I'm going to step away from the gripping will-they-or-won't-they Grindr romance to talk about something that we're all probably sick of by now.
I'm sorry. I have to. The Illinois primary is tomorrow and its on my mind. And look - I have recently felt like I have been in a closet again. Coming out as queer was hard, but honestly? Coming out as a supporter of Hillary Clinton legitimately gets a more judgmental response. What happened that forced the Democratic party to split down the middle in such an ugly way?
I've supported Hillary for years - essentially, since she accepted the position of Secretary of State. In 2008, I was all about Obama. I was one year shy of actually voting, but I did everything I could to persuade everyone in my life to vote for him. I didn't dislike Hillary, but Obama? I mean, Obama is the man. I loved him then, I love him now. He is one of my favorite people and I don't care what you think. He has done incredible things for this country, and he's fighting for us.
When Hillary announced her bid for President last April, I live-streamed the speech from my cubicle. I was a terrible manager, yes, but I got to watch something historic. This woman is going to be our first female president, right? And every Democrat is going to see how incredibly perfect she is for the job, right?
For a few months, yes. Everyone was all about Hillary. And then Bernie Sanders started happening. And happening. And happening.
And suddenly? Hillary was a witch. A liar. A c*nt. Suddenly, my liberal friends were perpetuating the bullshit sent our way from the GOP! I couldn't believe it. What was going on? Why are we allowing ourselves to self-destruct when we literally have the perfect candidate standing in front of us.
The rivalry went from playful to violent so quickly, I am not sure anyone on either side had time to truly comprehend it. It's almost hard to blame Bernie fans for getting so out of control when, for the first several months of his campaign, most of Hillary's camp refused to take him seriously. It's only natural that with each little sliver of success Sanders found, his fanbase latched onto it with everything they had.
Fast-forward to March 14th, 2016. Both Hillary and Bernie are making stops in our city on the eve of the Illinois primary. I wanted to see both, actually, as I've been more on the fence lately. I've always loved Hillary, but look at the excitement around Bernie! I totally get it! He is the outsider - not the favorite - and that is immediately a billion times more appealing. But wait a second - is the Bernie Sanders campaign really a REVOLUTION? Voter turnout is way down from 2008, and Hillary has kept the majority of the minority vote. What does it say about a "revolution" when it consists of mostly middle-to-upper class white kids, leaving everyone else behind?
I decided to go and see Hillary. None of my friends have the flexible schedule that I do, so I knew I'd be going alone on this Monday morning. I got up at six and headed down to the West Loop. I waited for over three and a half hours to see her. And it was amazing.
While we waited, I kept overhearing the same conversations. Everyone on Team Hillary has recently become afraid of expressing their opinion for fear of being torn apart. Don't get me wrong - there are many, many level-headed Sanders supporters, and many whackjob Clinton supporters. But several Bernie supporters have created something hideous within the Democratic party.
Hillary supporters have been bullied into the shadows.
We have been harassed into believing that there is no longer excitement surrounding our campaign.
We have been chastised for 'buying into the system.'
We have been told, time and time again, that we are voting for a vagina and not a candidate.
Bernie Sanders is an incredible man with incredible ideas. He has successfully captured the magic of Obama's 2008 campaign. You want to believe he could win, because he's got all odds stacked against him. I get it. And not only do I get that - but I genuinely believe he'd be a great President. Could he actually accomplish even half of what he's promising? Doubtful. But he's a good man, and you can just tell.
And Sanders fans - you have my absolute full support in supporting YOUR candidate. I may try to sway you, but I will do so respectfully. With facts. With policy. And with an understanding that you have educated yourself, and that you're voting with your heart. If your heart is with Bernie, VOTE. FOR. BERNIE.
BUT! Hillary's speech in Chicago today was ELECTRIC. She was incredible and articulate and amazing. In person, Hillary seemed more genuine, approachable, and bad ass than I could have imagined. The crowd was insane - and incredibly diverse in age and ethnicity. People were spontaneously crying, clapping and yelling. And throughout my four hours at the event, I spoke with several supporters who, like me, share a great admiration for Mr. Sanders.
And in my four hours there, I did not hear a single mean-spirited comment towards Sanders or his supporters. Not one.
These are some of Hillary's most passionate supporters in Chicago - THE DAY BEFORE WE VOTE - but there was no negativity to be found. Hillary Clinton is qualified, and experienced, and she's focusing on the issues that are most important to ME. Which is why #ImWithHer.
After her speech, I was lucky enough to meet her. We spoke briefly, she snapped a few selfies, and then tried to steal my phone. When I had chased her down to get it back, she had accidentally used it to take another selfie with some random old woman. What a hilarious memory! And you guys - Hillary is literally just a grandma. She is sweet, she is caring, and she wants what is best for us.
Some of my friends made me feel badly for sharing my picture with Hillary. To these people - I hope
you get trapped in an elevator with Ben Carson. Be happy for ME. This woman is one of my heroes! If my dad can say something nice about my meeting her, anyone can. I love seeing my friends engaging with their candidate - it's incredible, and so, so important.
I've come to realize that a win for either Sanders or Clinton will be bittersweet. Both are historic and special and inspiring in their own ways, and I see endless possibilities for our country with either one of them in charge.
Isn't it a great time to be a Democrat?
Hillary may not be the perfect candidate. She may not be your candidate. But let's not forget the incredible amount of work she has done for this country. And while her record isn't pristine, you couldn't say that about ANY CANDIDATE this year. Hillary has forged a new path in ways no one else has - because she didn't have a choice. Hillary has opened the door for young girls to really believe they could be the President of the United States.
I don't know about you, but I think that's a fucking revolution.
to be continued.