You know the old line about how as you get older and have a family you become more conservative? This is a lie.
When one has been sleep deprived for literally years, one develops a short fuse and a zero tolerance policy for boolsheet. For me, this unfortunate combination results in a raw, ragey feminism that ramps up around 3pm after a day of confronting and managing sexist microaggressions and recedes only when I a) have several drinks b) vent to the husband and friends who reassure me I’m not hysterical or c) I have the opportunity to share my obnoxiously vague and desperate drivel on social media.
It’s your lucky day, folks.
So what is all this rambling and what does it have to do with politics? Well. I spent many months at the end of 2015 #feelingthebern. Yes, income disparity, corporate personhood, and campaign finance are all enormous issues that represent systems which need to be dismantled. And I like Bernie Sanders. He’s consistent and firmly believes what he’s saying. He has my utmost respect.
Media outlets tell me that since I’m a millennial, I’ve moved past the idea that a woman in the White House is a radical notion. That real feminism is voting for the candidate you most admire, not the one whose genitals look like your own. In a perfect world, this last part is true.
And yet. When I really, really asked myself why I was not excited about Hillary Clinton’s campaign, I couldn’t exactly say why. Has she said things that I disagree with? Yes. Have her policies always been as far left as I like them? No. But have Bernie’s? Actually, no. I quite disagree with him about trade, gun control, and I am unhappy with his treatment of intersectionality and BLM. So I began a mental exercise where I switched their policies and styles, just to compensate for any inherent, unconscious sexism that may have influenced me. Guess what? At best, it was a wash.
I’m also 32 years old and deeply cynical that the executive branch alone can enact real, radical, lasting change. It came down to one question: Would I rather have a person who knows the game and can play it, is extraordinarily competent and understands the complexities of the issues or a person who is uncompromising in their ideals and believes they can dismantle economic and cultural structures that have taken 400 years to create in just 4, or even 8 years? At the end of the day, I’d rather have the savvy person who knows this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Of course all of these mental gymnastics demonstrate my privilege. I’m a white, middle class, able-bodied, cisgender woman who doesn’t live with the real effects of poverty and racial discrimination every single day. I understand why people are excited about Bernie and why so many need a revolution. I need and want that revolution too, but I don’t think it’s going to be directly led by the Oval Office. I take my right to vote very seriously so I feel charged with the task of voting for the individual who I think will make the greatest impact on the lives of those who need help the most, and of course, my daughter who will likely be on this Earth years after I’ve left it.
So in the face of the deeply ingrained misogyny I see in the media, among other left-leaning friends, and the absolutely infuriating experiences I’ve had myself, I’m honored to have the opportunity to cast my ballot for a competent woman. And I hope that once she’s elected, girls will see her face among the rows and rows of the 44 men who preceded her, and know that a woman is more than capable of leading this country. And just maybe, they will have the tools to call out sexism when they see it.