I live in a Super Tuesday state. So, Tuesday morning I dragged my butt down to my new polling location, stood in line (in the rain) for an hour and voted in the primary. I got really wet, but that was okay. There was no way my candidate was going to win in Tennessee. That was okay too. After all, at least all I had to do was drive my decently running car a mile down the road and wait in peace outside a church while chatting with the folks around me. It’s not like I had to walk two days, fear for my life, and dodge bullets in order to cast my vote. I’m a lucky girl. We, here in America, are all lucky in this respect.
I’m gonna be honest. I broke my Lenten fast while watching the results come in. The results themselves were pretty much what I expected, but the speeches were just something I couldn’t take while stone cold sober.
Then I made a grave mistake. The same mistake that millions across the country made.
I took my confusion to social media.
Dear God, help me. Trying to have a civilized conversation about politics on Facebook makes about as much sense as trying to convince a toddler that nap-time is fun. HOPELESS. You’d think I’d know – I’ve had five toddlers.
The vitriol and name calling makes me feel like I’m living inside some dystopian young adult novel. Which District are we in? And what is the world coming to?
So here’s what I’m going to do:
Tomorrow morning I’m going to leave early and go spend the weekend with my best friend in a town 200 miles from both of our homes. We live six hours apart and this will be the first trip we have ever taken alone together. And we’ve been best friends since we were thirteen. Twenty-six years is a long time to go without a girls’ weekend.
What does this have to do with elections? Well, Jenny and I met in 1990. Back in the days when politics was very much an adult-only concern. Five years away from voting, our hot topic issues were how we scored on the quiz at the back of Sassy magazine, which bands were the coolest, and whether any boy (or our parents for that matter) would ever get us. We bonded over our hopes and our insecurities; our talents and our failings; our mutual love for combat boots and The Breakfast Club. Through countless other relationships, cross-country moves, colleges, and jobs, we STAYED bonded.
Today, Jenny is a doctor. I’m a… whatever I am. Jenny has two kids. I have five kids. Jenny has a body that would make Jillian Michaels jealous. I… had five kids. I’m a liberal democrat. Jenny is… my best friend and I couldn’t care less.
Really. I DON’T CARE.
I’ve never asked. She’s never asked. I imagine that we don’t agree on everything. After all, I don’t agree with anyone on everything. But I know this for sure: I know Jenny is smart. I know Jenny has a good heart. I know whatever political opinions she has, she’s reached them after careful consideration. And I know she feels the same way about me.
I could ask, I guess. It is, after all, the biggest issue on the national stage right now. We could spend our one and only weekend together trying to win each other over or celebrating our political unity. It’s important, right? How we feel about government spending and immigration and national security and Planned Parenthood? But what a freaking waste of a beautiful mountain retreat.
I plan to go and talk about our kids. About our husbands. About our parents. About how things have or haven’t worked out the way we imagined. I plan to walk in the woods and play with her hair and cry into a plate of over-priced dinner, fully aware that she will be crying into a plate of over-priced lunch tomorrow. Because we make room for each other’s tears. And we make room for each other’s opinions. And we almost never, ever, meet up on Facebook.