Everyone wants the U.S. Election to be over – by whatever means necessary.
Mothers are tired of explaining to schoolchildren that “pussy” means something other than a cat. Millennials are tired of hearing that they’ve paid more in taxes in the last five years than Donald Trump has since 1991.
Everyone’s mad that the end of Daylight Savings means there’s a whole extra hour of election season before the U.S. votes on November 8th.
The only people who aren’t over this election?
CNN, who has YUUUGE ratings and Big League revenue from covering Donald Trump’s every racist, sexist rambling.
Yes, me. I’m a Presidential Election Junkie. My husband flinches when I charge into the kitchen, yelling, “Did you hear?!” and update him on any/ all of the following:
a) Trump’s Foundation under investigation
b) Trump’s groping hands outed by another woman
c) Clinton’s emails
d) FBI and that damned Weiner
Andy says he pines for the days when I complained about his father instead of underhanded Republican tactics. (But Andy also sneaks off to the polls with my filled-in sample ballot, rather than his own empty one, and so MAYBE he should be grateful for his well-informed wife.)
I am what happens when you grow up in the political environment of Washington, D.C.
My father worked on Capitol Hill, staffer for a Congressman (nope, not telling you his name). In D.C., elections aren’t just about the nebulous future fate of the country. Even as a six-year-old, I knew that my father’s job depended on whether his Republican boss won the election.
No. That wasn’t a typo. My father was a Republican. And so were his six children.
My mother was the lone Democrat. She took all kinds of crap from her self-important progeny on her voting record:
“I can’t believe you voted for the peanut farmer! He was terrible!”
“You voted for John B. Anderson? Instead of Reagan? I don’t even know who that is!”
“Mondale and Ferraro?! But she was a crook! She didn’t release her taxes! How could you?!”
My mother was wise enough not to engage. She knew we knew nothing, really, besides loyalty to our father’s party. She had faith that we were smart enough to escape our polo blazer brainwashing, just as she had overcome her debutante days.
Besides, Mom eventually realized she and my father were a terrible fit, and not just politically. Mom moved out and left us Republicans behind.
Mom or no mom, Dad’s job on the hill seemed glamorous. He told us stories about the special buzzers, bells, and lights signifying votes and recesses. He laughed about Congressmen scrambling through tunnels to get to the floor to vote. Dad even met with a KGB agent once upon a time, and didn’t know it until the FBI interviewed him afterwards. (We kids thought it was cool that our phone was probably tapped.)
Conversation in DC revolves around political rumors, and we ate up those same rumors with our dinner.
My dad also brought home more tangible political items — enormous boxes of taped, stapled, and glued surveys from the Congressman’s constituents. (This was before constituents could bitch to their representatives via email or algorithms tabulated online surveys. Back then, WE were the servers.) We underaged servers weren’t allowed to watch TV unless we were armed with stapler removers, letter openers, scissors, knives, and forks (yes, forks, because some of those staples were a bitch and Big Brother didn’t share the stapler remover). It wasn’t that bad, though, since those were the dark times before we could fast forward through commercials; opening surveys kept us from beating each other up with sofa cushions. (But not with forks.)
My siblings and I fought over the front page of The Washington Post as much as we fought over the comics. Only we didn’t call it The Washington Post — we referred to it as The Washington Pravda, as all good little Republicans did. (Don’t get the joke? Here. Be grateful that you have the internet along with online surveys.)
My father was always invited to the Inaugural Ball. (There are actually multiple balls, but his invite was one of the official/ good ones.) You have to freakin’ buy a ticket after you’re invited, though, as those balls are ultimately a typical Washington fundraising scam. Dad always threw the invitations away, never mind my then-stepmother’s longing looks at the trashcan. One year, my sisters and I fished out the invitation, paid for two tickets, and presented them to Dad and then-Stepmother as a Christmas present. We even threw in free babysitting for Space Cadet Sister and Boyfriend-Stealing Baby Sister. I think we had a better time watching them head off to the ball than they had at the ball, though, since the President and the First Lady only made a short appearance.
We eventually left D.C. for colleges all over the country. By the time we graduated, my sisters and I had emerged from our conservative blazer cocoons as raging liberals. Not only had my history courses opened my eyes to the horrors of the Industrial Revolution and unchecked capitalism, but I realized that the GOP had shifted from intellectual capitalists promoting small government to conservative Christian hypocrites promoting the military industrial complex and an oligarchy. Even worse, Republicans didn’t believe in birth control or a woman’s right to choose. And I did.
I worked as a spy for Planned Parenthood, going into so-called “Pregnancy Crisis Centers” and collecting information on the misinformation they gave (and still give) pregnant women. I’ve been locked in rooms and forced to watch propaganda films on aborted fetuses rife with medical inaccuracies. I’ve been lectured on abstinence as the only viable form of birth control and other bullshit where religion was elevated over women’s welfare.
The GOP would never be for me.
Judgmental Genius Doctor Sister’s transformation had more to do with the horrors of battling medical insurers for cancer treatment. She believes in nationalized healthcare.
Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister clerked for Important Judges and discovered inequities in employment law. She’s still in the D.C. area, and worked on Tim Kaine’s successful run for Governor of Virginia. Kaine has earned such accolades from Lawyer Sis as “my favorite white guy” and “a man who walks the walk.” She was thrilled when Kaine joined the Clinton ticket (though he refused to take her advice and leave the harmonic at home).
I follow politics on Twitter now, especially the reporters from The Washington Post. I check FiveThirtyEight’s Presidential map and Senate map multiple times a day, and I watch the TV coverage, too, despite the fact that just the sight of Donald Trump’s smug orange face makes me want to puke.
The Presidential Election is my Superbowl, and I’m invested in players from every state in every election cycle, thanks to my dad’s career. But this year, I’m more addicted to the election than ever, and it’s got nothing to do with my father’s impact. It’s all about my mom.
My mother died before any of her daughters went to college.
She never got to see her liberal butterflies sail into battle.
She never got to hear me say, “Damn it, Mom, you were right. I misjudged President Carter and Ferraro.”
She never knew that her ex-husband denounced his fellow Republicans, finally left D.C., joined the Sierra Club, and became a staunch Hillary supporter. (Which is too damned bad, because she would have laughed her ass off.)
She never got to see Hillary Clinton accept the Democratic nomination for President.
She never got to see a well-prepared woman utterly annihilate a puffed-up male pumpkin in the Presidential debates.
But I did. I watched it all, and I pumped my fist in triumph. Repeatedly. And I thought of how happy Mom would be, if she had only lived. It’s the closest I felt to my mom in a long time. When the election is over, I’m going to miss that feeling.
Until Inauguration Day.