Driving home from my Tai Chi class tonight, my election-obsessed brain caused my fingers to choose the MSNBC button on my car's satellite radio rather than the Chill or Classic Vinyl music stations that ordinarily attract me.
I heard President Obama's voice.
He was speaking at one of Hillary Clinton's final campaign events, a 40,000 person rally in Philadelphia. Obama was inspiring. Obama strongly urged people to get out and vote tomorrow. Naturally, for Clinton.
Then Clinton took the stage. You can hear part of what she said in the video below.
What moved me was how positive she was, how competent-sounding she was, how uplifting she was. The title of a New York Times story about the last full day of campaigning put it nicely: "Optimism From Hillary Clinton and Darkness From Donald Trump at Campaign's End."
The contrasts between the candidates and their messages were on vivid display in the campaign’s last full day.
As she embarked on a four-state tour, Mrs. Clinton gave a sunny and optimistic summation of her candidacy for the White House.
“Tomorrow, you can vote for a hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America,” she told a crowd in Pittsburgh.
Mr. Trump, who campaigned in five states on Monday, took a harsher approach, assailing the “crooked media,” attacking a “corrupt Washington establishment” and mocking Mrs. Clinton over and over.
“It’s a rigged, rigged system,” he declared in Raleigh, N.C. “And now it’s up to the American people to deliver the justice that we deserve at the ballot box tomorrow.”
It's difficult, really difficult, for me to understand why anyone would vote for Trump.
Trump is spectacularly unqualified to be president. He lies constantly, and with relish (hugely more than Clinton). He is uninformed, emotionally unstable, a habitual insulter, and virtually devoid of substantive policies that have a chance of fulfilling his pledge to "make America great again."
By contrast, as you can hear in the video below Clinton speaks of building bridges, not walls; of being stronger together; of how love trumps hate. Sure, Clinton has her acerbic side. All politicians do. But she is far and away the better person in the 2016 presidential race -- more moral, caring, intelligent, committed, and wise.
Also, a woman.
It's been strange how her female'ness has been downplayed in this election. In 2008, there was tons of talk about how amazing it was that Barack Obama would be this country's first black president. However, there's been much less explicit attention paid to an equally amazing fact: tomorrow, most likely, Hillary Clinton will become our first female president.
Maybe this is because women have come so far, compared to where they used to be.
I'm a man.
So I readily admit that I can't fully appreciate the meaning of feminism, equal rights, breaking the glass ceiling. Yet neither can most Americans, because they have grown up in a time when women have enjoyed many more opportunities than in, say, the semi-dark ages I grew up in: the 1950s and 1960s.
In my high school, girls couldn't wear pants. They took Home Economics. My highly intelligent mother, born in 1912, never graduated from college, even though her Massachusetts senior class yearbook says she was "College Preparatory for Wellesley."
Her brother became a businessman. My mother and her sisters all got married at a young age. They didn't have careers. After she got divorced and raised me by herself, my mother got a job as postmaster (postmistress?) of a tiny branch office in Three Rivers, California.
I'm pretty sure that of all my elementary school classmates, I had the only mother who worked. At a job that was far below her capabilities. But that was the way things were back then. And the odds were still stacked against women when my daughter was born in 1972.
Below the Clinton video, I'll share a You Tube clip of a 1974 "Free to Be... You and Me" special. I heard Marlo Thomas' record played over and over by my daughter when she was a bit older. It was filled with positive feel-good feminism.
These sentiments in the song will seem damn obvious to girls and women today. Believe me, they weren't as recently as the 1970s.
I see a land bright and clear, and the time's comin' near
When we'll live in this land, you and me, hand in hand
Take my hand, come along, lend your voice to my song
Come along, take my hand, sing a song
For a land where the river runs free
For a land through the green country
For a land to a shining sea
For a land where the horses run free
And you and me are free to be you and me
Every boy in this land grows to be his own man
In this land, every girl grows to be her own woman
At the risk of sounding like an old geezer who can't stop talking about the way things used to be, I'll do just that.
Young'uns, there was a time not long ago when it was freaking impossible to imagine a woman becoming president. Yes, I realize this sounds crazy, but it's true. Heck, like I said, it was difficult to imagine a woman being a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Or for women my mother's age, even being able to work at a job society reserved for men.
So when Clinton is elected president tomorrow (or so I hope and expect), this is going to mean different things to different people in this country.
I just wish that almost everyone could agree that the woman speaking in the New York Times video below is eminently qualified to be president, and it will be a wonderful thing to have a woman lead our country.