The first time I was old enough to vote for president was in 1980 when Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in a landslide. That was a sad night for many of us. True, Carter was not perfect (who is?), but Reagan offered--and delivered--a trickle-down economy and a religious-right agenda that set the stage for the type of wage disparities and culture wars that currently permeate our lives and political discourse.
Since then, each election cycle brings its own particular ups and downs. But I must say, this has been the most painful presidential election I've ever experienced. While I won't recount all the reasons I feel this way (and I admit that some of the pain has been inflicted by Democrats), I will put it simply: Donald Trump is a bigot who has normalized blatant expressions of bigotry.
Despite the fact that he will likely lose tomorrow, tens of millions of people will choose Trump, and he will perhaps win more than 40% of the popular vote. And he will do so against one of the most experienced, hardworking, prepared candidates of the modern era who has been assaulted for decades by the right...and that's not to mention the rampant and unapologetic sexism that she has had to endure from all parts of the political spectrum.
But I voted (by mail) for Hillary Clinton not simply to stop Trump. Aside from being a writer, I am also a practicing attorney. I know firsthand the importance of judicial appointments in the cases I've litigated in the areas of civil rights, environmental enforcement, and consumer protection.
The next president will appoint scores of federal judges to the nation's district courts, courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court. Trump has said that he would like to appoint judges similar to the late, very conservative Antonin Scalia. Clinton would not use Scalia as a role model for her judicial appointments especially with respect to the constitutional rights of women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community.
The judges appointed by the next president will address issues involving voting rights, marriage equality (yes, there are still cases being litigated aimed at limiting the rights of same-sex married couples under the guise of religious liberty), civil rights, reproductive rights, immigration, the environment, consumer protection, workers' rights, and gun control, to name some of the most contentious areas. The next president will appoint judges who will rule on such issues for decades to come.
I certainly do not agree with all of Hillary Clinton's positions. And, yes, there are other very important arenas within which the president performs her or his duties. But let me leave it at judicial appointments for today because that presidential power offers a bright-line choice for most voters.
And if you haven't done so already, please vote. Our future depends on it.