I have spent countless hours thinking about what I want and need to say. I've read articles and compiled links and taken note of facts, arranging them like index cards in my mind so that I could lay out a thoughtful and measured argument as to why you should vote for Hillary Clinton.
But last night, as I read both the Democratic and Republican platforms in their entirety in order to make a detailed comparison, I realized that my efforts were an exercise in futility.
If you are convinced Clinton is untrustworthy despite the fact that independent sources have ranked her as one of the most honest politicians...
If you can still excuse Trump's lies and uneven temperament after witnessing the first presidential debate...
If you do not believe that Trump is racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic and transphobic despite all the things he has said...
If you truly believe there are no differences between the two candidates despite their stated positions...
If you believe abstaining or voting for a third party is an effective protest of the system even though doing so will only benefit one of the major party candidates...
Then, what could I possibly say to change your mind?
On Monday, before the presidential debate, I talked with the kids about the election and Zeca asked, "If Trump gets elected, will he try to overturn your marriage? What will happen to us?" This is not something we've discussed but it is a legitimate question, especially if you've read the Republican platform:
Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values. We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a “judicial Putsch” — full of “silly extravagances” — that reduced “the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie.” In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Court twisted the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment beyond recognition. To echo Scalia, we dissent. We, therefore, support the appointment of justices and judges who respect the constitutional limits on their power and respect the authority of the states to decide such fundamental social questions. (Republican Platform 2016, p. 11)
I told her I didn't know what would happen and that conversation helped me figure out exactly what I want to say to those of you who are undecided.
May you never wonder what will happen to your family as a result of an election.
May you never have to comfort your children in the face of such uncertainty.
May you never know the fear that comes with waiting as the majority votes on the rights of minorities, on your rights.
May you never know the pain of listening to friends and family praise a party or candidate that has attacked you.
May you never know the harassment and violence that comes when a candidate empowers bigots to act on their hate.
May you never know how exhausting it is to fight for your right to love, to yearn for a better life, to walk in the world as your true self or simply exist within a system that was built to exclude you.
May you never know the powerlessness that comes with seeing people you respect claim there is no difference between two candidates even when faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
And to those of you who say that a third party vote won't benefit Trump and that Trump will not be able to overturn marriage equality, build a wall and deport immigrants, create a registry for Muslims or enact policies that target blacks and people of color, you can’t know that. It is a gamble and it is easy to gamble when someone else pays. In this election, it's clear who will pay - people of color, immigrants, Muslims and non-Christians, and LGBT people.
What will happen to us?