It's official. The state that I worked my entire life to escape may hold the fate of this election.
We're standing on an edge of history. One candidate may historically be a first as "first female president" -- a romantic notion without taking qualifications into account. One candidate may historically become the first "non-politician" to take hold of arguably the most powerful position in the world. Also known as the "Alexii-what-the-hell-just-happened" candidate from my international friends.
And here we are. For me, North Carolina is in its own way home. It's where the people I love most reside. I loved Roy Williams and longed for spring days in Chapel Hill and summer days at Wrightsville Beach. A state where I was once mocked for being the Young Democrats Club President in my private high school of 200. A state where a man once awkwardly asked me where my home country was simply because I was speaking another language (Joke's on you: I was born in Ohio AKA "that other swing state"). But for me, I left because my career was not even feasible. I am a teacher. Teachers are often forced to bartend on the side to make ends meet. Their "benefits" somehow do not extend to all snow days as two years ago K-12 teachers were forced to take paid time off when schools were cancelled for the day. My writing about these things will not change anything. But regardless of what you have been told -- your vote can.
I will not digress about my career and how politics can impact our state. I just urge you to study your local elections in addition to this historical presidential one.
And with that, here it is. My final plea to the people of North Carolina (because my prediction is that tomorrow evening, our state will be dubbed as "too close to call") as your vote matters now more than it ever has.
To you: The Republican that "Votes with his wallet." The college educated man who identifies as "libertarian" with the staunch notion that his third party vote will not matter. Well, you're probably right. Your third party won't get elected. It will, however, matter. I urge you to think, will your wallet truly benefit from a corrupt and bankrupt businessman?
To you: The Person that Hates Hillary Clinton. There are other options on the ballot. If you truly despise both candidates, know that either a democrat or republican will win. Please do not just vote for one because you hate the other (and vice versa). With my Political Science Degree screaming in my ear--I know I should not utter the words
"Vote Down Ballot".
But maybe, you should focus on the local elections that matter most.
To you: The Staunch Republican. I know you well. You were my father and oddly a series of my college dates. Donald Trump was once a Democrat. Donald Trump does not exemplify you or your conservative values. You do not need to vote for him.
To you: The "I'm sick of it all". We are too. But don't you dare complain in the future when you did not exercise your privilege to vote in this country.
To you: The 18 Year Old: Perhaps you are voting for your parent's choice and perhaps you are voting for your own. Your vote in this election truly does matter. I urge you to think about yourself in 20 years. Who will you say you voted for? How will you affect history?
To you: The Millenial not over being "Berned" in this election: Bernie Sanders endorsed Hilary Clinton. If you seriously vote for Donald Trump after supporting his antithesis, you've missed the point entirely.
To you: The "I'm Voting For Donald Trump Because I Don't Know What Else to Do but I'm too Scared to Admit it": Do you really want to cast your vote for a candidate who you are ashamed to admit?
North Carolina went Blue in 2008. A year where I was three weeks too young to vote, so instead I did a six month internship with President Obama's first campaign. I've been long since registered as an independent and silenced my beliefs during this horrible election because I did not want to deal with other people's reactions.
But, as I am not a hypocrite, I am not ashamed of who I am voting for. Despite whatever I have felt in the past, there is no other choice in this election.
One candidate has the background of law and order, policy, and stamina. There is one candidate that will be everyone's president and one candidate that has created his own definition of what America should be.
America is already great. And before I unplug from social media and other people's opinions for the next 24 hours, I will for the first time explicitly state mine.
I'm with her.