Tomorrow I’ll cast my vote for the first female presidential candidate ever to appear on a major party ticket in the U.S. This information, I know, comes as a surprise to exactly no one who knows me.
I’ve defended my choice over and over again, privately and via social media, to people who disagree with me. And yet, while I’ve been very clear about the reasons I cannot support Donald Trump, I think perhaps I’ve been less clear about the reasons I do support Hillary Clinton. Recently, I’ve seen a number of people, including old friends, railing (not at me, but in general) against voting for Hillary “just because she’s a woman,” so I do want to be very clear about this.
I am not voting with my vagina. (Come on — those voting booths are tall. There’s no way my vagina could reach the ballot.)
I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton just because she’s a woman. Yes, it is meaningful to me that we are on the verge of following up the first person of color to be president with the first woman. And yes, I’m thrilled to cast this historic vote for her.
But no, I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton with my vagina.
I’m voting with my mind. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because it’s clear to me that she is eminently qualified and capable, tough and steadfast, smart as hell and absolutely prepared to take office. Donald Trump is bluster and bravado, anger and fear, utterly lacking in substance — full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because I want a president who knows her shit and stands her ground. I want a president who isn’t going to say one thing, and then deny saying it an hour later. I want a president who knows and can employ the language and the attitudes of politics, because the United States doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and our president must take her place on the world stage, interacting with the heads of state of myriad other countries. I want a president who can stay calm and composed in tense or volatile situations. I want a president who thinks before she speaks (or tweets), who values education and intelligence, and who is willing to put in the work of actually being president. I want a president who won’t walk away when the job gets hard and thankless, who will own her mistakes and learn from them.
I’m voting with my heart. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because I want a president who believes in America and all of its people. I’m voting for Hillary because I won’t be ruled by fear and hatred of the other, and I don’t want my country to be either. I’m voting for Hillary because I don’t believe we need to take our country back or make it great again — I believe America belongs to all of us who live in it, and there is much about it that is great already (and yes, much room for improvement as well). I’m voting for Hillary because I want a president who does not constantly mock and belittle others for the crimes of being disabled, or fat, or not pretty enough. I want a president who shows civility and compassion towards others, not one who bullies and harasses. I want a president who believes in moving forward, not back. I want a president who cares about more than just herself and her ego.
And while I’m not voting with my vagina, I’m absolutely voting with my body — my queerish female body. (Sidenote reminder: not all women have vaginas, and not all people with vaginas are women.) I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because I want a president who will safeguard my right to bodily autonomy. I want a president who recognizes that my sexual and reproductive choices are mine to make, and who will protect my right to make those choices rather than threaten me with punishment for making the “wrong” ones. I want a president who will defend my right to decide what is right for me, my family, my life, and my body.
I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman. I’m voting for her because she’s smart, capable, and up to the job.
Hillary Clinton is human. She’s imperfect. Sometimes she makes mistakes, and she’ll make more.
And I don’t agree with her on every element of policy. She’s not my ideal candidate.
But here’s the thing: Never before, when I have, in every election, voted for imperfect men — men with whom I disagreed on various elements of policy, who were not my ideal candidates but who I believed were nevertheless the right choices to take on the job — have I been expected, or felt obligated, to prevaricate, to equivocate, or to qualify my vote in this way.
When I came to that realization, I made it a point to stop doing it, to stop qualifying my choice to vote for her with the language of, “Well, she’s not perfect, but…” I say it now only to make this point. I will not say it again.
I’m not ashamed to vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m not voting for her because I believe I’m stuck choosing the lesser of two evils. I am voting against Donald Trump, yes, abso-fucking-lutely, but also, and as importantly, I’m voting FOR her. I believe in her. I believe she will make a damn fine president.
And I’m not just voting for her. I’m voting for an America of forward progress, of equality, of decency. I sincerely hope that America will prove itself tomorrow to be that country, and not the country Donald Trump believes it to be.