I'm Proud Of My Dad This Election & Not Just Because He Voted For Hillary Clinton

WOODWARD, IA - NOVEMBER 08: Iowa voters head to polling locations in expected record numbers on November 8, 2016 in Woodward, Iowa. Americans today will choose between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as they go to the polls to vote for the next president of the United States. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
Source: Steve Pope/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The election results suck. Completely. But this election, I'm really proud of my dad. He's great — and you probably think your dad is too, I know — but hear me out. My father is a white, rural, working-class Iowan who lives in a small town of 7,370 people. You know, all those red counties in the state that cover the map from east to west and north to south? There's 93 of them this year, and he's smack dab in the middle of one. And he voted for Hillary Clinton. 

That alone would be reason enough, but he represents the change I thought we would see this election season. You see, 2016 is not the first time my dad — or I — have had the chance to support (if not technically vote) for Clinton. As you know, she ran in 2008, and I was home from college for winter break and planned to go caucus to help decide who would be the Democratic candidate. The First In The Nation, and all the excitement that comes with that. It was my first presidential election year after turning 18. It was exciting.

One thing was clear: I would not be voting for Clinton. Not because she wasn't the most qualified opponent or she wasn't liberal enough, and not because I was all in for "Hope and Change." That was never it. At the time I was pretty focused on marriage equality, and I much preferred her practical, "civil unions are achievable," to both John Edwards' and Barack Obama's use of Christianity as an excuse. Rather, the reason I didn't support Clinton was what the people around me said — including my dad.

The men around me — and some women too, my neighbor was a big fan of Edwards — did not like Clinton. None of it really made sense to me at the time, but it was something that I saw as a fact. I didn't think about the decades of sexist, misogynistic media coverage and Republican lies that Americans had been fed about her. The invented scandals and attacks on her were not something I questioned. They were just a fact of life. She was disliked, and I wanted to win. Plain and simple. So I caucused for Obama. My dad, I think, for Biden.

If only more Iowans were like him, wondering how on earth anybody could vote for this guy, we might have shattered a glass ceiling last night.

Fast forward eight years — or really six, that's how early campaigning begins in Iowa — and I thought that was no longer the case. Clinton was no longer ludicrously hated. My dad was telling me (unprompted) how impressed he was with her work as Secretary of State. She served the country well, was extremely prepared for the job, and would make a fine president. I agreed. My fellow millennials may never forgive me, but I supported Clinton this year, and so did my dad. He caucused for her back in January over Bernie Sanders, and he voted for her on Nov. 8.

I was hoping he was indicative of the average rural, white, working-class Iowa voter. It seemed like eight years under President Obama, marriage equality in the state since nearly as long, and not to mention the extremely offensive campaign of Donald Trump had convinced people like my dad to support the country's first female president. I was wrong. Iowa supported Trump by a margin of nearly 10 percentage points.

[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/josephdlyons/status/796274845948452864]

[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/josephdlyons/status/796274907441229824]

But I'm still proud of my dad. Unlike a majority in our small town posting their Trump yard signs, and wearing "Make America Great Again" hats, he supported tolerance and equality. These last eight years, he reflected on his views, on his feelings for Clinton, and on the influence that her gender might have had on them. In the end, he was with her. And while that doesn't save us from four years of Trump in the White House, it is a small comfort for me. Even more so was his text at 2:48 a.m.: "Right now I'm ashamed to be an American." 

If only more Iowans were like him, wondering how on earth anybody could vote for this guy, we might have shattered a glass ceiling last night.

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