My Favorite President: Hillary by Marie Cartier

Can I finally write about that night? Not sure. Here goes. Hillary Clinton. My heart beat. I voted for her every chance I got. Loved her passionately—the way I’ve heard folks talk about working for a candidate with their whole soul. I was so happy: she was winning. We were going to have a woman president.

            What do you want to be when you grow up?

PRESIDENT!

Girls can’t be president, stupid! That’s never gonna happen.

No more. My wife and I wore our white pantsuits to the primaries. What a night! She won! The most exciting political event of my life –and that’s saying a lot for someone who first put her body down in front of a nuclear facility at fifteen. I know politics, And protests.

A woman president!

I had blue champagne ready. The Senate would go blue! We would have a woman president! Trump would disappear! He was a confirmed sexual abuser—what was he even doing on the political national stage?

We bought donuts and brought them to the campaign headquarters the night before the presidential election, and sandwiches and donuts to the poll workers the day of the election.

We showed up to our friend’s house for the viewing party in our white pantsuits, Hillary shirts, and carrying blue champagne.

It was going to be one of the best nights of my life.

Can I really write about this? It’s been five years.

We had celebratory food, which for our hosts was always Kentucky Fried Chicken. I opened a white wine and spilled a glass on my friend’s yard libating all those who had done the hard work: IT WAS HAPPENING.  A WOMAN PRESIDENT!

It started off so magical—the board lighting up and then around nine p.m. Pacific Time, Ohio or Wisconsin went to Trump (eventually both). I was completely stunned- whaat? A half hour later– Pennsylvania. I was literally getting dizzy. Nauseous. What was happening? My eighty-five-year-old veteran political hard-ass dyke friend, teared up.

“Nope,” she said. “Not gonna happen.”

If she hadn’t started crying—maybe I could have toughed it out. But we called ourselves “asshole buddies,” and we toughed shit out. I looked at her. She looked at me and shook her head.

I said to my wife, “I gotta get out of here.”

We got home. We unpacked everything – the unopened blue champagne glittered in the moonlight. My wife said, “We should open this. We shouldn’t save it.” So, we did. I let the cork fly into the star-studded night. I drank a glass to Hillary. What nefarious things had happened to skew the election would be revealed later. I knew Hillary would have to write “that speech.”

But I could take no more media.

My wife is sober. We stared into the sky. I had a bottle of champagne and the night.

I said, “I gotta walk.”

I took our dog, and the bottle of champagne, and walked around and around our cul-de-sac, drunk dialing everyone I knew. Leaving a message for my young godson about how he had to stick it out, that gay men had died for his right to be here. “I was in ACTUP,” I said.

“Somehow, we would survive,” I said.

He went on to be a founding member of the first Women’s March, saving the message on his phone and playing it for me later.

I finally got a friend on the phone in Ohio, at two a.m. my time, five a.m. her time. We talked for two hours until she had to leave to get to school.

Later that day I entered my own classroom.

I looked at the students. Some teary. Sad. Most scared.

I said, “Close the door and circle up. I’m going to teach you how to get arrested.”

–Written on President’s Day 2/21/22

With thanks to the L.A. writing and performance group QueerWise QUEERWISE

BIO: Marie Cartier is a teacher, poet, writer, healer, artist, and scholar. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University; and a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.



Categories: Gender and Power, General, Women's Power

Tags: , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Great post! I remember it so well. Five years later we can see we were part of a much larger story – including Brexit and now Ukraine- but pulling back even further this story is older and longer than 2016. We have to fight on. The mourning is real though. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was one of the worst nights of my life. I had gone to bed after not being to watch the returns any longer. My son called at 2 AM in tears. We cried together, apologizing to each other for the failures of our respective generations — his not to show up, mine for turning right, both of us broken-hearted, but inspired to do better. We marched together at the Women’s March in St. Paul in January, refusing to let this sad turn in our country and world defeat us. Thank you for posting this.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This experience was different for me. Two days before the election I wrote an essay about why I believed Hillary would not become our President as much as I hoped she would. I remember the horrible feeling I got in the pit of my stomach when everyone said Hillary would win… I remembered the woman hate endemic to this culture…I remembered that Hillary was not ‘likable’… I remembered the young women in my women’s studies classes that seemed to be going backwards. Too much woman hate by men and women both. And who holds white men with power and money accountable for sexual abuse? NO ONE.

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  4. I think about Hillary often: her brilliance, her competence, her idealism as a youth, her lifelong work for women and children, her capability on the world stage as Secretary of State. I think of her as “the best president we never had.” Maybe to honor her we can envision the next woman, the one who will make it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember that night, too. I went to bed believing she had won. And it was that Orange T. Rex who stole the 2016 election and is still trying to steal the 2020 election. I despise him and his MAGA idiots. What a sad night that lost 2016 election was for us women, for the U.S., and for the whole world.

    Thanks for the memories, Marie, sad and encouraging at the same time. Yes, we could have a woman president! Bright blessings to us all for surviving. And voting. And protesting. And acting in other useful ways. And voting again in the next election.

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    • And I still have my Women’s Card and the sticker on my window that shows the Orange T. Rex and says NOT MY PRESIDENT.

      Marie,thanks again for your good work on behalf of all of us.

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  6. I remember that night. None of us wanting to accept BK’s prediction yet, soon enough, all of us sitting there in tears, in shock. I remained in shock for… I can’t even remember how long.

    Your post brought it all back. The dinner, the excitement, the anticipation. The joy we all expected to share as we would celebrate Hillary’s victory. A victory for all of us. And then the anger. The shock. The tears. And finally the deafening silence.

    Keep writing. We need your words. We need our collective memory.

    Like

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