You obviously don’t know me. Nor would I expect you to know me, personally. I understand that we don’t run in the same circles, or know the same people. And I’m good with that fact. But, since you don’t know me, let me tell you a little about myself.
I’m a woman, a daughter, a sister, a mother, a grandmother…and I love each and every one of these labels. I know you also have some of these labels; one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen is the look on your face when your own daughter hugged you at the DNC. I was moved to tears. It was such a beautiful moment, simply because I could understand the sentiments in your eyes.
I completely identify as a Feminist, and one of the things I’d love to see in my lifetime is a female president. To see our country led by a female would be such a joy to me. That sentiment, alone, prompts me to give you kudos for getting as far as you’ve gotten. I can only imagine the struggles you’ve had to deal with. Not many would have the stomach to even try, let alone go so far. My hat is off to you for that.
I am a college graduate. I graduated Summa Cum Laude, with a degree in English Literature and French, from a state school in my 40s, while still taking care of my children and living my life outside of school. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. And I’m proud of that fact. I’m fairly certain, as a woman, you would find this to be quite an accomplishment, as well.
I am also a New Yorker. I’ve lived in NYS for most of my life, but not in NYC. I’ve actually only been in the City once in my life, if you can believe that. I am from upstate New York…no, not Albany. Not Buffalo….keep going north. Close, but no, not Syracuse….higher up. In that small strip of land in the northern portion of the Adirondacks, right on the Canadian border (no, no….again, not Buffalo…go north) that spot we lovingly call the North Country. We are closer to the Canadian cities of Ottawa and Montréal than to NYC, but we are still part of this Great State. Since you were our Senator from 2001-2009, you probably know how large the state of New York really is…how vast and diverse we are, and how much we have to offer. You know how gorgeous the St. Lawrence Valley is, and how kind and giving the people who live and work in the North Country truly are…how they greet you with a smile and help without a question when you need a hand. They are some of the most wonderful people in our country…but you know this, yes? Since you were our Senator. For eight years. Which means you should know at least a bit about us up here, in the Frozen Tundra. In the St. Lawrence Valley. In one of the most impoverished areas of NYS. But, wait….maybe you don’t know anything about us. It’s not like you bothered with us at all during your tenure as Senator.
St. Lawrence County, since you probably have no idea, is the largest, by area, county in NYS. In the time of your tenure, there were approximately 115,000 people living in this county, with about 27,000 families being part of that number. Based on the rather dwindling number of people in this largest county, it’s probably understandable that you never paid much attention to us way up here. I mean, we don’t have much to offer in terms of votes. But we are suffering up here. We need so much. And yet, you turned a blind eye. Never once did you bother to come here, to lend a hand or to even pretend to listen to our plight. Never mind that during your time as Senator, we were in the top 5 poorest counties in NYS. We had a 20% poverty rate, with 30% of that being children. Only about half of our population was employed and we had a 6% rate of unemployment. Many of these were families, with children. The children you purport to be fighting for in your campaign for president. Maybe you only meant children of people who aren’t poor already? Or maybe only those in areas you care about? I can definitely say our children up here weren’t that important to you, and you made that very clear every time you turned away. We pay MORE for our food and our gas…you know, those things that are kind of important…more than even in major cities. And yet, despite our pleas, you never once tried to help. We’re suffering, Madame Secretary. We were suffering when you were voted in to be our voice in Washington. Not once did you even look our way.
The thing is, I don’t think that the people here, who have lost jobs because of the loss of major industry in the area and had to work 2-3 small jobs to just make ends meet enough (and yet STILL had to apply for state aid because they just didn’t have enough to put food on the table for their children), I don’t think their suffering would matter as much, if you had only just cared, for a moment. If you had actually acknowledged that there is more to NYS than just NYC, and maybe even tried to do SOMETHING. Even if it didn’t work. Something is better than the nothing you did. You effectively pretended us away, like a small child tries to do with something it finds troublesome or distasteful. And we remember.
Tomorrow, we, as a nation, go to our polling stations to cast our votes, and to hopefully see our team win the day. While I do not belong to either of the Chosen Teams, as a woman and a feminist, I am SO excited over the prospect of having a woman finally be placed in the Oval Office. Our time is far overdue, and I cannot wait until I can vote for that woman and help make herstory.
But, you, Madame Secretary, are not the woman for that job. I, my family, my friends, my neighbors and colleagues are part of your Forgotten; the people who couldn’t help you win an office so it was easy to just cast us aside. Your willful ignorance of our plight has set my mind, as well as the minds of many others who will never forget your decision to ignore us in our need. And while my one, little vote may mean very little in this race, please know that I cannot, and will not vote for you. Because you never voted for us. And because she wasn’t for us, I’m not with her.