Why Am I Here?
I didn’t like Hillary Clinton. Not at all. Going back to her time as First Lady of Arkansas. I have reasons for not liking her, but they don’t matter. When she decided to run for president, I hoped she would not be the democratic nominee.
I’ve been a registered voter since the day I turned 18. For most of this time, I’ve been NPA (No Party Affiliation). I have, however, registered with the democratic and republican parties when I needed to do so to use my vote effectively. Because Florida has closed primaries, 2016 was one of those times. In hindsight, I should have registered with the GOP and voted in their primary, but I didn’t think Trump would end up their candidate. (I figured they’d end up with Ted Cruz.)
So I signed up with the democrats and did not vote for Hillary in the primary.
Boy, did I feel right. Not even so much because of Hillary, but because of some of her supporters I encountered. I was berated and called names for not being a Hillary fan. I was told I was a traitor to…something. That I was stupid.
And I realized that whatever happened in the election, progressive America was fracturing. Damaging itself.
As the election season progressed, I didn’t become a Hillary fan. I didn’t criticize her (although I did question some of the choices her campaign made), but I also didn’t #ImWithHer. Again, I have reasons. Again, they don’t matter. As I told many friends, she didn’t need me to like her. The chances of her popping over for a slumber party were always slim. She needed me to vote for her. I live in a swing state, after all. My vote does matter.
To be clear, there was never any chance in hell or anywhere else I was not going to vote for her. I wish there had been a viable third choice, but in the modern United States, there is not. But again, some of her supporters made it as hard as possible. I was always going to, in the words of a dear friend, pull up my big girl panties and use my vote.
Come November 8, I cast my vote. For Hillary Clinton. I was happy to do so. Kind of excited, even. I wasn’t overly optimistic she would win, but I hoped the polls were right. That night and into the early hours of November 9 were some of the most terrifying of my life. The next morning, I felt physically gut-punched.
In the days following, one of the things that scared me the most was that the American left (which, by the standards of most countries, is still conservative) was horribly fractured. Seemed to be inclined to continue to eat its own. To run out anyone who didn’t progressive correctly according to imaginary standards. To refuse to factually acknowledge what had happened and ban together to fight the battle we all faced in these dangerous times.
Then Kelli founded NWP.
I know that storytellers, artists, creative souls can change the world. They’ve (literally) saved my life. NWP is the absolute best of all of us. It gives us a place to work together using our skills and talents toward common goals. To do something other than wring our hands, chastise those who are on our same side, or dismiss someone who doesn’t share precisely your beliefs as a BernieBro. (I live in hope that we can stop using this term someday soon.)
I’m here because we must work together. Build together. Stop tearing down, criticizing, insulting those who are inclined to work with us. NWP is the opportunity to do just this, and so much more. I no longer know anyone who is not threatened by the current administration. This is not normal. It’s not OK. We’re all at risk. We must resist. Together.