I’ve been very grumpy the past week. Quick to snap, late to calm.
One morning, walking K-Pants to school, I charged at a minivan as it passed the school bus on the left, and then I told off an old lady who was mad about a new sidewalks project. “They’re taking people’s yards,” she snapped at me. “I have to push my stroller in the middle of the street!” I snapped back, callous about her loss of yard, then moving on to make plans in my mind for how I would clip her ankles with the stroller next time.
I’ve never had a problem coming up with a quick comeback or biting remark. My nickname my senior year of high school was “Poison Dart Shoop.” Hood River Valley High School advanced placement English classmates may remember the reason.
I’ve worked hard over the years to let empathy lead and sarcasm follow. Results are mixed. But I was generally going in a good direction… until last week I put my little life raft into the river of collective anxiety, and was surprised when I found myself picking fights all over the place.
I was feeling dark and hopeless.
But then I thought about the fact that in an incredibly polarizing election cycle in which so many people are talking about the lesser of two evils, there’s a bright spot for me: I really like my candidate.
I remember Hillary Clinton as first lady working to expand healthcare for children. When I lived in New York City, as part of my job, I spoke with an Iraq–Afghanistan veteran with intense post-traumatic stress syndrome who told me that Hillary Clinton’s office was the only elected official’s office who took his concerns seriously and got back with valuable responses.
Then there’s the fact that I’m pragmatic. I like experience. I value compromise. I’m pulled toward platforms that are more centrist.
I’m also a Christian who measures candidates against what many consider to be the greatest commandment: Jesus’ challenge to love God above all and love our neighbors as ourselves. Not just our same-race, like-minded neighbors. Any neighbors.
Yesterday, our church officially became a parish after years of dedicated work. As part of the ceremony, we renewed our baptismal vows, which included these two important questions, “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?” and “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?”
These principles guide me.
I’m not voting for Clinton because she’s a woman, but it does make me really happy—giddy, frankly. I’m a fellow woman’s college grad. I believe in equity. As my best friend said to me, “If Hillary were on her third marriage, to a man much younger than herself, and had sexual assault allegations clouding her, there’s no way her campaign would have even gotten off the ground.” Truth. The standards are not the same, but she’s persevered.
So I have this in common with many die-hard Trump supporters: I really love my candidate and what she represents.
As a bonus, I don’t hate people who are voting for Trump. I hope they don’t hate me. Either way, the work doesn’t end tomorrow, but at least the election does.