Reader alert: This is a political post. I am a nurse. Nursing is political.
I looked in the mirror yesterday and saw a tired, stressed woman looking back at me. I entered my 60th year in June and have always felt young, energetic, and filled with enthusiasm. But yesterday, the weight of the last four years reflected back in the mirror, like dog years.
On November 8, 2016, I celebrated with my beloved father-in-law, a Cuban immigrant, who was the most patriotic person I ever met. We were certain that we had just voted for the first woman President. By midnight, my husband and I sat in utter disbelief as the reality of the Trump win became glaringly apparent.
When I arrived at school on November 9, 2016, I felt the need to apologize to everyone I saw. I work in an urban district where we celebrated the presidency of Barack Obama for eight glorious years. I was embarrassed to return to school and wished I had a neon sign above my head that said “I did not vote for him.” The days between the election and Inauguration Day were long and filled with dread, as have every day since then.
January 20, 2017, Trump’s Inauguration was the beginning of a downward spiral for our country. His “American Carnage” speech laid the ground for what this failed President was about to inflict for four long dog years. As we sit on the cusp of another election, the most consequential one of our lifetime, I am imploring anyone I can reach to exercise your duty to vote. This is the most powerful tool we have, the only one, to take back our country.
We are a divided nation, a country that has lost its way, led by an unfit President who stokes the fire of racism and hatred for “the other” that may take decades to repair. But, there is hope in the midst of despair because we can still reclaim our country. The dog years of the last four years have taken their toll, but we don’t have to accept this as inevitable. While the coronavirus ravages our nation as the third wave of the unmitigated disaster wreaks havoc, we can take action through the power of the ballot.
The absence of leadership has taken a toll on all of us. The four long dog years of the Trump presidency can be ended on November 3rd. We can look back on this horrific mistake, and learn that the cult of celebrity does not give anyone the tools to lead a nation. Democracy is a fragile construct, help save ours by fulfilling your obligation and VOTE.