July 26, 2016.
What a magnificent night.
I was proud to be a HRC state delegate through a series of inexplicable quirks.
I hadn’t even lived in Maine for a year. I applied for an absentee ballot. I never received it. The morning of our caucus, I wrote a Facebook post on why I was casting my primary ballot for Clinton, a candidate I once vowed I’d never vote for.
The day of the caucus, a few Clinton supporters were surrounded by Bernie supporters.
I’d had my fill of my fellow citizens who supported Bernie, especially the lecturing I had received from white males on what real feminism looked liked. I was tired of the Johnny One Note finger waving prophet, because of magical unicorns and sexism and the swilling of what was even then obviously Russian trolling, if you were paying attention.
I went to caucus because my absentee ballot never arrived. Our Sanders supporting precinct members pontificated and grandstanded on the Greatest Good. The Clinton supporters were hesitant and shamed. I listened to the same misinformation about HRC and the white Savior ideological fantasies about Sanders that had dominated my Facebook feed for months.
After listening to the populist narratives, the stories that weren’t fact-checked because “internet,” and the toned down Hillary bashing because we were face to face, I felt myself shaking and frustrated and angry. I couldn’t be quiet. Because no one had done their homework well, and it was obvious that the vagina was still inferior to the glorious Apollonian penis in these parts.
“Any other comments before we vote,” our caucus leader asked.
I don’t like public speaking, so I asked everyone if they’d mind if I read what I wrote on Facebook that morning.
It was a polite group. We weren’t on the internet.
We were dealing human to human again, so everyone said sure, this is why we’re here.
I took out my iPhone, read my Facebook post, probably similar in tone to this, and I received a generous round of applause and nods and agreement.
The caucus leader took the vote and happily proclaimed that all our delegates would be for Sanders. An honest Sanders supporter said, “wait, I think you’ve miscalculated.”
The Sanders supporting caucus leader recalculated twice, and according to the rules, no doubt about it,. by .01 percentage points, Clinton was allowed a delegate from our precinct.
After my little speech, I was unanimously chosen to be the Hillary delegate. So through the strangest of circumstances, including the extraordinarily democratic and civil if flawed caucus system, in a state I’d only lived in 9 months, for a candidate I never thought I’d vote for, in a county whose deep, unquestioned socialized racism and sexism are far from any reality I’ve ever known, I represented Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Maine State Democratic convention.
And after caucus, folks came up to me, talked, told me they agreed with a lot of what I said, but they needed to send “a message.”
Well, that was certainly part of it — but not all of it.
Representing Hillary at the state convention was a singular life experience for a woman raised by women, my mother a self-proclaimed Kennedy Democrat, and my grandmother a Nixon loving “he did what they all do, he only got caught” Republican. A family of women and their political stories, high pitched disagreements, political memories, narratives running back to the Civil War and my mother’s family’s vigorous support of Lincoln, a farm family that proudly worked their own land and never owned slaves, and the Huguenot legacy.
The political stories handed down to me gained another.
At the state convention, I stood proudly behind HRC with that .01 percentage point, with my mother, my grandmother, and the women whose Pantsuit stories unfolded during that trek into November two years ago; a season when change seemed probable, however flawed, and progress shimmered.
Proud, hopeful, .01 percentage point.
Two years ago today, we watched HRC accept the nomination for many who believed in possibility, not religious purity or political perfection, and we watched her take our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers and great-great grandmothers with her, wearing a white pantsuit.
Two years ago today, I felt myself to be a part of history.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony never saw the ratification of the 19th amendment.
“Not for ourselves, but for our children.”