Friends, I’ve been un-friended.
It happened on a Friday night. I posted the video of Mr. and Mrs. Kahn—the Gold Star Muslim parents of a soldier killed in Iraq—with the caption, “America is already great.” These four words were apparently fighting words because, within minutes, a man I knew mostly back in school before we were of voting age commented he would be un-friending me until after the election. “Nothing personal,” he wrote. He was sure I understood why he had to do this, that he had to un-friend me in order to remain friends. He was just, to quote, “SO itching to launch truth missiles” my way.
I’m not sure what a truth missile is, but it sounds like war. War, over showing public support for a Gold Star family and stating that America is great? The low bar, it seems, can still sink lower.
It’s no secret I’m liberal in my politics, but at least half of my friends are conservatives and, while I admit I have no respect for the bullying rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh and don’t know where to find the Fox News channel on my TV, I read just about everything by prominent and respected conservatives like David Brooks and Peggy Noonan, and my latest Podcast Addiction Award goes to the brilliant and hilarious Mike Murphy, longtime Republican political operative and consultant to Jeb Bush. Murphy’s two-part interview with Mitt Romney was worth every minute. All this to say I do not need to receive truth missiles from a man enthusiastic about, I’m guessing here, the current Republican presidential nominee.
Which brings me to the most puzzling aspect of this year’s Republican candidate: he does not appear to be a Republican, or even a conservative. Mike Murphy and Mitt Romney claim they will vote, but write in some other name.
More than two dozen women friends, liberals and conservatives alike, have told me they can’t bring themselves to vote for either candidate. They will be sitting this one out.
Since women have had the right to vote for less than a century, this is both disturbing and disheartening. While it’s certainly not news that both candidates have high water marks for being unlikable, the reasons women give for not voting are notable.
Who can vote for a man who makes fun of the handicapped, who calls people Little Marco and Lyin’ Ted and Crooked Hillary and Pocahontas like a grade school bully? Who can vote for a man who insults and then refuses to apologize to a grieving Gold Star mother, who insists he knows “more than the generals” when it comes to ISIS, and who doubles-down on asinine assertions that the current President of the United States was not born here and founded ISIS?
Who can vote for a man who spends his opening remarks in a national presidential debate defending the size of his penis?
On the democratic side there’s Email Gate—the private server, the thousands of emails—and that the candidate comes across cold. But most always it comes down to this: disgust that she stayed married to a serial cheater, to a man whom she must have known was having sex with other women, who then embarrassed her publicly by trying to lie his way out of it.
I’m reminded of one of my dad’s Facebook posts, a photo of Monica Lewinsky with the caption, Nobody would know who I am if Hillary was the right woman for the job.
Her husband’s affairs had to be as much her fault as his. She asked for it, or was in on it. Who can vote for a woman who chooses to stay in a sham and call it marriage? How can you trust a woman like that to run the country?
As to my own Facebook un-friending, I did not comment nor reply. Eventually I deleted the post altogether. What else was there to say? I’m not normally much of a crier, so it’s humiliating to admit I spent that Friday night in tears. Not over the un-friending—we are all grownups here and can choose to be “friends” with whomever we like—but because I felt like I’d been slapped in public. Knocked down a peg. Taught a lesson. Surely I understood why he could not remain “friends.” Surely I understood not to take it personally. Surely I understood that I had, somehow, asked for it.
Would he, I can’t help but wonder, be this bent on launching truth missiles at a man?
This November, I will cast my vote. I will not vote for the woman because she is a woman. I will vote for her in spite of it.
I will vote for her because I don’t need to understand her marriage or like or love or be friends with her. I will vote for her because she represents the causes I believe in (a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, women’s rights, sensible gun legislation), but mostly I will vote for her because she is the most qualified candidate—raised working-class in Illinois, smart enough for Yale Law, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, Senator from New York, Secretary of State—who just so happens to be a woman.
I will vote for her because it’s a man’s world and men have been running this country for over 200 years. Isn’t it time to see if we can do a better job?
And admittedly, there is one very small bonus: I am fairly certain I will never have to watch her defend the size of her penis on a national stage.