It’s a little after 3:30 in the afternoon when I poke my face out the back screen door. Violet is on the swings out in the yard. She’s back and forth, slow and easy, her eyes on the blue sky watching her on this early autumn day. I want to ask her if she wants some Kool-Aid, maybe a granola bar or something, but I don’t. I’m hesitant to mess with her groove. She’s 7. She’s probably unwinding her pretty little mind after a long day of second-grading.
So I don’t say a word, and she doesn't even know I’m there.
I just watch.
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I just watch my little girl, my firstborn, my oldest of three, as she swings on her swing and smiles to herself.
Would you freeze time if you ever had the chance? Would you ever lock yourself and someone you love inside of a single moment if you could?
That’s a dumb question, I guess. But right now, dude—if I could, I would.
Things I Do/ Would Do for My Daughter Even Though No One Needs Me to:
- Make her birthday cakes that end up looking like they got hit by a truck.
- Kill a mountain lion with my bare hands if it were looking at her in the woods.
- Talk to the stars. Try and convince them to shine on her even when it rains.
- Kill a man who ever hurt her bad. I know that’s wrong. I’m sorry, not sorry.
- Take her to see Santa at the mall even if I were throwing up and dying.
- Carry her upstairs when she falls asleep watching "E.T." with me on the couch.
- Make her brush her teeth. “I don’t care if it’s boring. Brush your god d*mn teeth.”
- Vote for the woman who will serve as a towering inspiration to a little girl.
- Not vote for the man who doesn’t even seem to like girls all that much—or anyone for that matter.
I, frankly, don’t care what pisses people off anymore.
Too many people operate from this self-righteous place of darkness that makes me sad for their kids.
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I’ve listened to the arguments. You can’t avoid them at this point. I don’t care about Benghazi. I really don’t. I’ve read the facts. I’ve imagined the lies. It makes no difference to me.
Know why? I’ll tell you, straight up.
I want a better life for my little girl, not for me. I’m 45 in a few weeks. I’ve seen it all. I have sucked on the tailpipe of life and I have eaten so much horsesh*t in my time. It’s the only way forward. You have to swallow tons of the foulest poison in order to truly ever process what you’re up against in this world. You need to marinate in the bull. You need to feel the worst hands on Earth wrapping their greasy fingers around your own tired guts. Only then can you understand that your beliefs are based upon something more than TV commercials and your own self-loathing.
So I have listened hard and long to all of it. To the millions saying nothing at all.
But I have not ever let my mind, the only true freedom that any of us will ever know, be corrupted or sabotaged.
And so, as a father of a little girl in America in 2016, I say this to you. To you and to you and to you and to you.
If you’re like me, and you have a little girl, and you still don’t see the galaxy-size reasons that a woman—THIS woman, right here and right now— in the White House is the most wonderful thing; if you don’t hold her and her "character" and her "experience" and her "virtues" up against those of the bombastic, condescending monger of superficial slogans and complete buffoonery and say to yourself, “You know, I think my baby girl deserves the one who doesn’t tell a breastfeeding woman that she’s gross,” then you are the kind of dude who is getting off on all the wrong thrills, man.
And your daddy devotion, I do declare, is remarkably in question.
Where are my facts? What am I basing this on? Why go out on a ridiculous writerly limb to waver in the winds of my own super-biased opinion about who dads of young daughters should vote for?
Ugh. Because I’ve had it.
I don’t need stats or polls. I squish Marlboro Lights down into your thinly veiled hate speech. Hear them hiss as they burn. That’s the real sound of freedom, man. The smell of a very bad idea being torched.
I love my daughter. I want a better world for her. I want her to see what a real qualified president looks like. And I want her to have the opportunity to watch a strong and wise woman lead our land, not some casino tycoon with a permanent snarl and an inability to stabilize his own politics beyond sideshow barker.
Ta-da! You see? Those are all the facts a man needs when so much more is at stake than immigrant walls and income taxes. I’ve known all along who my daughter deserves. And I’ve known all along who yours deserves, too.
But you. You’re missing it all. And deep down, you know it.
Watch your daughter swing on the swings. Look up at the afternoon sky. Think about what I’m saying.
Think, think, think.