What I’m thinking about, a week before the election

By November 2, 2016 31 Comments

It’s the week before our Presidential election in the U.S.

The post I’d planned to send out this week – a post I wrote a few days ago – was about the remarkable ways gender issues have taken center stage over the past weeks. It was about how inspired I’ve felt, watching and reading the feminist commentary from the grassroots to the most prestigious papers, the standing up for women by both men and women, the public airing of what have long been the too-private wounds of all women around sexual assault.

That post was also about how, in light of the then near-certain Clinton victory predictions, we must make sure half of this country doesn’t end up feeling humiliated, unheard, after this election. It was about the gaping wounds this election has brought to the fore, and what we can do to heal what needs to be healed in our country.

But that confident and calm post seems a pipe-dream-world-away to me now, as Hillary’s numbers have been slipping in the polls since Comey’s announcement. This week needs a different post.

The service I can offer you today is not one of a lesson, a conclusion, a helpful insight – what I usually aim for in my writing. It’s more like what I could offer a friend if we were sitting face to face at the coffee shop down the hill from my house.

I can tell you where I’m at. We can commiserate. We can talk about it together, we can feel less alone, and maybe, if we are lucky, we can make some sense of something hard together. But even if we can’t, we will feel better having sat face to face and having had a real conversation about it.

I have written here before that I am a child of a Holocaust refugee. I grew up in an extended family where there were empty places at the table: some people had made it out alive, and some had not. This history has shaped me in many ways, but I have never felt its presence screaming so loudly at me as I have these past months.

That is for one reason: I come from a family for whom everything changed because of who was elected. That family lost their beloved homeland, their community of friends and neighbors, their longstanding, thriving businesses, their financial security, because of who came to power.

And those were just the small things they lost. They lost a basic sense of trust in humanity. They lost any kind of childhoods, or their ability to give their children any kind of decent childhood. Some of them lost their health because of unspeakable physical tortures endured. And they lost each other.

These are the stories that sit with me as I read the news. I think about how our country, too, could change. I think about an America with militarized checkpoints. I think about being in danger for voicing dissent. I think about untold numbers of lives lost because some crazy men across the globe can’t keep themselves from being enthralled with the ability to show their might.

It doesn’t seem a stretch to me to all of that from what I’ve heard these past months – the autocratic approach, the vengeance-seeking, the demonization of political opponents and even of non-ardent supporters.

When I have made my political donations these past months or decided to give up some of my calendar commitments to spend time doing things related to the election, these are the stakes I’ve had in mind.

I know everyone doesn’t see the stakes this way.

But if you believe the stakes are these or anything like these, what does it feel right to you to do in these next few days?

The second thing I want to say is this: it’s a pretty damn rough and tumble ride watching what is playing out in our culture’s reaction to a woman leader now.

On some days, I sit in awe as I watch prominent men in our society saying: “She’s the most qualified,” “I’m with her,” “She’s going to be an excellent commander in chief.”

What a moment to be alive, and how far we have come.

On the other hand, the outsized vitriol and attacks on this woman are hard to watch. And this latest development, in which the vague possibility that something might be relevant to an investigation has changed so many voters’ minds, makes it clear to me how quickly we move to mistrust women with power and women who seek power. It is especially hard to swallow when compared with the relative non-reaction to the many similarly “under investigation” possible crimes of the other candidate.

It is painful to watch, it can be infuriating to watch, and it is deeply grief-inducing to watch.

I think we all need to take good care of ourselves, and each other, as we witness all this. Taking care of ourselves, and taking action too.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Share this post with your community on Facebook here.

Sending love,


Join the discussion 31 Comments

  • Monica says:

    Thank you for writing this. I lived the first 16 years of my life under a political genocide. The rhetoric that I have heard this past year from the republican candidate, has brought a lot of memories and anxiety back. I understand how you feel because I have watch the KKK endorsed him and some comments of his supporters. And I can’t believe we are talking about this. It’s a very scary time.

  • Patricia Rockwell says:

    Thank you, Tara, for voicing my grief and absolute surprise at the turn of events this past week. This election has unearthed a deep, dark fear and insecurity in a huge part of our society. May they be well. May they be happy. May they be safe.

  • Pamela Carey says:

    Tara, your post echoes my sentiments very well. I have been deeply concerned about this country and its future for months. I also am in astonishment by what I hear coming from some people I thought I knew better, and disappointed in their allegiance to an incompetent candidate. The great division this has caused will be difficult to overcome. I pray for our country and our leaders.

  • Meg says:

    I’m scared. That’s the truth. This is terrifying. How he even got this far is terrifying, but the though of him being elected is truly a nightmare. And I see the treatment of the Indigenous activists at the Dakota Pipeline and I know that we are not such a civilized nation–militarized checkpoints are easy to imagine. Hugs to you as this hits even closer to home for you than for many of us.

  • Diane Peckham says:

    You’re not alone in these thoughts. We are out here with you working, praying, hoping for the positive outcome.

  • Christine says:

    I still maintain hope that our better selves will prevail. Any other result is unthinkable. Thank you, Tara, for your words of encouragement. It will all be well…I truly believe it.

  • Kathleen Buckstaff says:

    Thank you for sharing. This is a beautiful post.

  • Shelley says:

    Tara…Sending some love back to you! I’m totally involved in the campaign, and this is very scary stuff. My hope is that on Nov. 9 we can be gracious winners, and extend a hand to any who will take it as we come together as a nation. We are advising everyone to take a step back from social media–to not inflame already high tensions. There are groups who could truly be in danger on Nov. 9, and we must stand with them. Each of us needs to chose our words carefully–and let them be filled with love.

  • Kathy says:

    Thank you for voicing this and echoing my own thoughts and concerns. I think that so many people think, “Let’s give him a shot and see what he can do,” without realizing that, as you’ve noted, if he is elected, this could well be the last election we hold. All that the millions of brave men and women have fought for could be destroyed. It’s almost impossible for us to fathom and so many rely on our system of ‘checks and balances’ as rationale that he can’t do too much harm. But if the foundation of the democracy is destroyed, there won’t be any ‘checks and balances’.
    I too have been working on HRC’s campaign and doing what I can. She is an incredible woman who has been under a microscope for decades. She wakes up most mornings wondering how she can affect positive change and help others. She’s smart and steady and strong and compassionate. What she lacks in ‘charisma’, she more than makes up for.
    I’m so sorry for your first hand experience with survivors – and the deaths wrought – from the Holocaust. The similarities are too strong to ignore. Let’s hope, as Christine above says, that our better selves come through and that people use their critical thinking skills here. Then, let’s see if we can all call a truce on the divisions that have been created and show our better selves afterward.

  • Lynn says:

    This is not about mistrusting woman “in power” but anyone with a horrific background (for those who know “better” and how to do actually research – not rely on media).

    I lived in NYC for 33 years, at a time when Hillary was my Senator. I had a minor in City Government, and other degrees and a diversified background. (an older returning student). I did 16 credits and an internship at the *Aids Research and Education NYC Health Department and got a first hand education at what politics was actually all about (and mostly hidden from the public). (*when they were the “untouchables” and later placed at NYU for a MA in OT. I state this to show my background at the time.

    Alas, my building was then in a fire (3k violations which were ongoing even when I was able to move out decades later – few in NYC Government positions or agencies did anything as required by law to abide by various laws/codes and acts.

    I lost everything due to eventual chemical injury (most all fragrance products btw are made from left over petroleum sludge so I can not go to many places. There are 79 million such chemically injured people living in tents/cars or dying. Because the Rx industry makes most of these toxic products, and lobby our Congress little is done about it. As well only 11 states have “medical freedom acts” meaning you are free to choose your own therapies (as I did entirely holistic, mother in traditional medicine my background in biochemistry, chemistry of arts and more.

    I was completely “paralytic” at one point (these chemicals act as anesthetizers.

    That was in 1995 (when I was basically vegetative) and learned this and realized we live in a “police” state of sorts. You would not know of these conditions unless a catastrophe hit home, yours and you had to deal with the aftermath. (I had insurance, disability insurance and never saw a penny). I had to go (friend assisted as I was bedridden) to court for THREE years to obtain food stamps and welfare and paid it all back. Another 3 years for SSD. Yet those who have NEVER paid into these systems, can receive such aid more readily than citizens who have (as well housing under HUD – a two bedroom for 25 a month where I am now) but I and other’s who paid into these funds can not. They can as well receive Medicaid (states take tax payer money YOURS, which you are not eligible for and pay for these services). Your Medicare (which you pay for) is being drained to pay for Medicaid.

    Social Security is not without income received it as well is being used by Congress to pay for many other projects and I.O.U.s are left (and the money not paid back into). This is easily now researched online. (I used to have to go to legal Libraries in NYC) This includes the elderly, vets and disabled.

    Is anyone old enough here to remember CD and other saving rates as high as 21%. Even 10 or 6% would make a difference in my life and others with lower income (my original SSD since I was young was 500 a month!) These rates will never NEVER go back up as our debt is now over 20 Trillion and American can not even pay the interest on that debt!

    Like the subprime housing this can not be kept afloat for long (all corrupted by banks and Wall Street – major banks all have trading platforms on Wall Street – the uptick rule could and needs to be reinstated HILLARY if you really cared).

    I mention this as I had contacted Hillary Clinton’s office and submitted a request for assistance (worked for many legal firms). I knew the ADA (American with Disabilities Act which is under Civil Liberties, which is under U.S. Department of Justice).

    I lived near hotels (major) and their workers would smoke at our entry – which is illegal (ingress/egress and other laws) By then I could not be around any amount of second-hand smoke (having worked since working age in offices when it was not banned – it is extremely toxic and the heart is especially damaged).

    I went through 1,000’s of pages of the ADA (it is very long) and sent the Title’s that were salient to my request (to make it very easy for them) to her office. Her staff was totally ignorant of any and all codes/titles and acts (as my representative this was the correct Government office to handle this situation) and when I *called to ask why they had not *replied I was told “you have to be working to receive help under the ADA!!!!

    I was stunned at their absolute ignorance of the laws they were supposed to know to assist their constituents, as well lack of professional courtesy. She was rarely in the office and I had personally met former Congress members such as Carolyn Maloney who followed and assisted me with my SSD case – requesting the judge move it up the line. These people are voted into office to serve the people they represent.

    (**the former Senator and other Government staff always sent a letter of notice and what they were doing to assist) (*I did not know at the time her office was around the corner).

    I as well knew people who worked as Diplomats, worked at the UN – what happened in Benghazi is unspeakable (a person who requested assistance with pleas to her cell phone over 600 times).

    Last all media (worked on Wall Street for a legal firm) is owned by a few uber rich at the top – almost all do not pay taxes (100 million in each account multiple accounts tax sheltered overseas which is legal. Most members of Congress are lawyers remember and they make the laws most or few do not understand or take the time to understand).

    Major companies from Apple to MSFT do not pay corporate taxes as well (easy to look up now on Forbes or Bloomberg). Unless you think 1% (ONE PERCENT) tax sheltered in Ireland is a taxable amount. Walmart was recently in the financial media for this sort of shelter (79 billion).

    When candidates talk about lowering taxes they mean for the middle companies (who are being severely harmed by that and other government regulations) and individuals.

    And then of course her charitable fund – whereby individuals and even foreign individuals who contributed suddenly were placed in positions they did not even qualify for (one in the Nuclear industry – my sister has two engineering degrees and works in that field).

    I don’t’ vote for anyone who is under FBI investigation, lied under oath, erased subpoenaed information (emails, now found on her upper staff’s PC – whose former husband is Weiner, a Government creep that sent photos of his private parts to other woman.

    One is known by the company one keeps.

    This is a long reply but it simple stuns me when anyone argues about voting for anyone due to their sex or what ever besides the real issues at stake.

  • Lynn says:

    Please forgive all types so on (need glasses and can barely see my screen).

  • Suzanne says:

    Thank you, Tara, for expressing this so poignantly. I have passed it on. With love and hope, and prayers every day…

  • Jason says:

    What has changed voters minds is not the mistrust of a women, but the mistrust of a person who though mounting evidence is guilty of “pay to play” politics. She took advantage of her position as Secretary of state and provided favoritism to Clinton foundation donors. It’s quite possible she is guilty of public curruption

  • Diana McWilliams says:

    You’ve so eloquently said what I’ve been agonizing about for the last week. Thank you for your strong words and I know I’ll be crying tears of joy when we break the glass ceiling next week and save our democracy. The path to keep our democracy will continue to be cluttered and dangerous but at least it will still exist. This election is a stark reminder that a small shift can change our lives and bring in new rays of light or allow darkness to overtake us. I choose lightness.

  • kay says:

    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.

  • Amanda says:

    Tara, thank you for your courage and voice on these issues. You echo my sentiments entirely. As a former corporate executive that rose from the cubicle to the corner office based on merit, hard work and integrity only to be pushed out by a newly appointed misogynist, bulllying CEO my heart and respect go out to HRC. Sure, she is not squeaky clean but show me an executive/leader that has shouldered and solved every issue that has befallen their organization or has not succumbed in some way to the trappings of power and privilege. What irks me deeply is the double-standard at work in how she is scrutinized and demonized compared to the other candidate. That behavior is rife and so in keeping with the corporate world – a world which amidst inflated salaries and egos continually spins its wheels due to turf wars and the ensuing political gridlock. I can only imagine how hard it is to get anything done in government given the state of our private sector. I am not making excuses for her, there have been errors in judgement that may continue to plague her, however the alternative errors in judgement that will certainly transpire if she is not the victor will be catastrophic for everything we have built and stand for as a nation.

  • Donna Davis says:

    Hello Tara:

    Your country is facing a terrible “choice.”

    Your plea is right, just and good.

    But I hear Lynn’s words of extreme suffering and raging anger and bitter, bitter, experience.

    Perhaps all I could say would be: Vote for Hillary Clinton…she will at least be easier to fight. And the battle will be fought for justice, in the right arena, for the right victims, against the right enemies and targets, not the decoys of other cultures and governments.

    Thank you Tara, and Lynn, that this cannot be “there, there”‘d away. How many times have we heard Anne Frank’s remark, “I still believe people are really good at heart,” quoted as if it were inspiration, rather than horrific and tragic to the point of farce?


  • Sherri Reneau says:

    I have been a somewhat reluctant supporter of Hillary, but your post focuses so eloqiently on what is at stake here. Though I am truly not sure HRC is someone I trust, the alternative is unthinkable. And I do believe that much of the ugliness here is centered around our society’s inability to accept a strong woman -an area where we have long failed to catch up with the rest of the world. I am horrified by the bigotry and nationalism that have been revealed. I am horrified by the sheer lack of humanity that so many seem to hold solidly in their hearts. I am horrified that this utter caricature of a man is someone that this country takes seriously. I am horrified that we do not see the dangers of this path. Thank you for expressing this so beautifully without hate and with clarity.

  • Debi Rice says:

    So appreciate the way you write, thoughtful…and with Grace! Have voted for Hillary, and am hoping all people get out to vote!

    Thanks for all you do!

  • selena says:

    Thank you Tara for your insight. As a long-time democrat from a family of liberal democrats, I crossed party lines to vote for Trump. Being the diligent researcher that I am, and digging through mountains of information from a variety of diverse sources,I have decided to vote for “the grabber” Donald J. Trump. Unbeknownst to many, Clinton and her group have been quietly working to reinstate the US draft, which would include for the first time in US history, drafting young women for combat. If you do the research, you will discover Hillary and crew have been relentlessly PROVOKING Putin. As a businesswoman with extensive international relationships, I enjoy a regular and candid rapport with individuals from Eastern Europe, as well as many other countries. No one wants another war. Our young Americans would be cannon fodder if the USA were to go to war with China or Russia. So at the end of the day, my choice is for someone as filthy as DJT to “drain the swamp” that has spent billions on endless Orwellian wars. At this writing, the USA is waging un-publicized wars with at least 8 different countries. Russia is only at war with one country. So who is the aggressor and why are our badly needed tax dollars being exploded on battle fields? Check out the documentaries on YouTube about homelessness in America. Over 80% were once employed and many were home owners. We won’t survive more of these same policies. I am voting according to my priorities. No WW3, no more young American lives sacrificed for banker wars. Happy Voting.

  • Tere Insley says:

    It’s good to hear that some people in America can clearly see what is happening for you all in your country.
    I hope & pray that you will elect Hilliary Clinton as President of the United States of America in a few days time.
    We’re all watching ….waiting

  • Heidi says:

    Nothing much more can be said than the previous comments, but a hearty Thank you, and looking forward to meeting at that coffee shop down the hill for a celebration coffee on Nov 9. I am remembering how Obama promised us he would heal the divisevness in this country. I am not blaming him alone for his lack of success, but the chasm seems to have more insurmountable. It will be difficult to celebrate no matter the outcome.

  • Jennifer says:


    Please continue to use your platform and voice…we are with you and need you.

  • Tara – absolutely continue to use your voice to make the voice of many heard. Though I am not an American citizen, I feel the pain and frustration that you feel and I too pray that Americans will vote and vote wisely next week.

  • Pat Maloney says:

    Thanks. so much for sharing. Tara
    I am with her!

  • Kathryn says:

    Dear Tara,

    A proponent for women’s rights, I would not call myself a feminist, but an equalist, no gender bias or prejudice.

    Perhaps you are the same and it is that very cry that has formed the discussion and your head and heart sense of compassion and courageous conviction.

    With that viewpoint, dismissing both gender and personality, I hope we all seek to vote (taken from the word “to vow”) for the candidate with the kind of character and moral fiber that can navigate these treacherous times.

    Without that choice available this year, the decision, for me, was either to be strategic (to be for someone to be against someone else) or ethical/moral.

    For me, I felt it would be immoral to vote for either party candidate with sufficient sobering empirical data before us. So, I chose against strategy and voted what my conscience could allow.

    Thank you for daring, for inspiring this open dialogue that matters.

    Your life matters and means so much to so many.


  • Lisa says:

    Beautifully expressed, Tara. Thank you.

  • Genevieve says:

    Echo, echo, echo. You’ve written the words I can not, as eloquently.

  • […] What I’m thinking about, a week before the election […]

  • Jenny says:

    Thanks for the wise words and perspective. Growth can be an disruptive, confusing painful process. I believe our culture and our nation is smack dab in the middle of it. It’s hard to know who to trust and what direction to go in when we are clear about what we don’t want, but not clear about how to achieve the future we are all yearning for. Let’s hope we find our way there soon – if everyone stays engaged and votes, I’m sure we will.

  • Heather Healey says:

    Tara, thank you for so eloquently putting into words the pain, and ultimately fear that I am feeling around this election. I am not usually too in-tune with the political world, but this time around I am spending time at home with my newborn daughter, and distanced from my usual work-related busyness- leaving more time to pay attention to the news. It is so hard when I look at my daughter and wonder what kind of world she is going to grow up in. Hopefully a world centered much more around love than hate and intolerance.

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