I darkened the Joe and Kamala bubble as hard as I could without tearing through the ballot.

It’s never meant this much to me before. Never brought my under-control anxiety to the point of needing a smidge more of my Effexor. Every election I’ve voted in has been a reflection of what candidate I felt better about. But I always knew, regardless of the outcome and initial disappointment if my candidate didn’t win, that it would still be alright. Life would still go on as normal for the most part. That there would be ebbs and flows, but at the end of the day, our country’s leadership could still be counted on for the big things.

Even as awful as I felt about Hilary losing to Trump, I thought our nation’s system of checks and balances would keep things in line; the gravity of the job of president of the United States and the sheer volume of people calling this nation home, who were counting on their president to wise up and fly right, would have made the man do so. We were so wrong. So unbelievably wrong.

The Handmaid’s Tale—a preposterous story 10 years ago, feels like an actual possibility now. For the collective soul of a nation that includes people from every faith background, every walk of life, every color and creed—there has to be some united call to move forward, try harder, hope, and work for better days to come.

I’m not naïve. The Democratic Party has its share of problems with its own crew of charlatans and hucksters. But we have do a team on the ticket who can be held accountable, who will listen to advisors and the voice of the people. And we’ve got to still do our parts to follow through when it seems they aren’t delivering the way we need them to.

I did my part today and voted with enthusiasm against the sitting president of the United States. I want our country to address its ugliness and do better. I want women to have the empowerment, safety, and opportunities deserved. I want our country to be known for integrity, compassion, and intellect on the world stage. I want this virus eradicated and our people properly defended against it before another quarter of a million are gone from us. I want our leader to be parodied on SNL for silly personality quirks or vocal inflections instead of a truth that has become stranger than fiction. I want all children to be safer, better cared for, better educated. I want healthcare that makes it possible for all Americans to get what they need when they need it. I want our scientists and doctors to be able to deliver the truth without being ridiculed. I want to travel again and enjoy the beauty and culture of other nations of the world. I want this country to work in a way that Black lives matter every single day of all of our lives. I want people who are different from others to feel safe and respected and able to live their lives to the best of their abilities. I want people to love who they love and be free to be committed to them. I want our military to not be treated as expendable and for our vets to be treated like kings and queens. I want empathy and decency to emanate from the White House, not cruelty, indifference, and abject lunacy.

I did what I could and I hope you will as well.

On Taking That High Road

It’s been 24 hours since the most ridiculous event in the history of an American presidential election occurred. As CNN’s Jake Tapper so accurately described it, the first presidential debate of the 2020 election was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck. He’s not wrong.

The president behaved like the worst child you’ve ever seen in some movie about brats from hell that some angelic nanny manages to straighten out. Except there is no straightening out this fool. He fought, interrupted, talked over, insulted, and otherwise behaved like the insane narcissist racist that he is. Chris Wallace, a seasoned journalist who does not shy away from a tough interview, could not reign his saggy behind in.

Trump’s behavior was not surprising, yet it was completely disappointing. There were many of us foolishly thinking that he, as an incumbent president, might handle himself with the dignity and decorum such an event calls for. That he failed so miserably at that wasn’t a shock. But it was disgusting, nonetheless.

Much of America likely tuned in to see if Joe Biden was going to rise out of the ether and hand the dope a can of whoop-ass. Alas, it was a bit more convoluted than that. As I read posts and watched Tik Toks revealing the reactions of many viewers (American and overseas), there seemed to be much disappointment that Biden didn’t give Trump a dose of his own medicine. Why didn’t he interrupt more? Why didn’t he go at Trump as hard as he was going at him? Why didn’t he bring up this, and that, and the other? A missed opportunity was the consensus of how many viewed Biden’s performance at this circus.

But I disagree. Joe Biden was far from being a docile saint. He spent a good amount of time smirking. A lot. And I felt that was giving Trumpets fodder for their takedown of him. At the same time, he tried to stick to the way these things are supposed to go—with respect for the event and moderator, and in seriousness for the issues he attempted to discuss. But if you are faced with a petulant Damian child from The Omen, only the Lord Himself could hold back from not flying across the stage and knocking Trump into next week. I suppose Biden’s closest attempt at that was to ask him to shut up. Was that a high road move? No. Was that understandable? 100%.

For what many perceive was Biden’s display of weakness, I venture that he showed a lot of strength and personal self-control. The only time I think he came close to throwing hands was when the president went after his dead son Beau and the military, and then tried to shame him for Hunter’s problems, specifically with drugs (Honestly, if you want to talk about coke abuse, let’s talk about Don, Jr., shall we?). At that moment, you could see the fire behind Biden’s eyes—so much so I prayed for a Dracarys moment where we could collectively utter that word and Biden would render Trump smoking kindling.

But he didn’t shy away from talking about his son’s drug problem. There were also instances where he talked to directly to America asking them to do the right thing–to vote and to think. And it had nothing to do with turning America toward the Biden/Harris ticket in blind fealty. Biden is far from perfect, and his debate performance was far from perfect. But in my opinion, what Biden did do was try to remind us of the greatness and dignity that America is capable of.

I do want the two remaining presidential debates to go on–there’s discussion of canceling them. But I want Biden to remain true to who he is. To have fought fire with fire would have only lowered him to Donald Trump’s level. That’s not the option non-Trumpers are looking for. We’ve had four years of an absolute turkey whose biggest claims to fame are found in all the horrible things he’s responsible for and that his base, whom he will never alienate in the face of doing the right, honest, and empathetic thing, hosts the worst of America—racists, misogynists, xenophobes—all masquerading as God’s emissaries upon the earth. No, thank you.

So, Biden, you do you. And we’ll vote.