Why I'm voting my conscience come November
I'm at once scared and determined to write these words to you. I told you last week that I believe the political is personal and what I'm sharing here is in devotion to my promise as a mother.
I'm actually on vacation with my family at a lake in Maine right now, and figured out how to create a personal hot spot on my smartphone so that I could get internet and send this message to you today. I can't wait another second to share this.
Before I let you know how I'm letting my conscience guide my vote at the presidential election this November, I want to connect in with you and where you stand.
I want to know what your vision, hopes and dreams are for your community, your country, and your children's future.
Although I'm writing about the presidential election in the U.S. I'd be honored to hear from my international readers on these issues, too.
Please take 3-5 minutes to answer the following questions (and share them in the comments below!):
1. What qualities and capacities do you want to nurture and support in your child(ren)? At the essential level, what you do you most want to nurture in your child(ren)?
2. There is a great deal of unrest at this time, in the U.S. and in countries around the world. Our children, depending on their age and stage, are learning all sorts of lessons about "how the world works." They are impacted by the current events that pop up in the news and media every day.
What do you want your children to take away from all they're witnessing, and what do you most want them to learn from their role models as political, social, and economic events unfold (you and other trusted adults in their circle, community leaders, and political leaders)?
3. Imagine your child(ren) as a grown, successful, fulfilled, and joyful adult. See your grown child in your mind's eye. Write down the kinds of values and ideals you imagine your child feeling free and empowered to stand for as an adult.
Let your answers to these three questions be your guiding compass and source of profound courage in the coming days and months.
Let your answers to these questions help you make difficult decisions in the face of fear.
Let your answers to these questions help you activate and use your most powerful voice for all that you believe in.
Let your answers to these questions connect you to your conscience, your wisdom, and the core values that bring your worldview into empowered action for the common good.
***Okay, the rest of this post gets into my own personal journey with my political choices. It's looooonnng and in some ways may read more like a journal entry than anything else. I want to share with you my own process, in the hopes that it supports you in feeling free to stand for whatever it is that you believe in, too.***
I believe that the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, answered these kinds of questions for herself before she gave her speech at the Democratic National Convention Monday night.
I listened to her speech in the most old school of ways from my cabin here in Maine -- On the radio if you can believe it! And as I listend over candlelight with my husband and parents, I was moved to tears.
Here is an excerpt from Mrs. Obama's speech:
"And when I think about the kind of president that I want for my girls and all our children...
I want someone with the proven strength to persevere, someone who knows this job and takes it seriously, someone who understands that the issues a president faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters.
Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well-informed.
I want a president with a record of public service, someone whose life’s work shows our children that we don’t chase form and fortune for ourselves, we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed.
And we give back even when we’re struggling ourselves because we know that there is always someone worse off. And there but for the grace of God go I.
I want a president who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters, a president who truly believes in the vision that our Founders put forth all those years ago that we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story.
And when crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other. No, we listen to each other, we lean on each other, because we are always stronger together.
And I am here tonight because I know that that is the kind of president that Hillary Clinton will be. And that’s why in this election I’m with her.
You see, Hillary understands that the president is about one thing and one thing only, it’s about leaving something better for our kids. That’s how we’ve always moved this country forward, by all of us coming together on behalf of our children, folks who volunteer to coach that team, to teach that Sunday school class, because they know it takes a village."
You can watch Michelle's entire speech at the end of this post. It's well worth 14 minutes of your day.
My Conscience & My Vote
So I'm making some difficult decisions for myself, and I'm speaking out about them, even though I'm afraid of how I may be received for taking a stand. And even though I'm not completely at peace with how I'm going to vote come November, my choice is grounded in my conscience, my values, and my vision for my children, for our children.
And let's call a spade a spade. From everything I share here at The Nourished Home, it's pretty clear that I stand for peace, equality (economic, religious, racial, ethnic, gender and sexual equality), human rights, and environmental stewardship for a planet that desperately needs us to protect her.
Over the past year I looked at what political leaders most align with those values and during the primary season, that leader was Bernie Sanders. I caucused for him here in Maine. Although I knew that it was unlikely he'd get the Democratic nomination for president I hoped that supporting his political revolution would activate change at the systemic level in our country.
My birthday was July 3rd. Here's the birthday wish I shared with my Facebook friends on July 4th (Independence Day here in the United States):
It's going to be an intense summer and fall in the United States and my birthday wish is that we do all we can for the common good of our nation, people, and the greater world that we impact with our vote in November. The stakes are high and we have the choice to leave our children with one of two very different worlds.
My birthday wish is that we show them that we choose TRUE freedom, human rights, economic justice, ethical leadership, environmental stewardship, gender equality, love and support of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, acceptance and support of all ethnic, cultural and religious groups, and that we make informed, reasoned decisions that are grounded in peace and possibility. I get that this is a tall order of a birthday wish but it's what I want and I'm not afraid to ask for it.
So much has happened in the U.S. and globally since I wrote that post. And all of these events make me feel even stronger about where I stand today.
Where I stand today (and what I'm sharing with my daughters, too):
I stand with Hillary Rodham Clinton. I'm with her.
For her entire career, Hillary has been a public servant devoted to creating greater equity, justice, and opportunity for all Americans, especially those most disadvantaged and at greatest risk.
Look back at Hillary's history. Her first job out of law school was with Marion Wright Edelman and the Children's Defense Fund, a nonprofit that advocates for poor children, children of color, and children with disabilities.
My husband and I were talking about her mistakes and blunders over the years. I acknowledge my discomfort with her missteps. And I must also acknowledge that any man or woman who has been a public servant standing for progressive ideals within the political machine for this long, is not going to have a perfectly clean slate. I at least haven't seen that yet. The idealist in me wants that perfectly clean slate. The realist in me sees what it takes to play the political game. And I'm clear that although I can't fix the political system today I can play an active role in electing the most qualified, responsible, experienced, and devoted public servant in this election cycle.
I ask you to think of it this way with me, even if just for a moment. Your vote this November isn't about Hillary Rodham Clinton or Donald J. Trump.
Your vote is about your values and your ideals. Your vote genuinely plays an integral role in electing one of two candidates that have wildly different worldviews. Which worldview most aligns with yours?
Your vote isn't about Bernie, Hillary, Donald, or a third party candidate. Your vote is about the world you want to leave for your children.
See what's at stake and let your conscience be stronger than any attachments you may have... I've felt the Bern for the past year. I stand with HIM in setting my ego aside and voting for the world I want to leave for my children.
I want to share more of Michelle Obama's words because I stand with HER and her view of Hillary Clinton.
"Leaders like Hillary Clinton who has the guts and the grace to keep coming back and putting those cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling until she finally breaks through, lifting all of us along with her.
That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.
And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.
And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.
So, look, so don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth!
And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader who is worthy of my girls’ promise and all our kids’ promise, a leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.
So in this election, we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best. We cannot afford to be tired or frustrated or cynical. No, hear me. Between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago.
We need to knock on every door, we need to get out every vote, we need to pour every last ounce of our passion and our strength and our love for this country into electing Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America!"
I agree with every word Michelle says about Hillary's leadership as a woman who has had to face a patriarchal system every step of the way to get to this historical point in time. I can't imagine the courage it's taken all of these years.
I agree with Michelle Obama that Hillary is, by far, the most qualified person to take on the responsibility of president this election cycle. I trust that Hillary will work hard to leave this world a better place for our children.
And I agree with Michelle Obama that this is an historic moment for all girls and boys in this country. My daughters now know, that not only can a Black man be our president, but that a woman can also hold this highest office in the United States.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has had the tenacity, the gumption, the brilliance, and steady hand to remain in public service through a lifetime of ups and downs.
Let's be real. We live in a complex world and we're facing complex issues. Hillary Clinton isn't a saint. I'm not a saint, either. And I'm guessing that you aren't a full blown saint, either. If I'm wrong PLEASE FORGIVE ME! ;).
Although the idealist in me wishes this election could be about creating a global utopia, the realist in me knows it's about giving power to someone who is measured, wise, and qualified to lead our nation and world during turbulent times.
I believe that Hillary Clinton has all of these qualities. And I honestly fear that the alternative would be catastrophic for our nation and global stability.
For me, Hillary Clinton is the choice that best reflects the world I want to leave for my children, even as I acknowledge that she may not be the "idyllic" candidate of my dreams.
Whatever your political leanings are, take the time to feel into what you want the future to look like for your children and your children's children. Let go of "perfection" and use your power, your vote to help shape the path our human family walks together over the next four years.
With warmth & light,
P.S. Take 14 mintues to watch Michelle Obama's full DNC speeh below.