Mary Poppins and my right to VOTE

I’ve decided to take November off from blogging, social media, and newsletters.  I’ll be challenging myself and participating in National Novel Writing Month.  The general idea is 50,000 new words on a novel by the end of the month.  I am an uber slow writer, so this seems insanely difficult and unattainable to me—but I will try it and let you know how things pan out in December.

A few things over the last couple of months made me realize it’s time for a break from my routine, and nanowrimo is the perfect distraction.  Surprisingly I think a large part of this need for internet quiet time comes from all of the election coverage. I’ve always voted, but this election is different than any other one I have experienced. (Just keep reading. This isn’t turning into a vote for my candidate thing. I promise.)

Mary Poppins (Not the books, but the musical with Julie Andrews.) introduced me to voting, and unwittingly set the tone for how I’ve approached politics for thirty-seven years. Mrs. Banks comes home singing “sister suffragette,” wailing the battle cry of “Votes for Women” and touting the sacrifice that “Mrs. Pankhurst’s been clapped in irons again.” She unwinds her suffragette scarf, finishes her song, and runs to hide all evidence of her feminist ways because Mr. Banks will be upset if he’s forced to see the reality of his wife’s activism.  I sang the song with Mrs. Banks and learned the power of the vote, but it wasn’t until this election that I realized Mrs. Bank’s was the first in an infinite line of examples to teach me I need to keep the uncomfortable truths of being an intelligent woman from the men in my life. In this election there has been no room for me (or any other American) to hide the uncomfortable truths we face (be it as women, minorities, supporters of the 2nd amendment, etc.).  I have been forced to look at issues in depth, with unflinching honesty—and it’s exhausting.

I found solace when I heard Michelle Obama’s New Hampshire speech, because I knew I wasn’t alone in what I have felt over the last few weeks, as a woman.  (If you watch it, you can start at 2:28 and watch to minute 14 to avoid the blatant campaigning part of the speech.) Mrs. Obama voiced sentiments I hadn’t yet been able to assign to words, and I cried as I watched it because I recognized she had given a voice to the same emotions many of the women around me were feeling at this very moment in history.  “[6:01] I can’t stop thinking about this.  It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted. I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening… [7:11] I feel it so personally…Disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. [7:41] That sick sinking feeling you get when you’re walking down the street and some guy… makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin…  That feeling of terror and violation.”  But the part that rang out to me was when nine minutes in when she says, “We are drowning in it.” Because that’s exactly how I feel.

The drowning comes from stuffing the hard conversations in the closet.  Not just conversations about women’s rights, but all the conversations about healthcare, guns, taxes, education, social reform, immigration, abortion, and so much more. These are conversations that impact every aspect of our government and our society. And while I hate this election, and can’t wait for November 9th, I am grateful for being forced to confront issues in a way I never have before.  This election has already changed our world, and we haven’t even voted yet.

I think it’s important for you to make your own decisions, based upon the issues that impact you, and vote for the person you want to represent you in the world. I know my readers are educated people, capable of research, and making sound decisions.  Have the hard conversations before the first week of November, make up your mind for yourself, and for fuck’s sake: vote.

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