paper that I will be voting against a candidate that calls people names, objectifies women, belittles a 16-year-old environmental activist, separates parents and children at our border, marginalizes the least of us, rejects systematic racism and fuels division amongst us.
I’ve been waiting for the day to declare this man is not my president.
I hope and pray that after this election the fog lifts, progress continues and a light begins to shine, however dimly, on the horizon.