By Kate Hawthorne, Staff Writer
When I got up on Nov. 8, 2016, I was exhilarated. I carefully went through my clothes and chose a perfect outfit – slipping on a warm blue sweater, shrugging into a blue leather jacket, placing a blue necklace around my throat, sliding on blue origami earrings and, finally, placing my “Chappaqua for Hillary” hat on my head. I took a deep breath before leaving my room for my first class of the day.
This would be the first time I have voted, and doing so during such a historic election meant everything to me. As the memes put it, “This will either be our first female president or our last president.” As anyone who saw my hat might have guessed, I felt strongly about who should be the next president, and it was hard not to think that the world would essentially end if the other candidate won. And, I felt – or at least hoped – the majority of the country agreed with me.
I come from Chappaqua, New York, a town known for being mostly Jewish, having great public schools and being the home to the Clintons (with the nearby town of Mount Kisco being the home of Sandra Lee and Governor Andrew Cuomo). Chappaqua is not known for much else. Still, living in the same area as the Clintons has an effect on the town: it is extremely democratic. While it is not as liberal as Bryn Mawr, I still grew up with democrats comprising the majority of my classmates.
After my first class of the day, I nearly ran from Park to Pembroke Arch, my heart fluttering at the thought of finally having a say in what happens in this country – and even more of a say than I would if I had voted using an absentee ballot from one of the most democratic areas in New York. I waited in line for the shuttle graciously provided by Bryn Mawr College, internally squirming with impatience. When the shuttle finally pulled up at the church where people were voting, I barely spared a glance at the free hot chocolate and cookies being provided by NextGen Climate.
I tore inside and was greeted by two sides of the room – one with a sizable but not unmanageable line and the other with no line. You can guess which one I was told to join. I waited, again trying not to squirm, before noticing that Pennsylvania was voting on whether to make Supreme Court Judges retire at 75. With an internal sigh of relief, I started looking into what exactly that meant in order to take my mind off the line in front of me.
Finally, I reached the front of the line and, in short order, signed in, was directed to a voting booth and voted in my first election. I grinned as I exited the voting booth, receiving my “I’ve voted” sticker – which has now been placed on a flashcard with the date and my main vote on it for posterity. I returned to wait for the shuttle, grabbing a cookie from NextGen, and smiled as the butterflies in my stomach settled a little. Now, all I had to do was get through lunch, one class, and picking up some food from Acme for the BMC Democrats’ election watch party. Everything would be fine.
Until, at 9 p.m., staring at the screen in front of me, fighting the tears that threatened to spill from my eyes, everything wasn’t.