Why I Voted For My “Feelings”

I could not live with myself if I hadn’t.

The results are finally in, and on January 20, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will assume the role of President of the United States, with Senator Kamala Harris taking on the role of Vice President — the first woman, and the first woman of color, to ever do so.

I have waited days for this news.

Tuesday evening found me in the office with my co-reporters, waiting for the results of the local municipal elections so that we could call our candidates and finish writing Wednesday’s newspaper, and we all kept an eye on the presidential election results, waiting to find out whether our own votes would pay off.

I voted for Joe Biden, and I did so proudly.

My vote was one of the ones that did, but it took an additional four days for us to find out, and I was waiting on pins and needles. I went to bed around 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, after getting off work, and I remember having two dreams about Donald Trump winning reelection, and each time I woke up I immediately reached for my phone to find out if the nightmare was in fact real. It was a relief to see that it wasn’t each time, but it was also frustrating to see that the results still weren’t in. As I’ve said before, I’m not a patient person.

In the midst of the waiting, I didn’t post anything to Facebook one way or the other. I shared some memes, particularly a funny one about America fighting over the color of the electoral college map the way the red and blue fairies fought over the color of Briar Rose’s dress in the Disney adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. But I never shared my own view because it’s a can of worms not worth opening, especially in conservative Brazoria County, especially when my own family members — by blood, by marriage, and extended in both directions — hold the opposite view.

But a Facebook friend shared a copied and pasted status that I assume has been circulating around social media, and that I just can’t ignore:

I couldn’t address everything in this post even if I planned to try, because I’ll be the first to admit that I have a lot to learn. Maybe if more people admitted that, too, our country would look very different than it does today.

I voted for the possibility that some small difference for the good of more people will be made.

But I will admit that I voted for Joe Biden, and I did so proudly.

If that means I voted for my feelings, then yes, I did so proudly.

Here’s why.

When I read this status, what I read is how much Trump supporters care about money and guns, and how little they care about people. Obviously, that’s not true of all Trump supporters. But it certainly seems to be true of all the Trump supporters I know personally, and all the ones I’m related to.

I don’t care if the government takes more taxes out of my paycheck if they use it for social programs that make a difference for people who need the money more than I do.

I don’t care if I bring home less money because the government has taken more for climate justice because without changes that will benefit the environment and the climate, one day there won’t even be an Earth to sustain life.

I don’t care if 15 million immigrants suddenly become legal because many of them have hoped and prayed that they might one day become American citizens, and many of them are honest, hardworking people that contribute to the same society that seeks to exclude them. If this had been the case in the 1700s and even before and after, America as we know it would not exist.

I’ve never been able to understand how people can criticize immigrants. They don’t steal our jobs — they contribute to our society. They don’t happily accept government handouts—many of the people on welfare are ashamed of it and only accept the help because they can’t find jobs or the jobs they do have aren’t enough to live on. How can you criticize somebody when you don’t even seek to learn their story? How can you criticize somebody when, through a simple difference of birth, your roles could have been completely reversed?

I am the black sheep in my family because I voted for my feelings. Because I voted for the ideal America that I want — an ideal that I know will likely never be achieved in my lifetime, and perhaps not in any other, but I voted for the possibility that some small difference will be made. A good difference — a difference for the better.

Maybe facts don’t care about feelings, but the fact is, if there is that possibility that a difference for the better might be made, then that is the only choice I could live with myself for making.

I have family members and friends who voted for Trump, and that’s fine. It’s their right to do so. If you voted for Trump, I hope you did it because you made the decision you felt was best for you. Bringing home more money in your paycheck and keeping guns safely stored in your closet might be what’s best for you — and that’s fine. Ultimately I’m not here to judge, even though this entire essay sounds judge-y, and I suppose it is.

The thing is, I voted for my feelings because I felt that the best choice is one that might not benefit just me, but has the capacity to benefit a whole lot more people who have never had the privileges and opportunities that I’ve been blessed with simply by virtue of being born a white American citizen.

I voted for my feelings because having a lot of money in the bank and having the right to bear arms are not what matter to me. I don’t have much money in the bank, and I have neither a gun nor the desire to own one.

I voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because I believe in the difference they can make, and I believe it will be a much more positive difference than has come from the divisive belligerence that I have seen Donald Trump exhibit during his four years in office. Sure, he’s done a few good things — every President has the capacity to do so, and each one has. But I don’t agree with his divisive rhetoric. I don’t agree with how he has handled COVID-19. I don’t agree with the changes he’s made that will impact the environment.

I voted for my feelings because I feel that Donald Trump is not the best candidate to represent me, nor is he the best candidate to lead our country as an American president.

I voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris — for my feelings — because I feel that their America is the America that I want to be a part of.

I like to write things that make people uncomfortable.

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