This morning, I woke up to headline after headline about Joe Biden’s presidential nominee acceptance speech at the DNC. I’m typically not really a fan of the conventions, but this had me curious, so I cozied up on the couch to watch it.
I was not prepared for the reaction that flowed out of me.
To call his speech a success is true, but it was so much more than that.
You know how it feels when you’ve been swallowing that lump in your throat for days, just trying to hold it together, and then someone sincerely asks you if you’re okay, and you just fall apart in their arms? His speech felt like those arms. Like it was okay to cry, to admit to feeling utterly exhausted in every sense of the word.
I will admit, I wasn’t excited when it became clear he was the candidate. At the time, he felt like the “safe” choice. But, at this point, safety sounds pretty damn good.
There is a civil war happening right now, it’s just not being fought with guns. I can say this with confidence because I have gone into battle with my very own parents. Our political beliefs have grown further and further apart over the years, but it wasn’t until this election that the wedge between us became so enraging and devastating.
My parents, who I love and respect very much, have looked me in the eyes and told me they are going to vote for Donald Trump, regardless of how he speaks about and degrades women, even after they raised two of their own and are now grandparents to four more.
The sadness I carry with me over this is unexplainable. I feel it in my body, from the lump in my throat to the ache deep within my chest to the actual physical pain from the tension I carry all day every day.
So, when I heard Joe Biden say these words, I crumbled.
“All elections are important. But we know in our bones this one is more consequential. America is at an inflection point. A time of real peril, but of extraordinary possibilities. We can choose the path of becoming angrier, less hopeful, and more divided. A path of shadow and suspicion. Or we can choose a different path, and together, take this chance to heal, to be reborn, to unite. A path of hope and light.”
There is so much promise of safety in this. It makes me believe that there is still a chance at turning this all around before we self-destruct.
There is an endless list of reasons why I will not vote for Trump, but the first and most important one, for me, is that I need to be able to look my own daughters in the eyes and tell them I fought for them and their generation.
I want them to believe they are protected at school, because right now they are one and three years old and they’re already doing lockdown drills. I want them to walk around without having to be on alert for predators and to trust that they will be taken seriously if they are assaulted. I want them to be able to work the jobs that give them passion, instead of having to rely on their employer or partner to provide them with health insurance. I want, so badly, for them to see leaders who respect them, who don’t think they can “grab ‘em by the pussy.”
None of this is possible if we face another four years of the Trump administration.
Biden’s speech was more than just the arms I could fall apart in, it offered a sliver of hope that, come January 20, 2021, I can stop holding my breath and the crushing weight of the last four years will feel a little lighter.
Can you imagine the real change we can make when we are no longer constantly on the defense? When we have even just a little more energy to fight? We could be unstoppable.
No, Joe Biden isn’t perfect. But doesn’t “safe” seem like a pretty good place to start?
You can watch his presidential nominee acceptance speech here.
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Aside from being a writer, Ashley is a mom of two girls and a wife to a passionate public school administrator. When she does have free time (cue laughter from working moms everywhere) she loves going to hot yoga classes, watching anything on Netflix that isn’t a cartoon, and weaving her way through every aisle of Target while listening to one of her favorite podcasts.