Last week I confided in my mother that I would not be voting for the presidential candidate she would be voting for. Instead of respecting my decision, she told me she would rather have me not vote than vote for the opponent she disagrees with. It got me thinking about how I would respond to my future daughter telling me she was voting for the opposing party. So, future daughter, if you end up voting for the opposing party, this is what I have to say to you:
Darling, I am proud of you. I am proud of you for dragging your butt to the polls when we live in a country whose voter turnout is far behind that of the other developed countries. I am proud of you for using your right to vote. Our female ancestors fought hard for that right – do not throw it away.
Darling, I am proud of you for using your heart. I am proud of you for figuring out which beliefs are important to you. We grew up at different times, in different cultures, and we’ve had different experiences. We see the world through different eyes; it makes sense we would see the candidates through different eyes, as well.
Darling, I am proud of you for using your head. I am proud of you for discerning for yourself instead of blindly following what I believe. When I raised you to make your own decisions, I did not just mean what clothes you would wear or what food you would eat – political decisions are included, too. To see you making your own decisions assures me I raised you well.
Darling, I am proud of you for using your voice. This world teaches us women that we have to be small. In disguise as politeness, we must not speak out of turn. In disguise of health, we must be skinny. In a world teaching you not to take up any space, I want you to raise your voice. Raise hell about the things you care about. Take up space in this world and show it just what women can do.
Darling, I am proud of you for showing up. I am proud of you for staying true to who you are and what you believe, even if I silently may wish you believed something else. Because at the end of the day, darling, your vote is just that – a vote.
On election day, we do not know who will win. But there is one thing we do know. We are a family that loves each other dearly. And a family that loves each other dearly cannot be divided by beliefs.
And darling, I promise you this: I will never belittle you for your beliefs. Whoever wins will not always be the president, but we will always be a family. Whatever we believe, we will always believe in each other first. Whatever candidate we respect, we will respect each other more. Our family will always be a safe place for the sharing of opinions. Darling, thank you for your vulnerability in confiding with me. I will not abuse your trust in me by telling you I would rather have you not vote than vote for the opposing candidate. Darling, while on election day I may vote for a different candidate than you are, I will spend my life proving to you that my vote will always be for you.