I cried over politics last week for the first time since Kavanaugh. It’s not that I was a full fledged Warren stan— I follow too many Native American voices to not have concerns. It’s not even that my first-through-sixth choices for the Democratic nomination are now all out of the race, and I’m going to have to vote in my state’s primary for someone who I’ve spent six months saying, “Come on, early states, please don’t make me vote for _________.”
I think it’s greatly that, for those of us who identify with Hermione Granger, Warren’s loss feels all too familiar. We’re used to being the smartest, the most prepared and putting the most effort in, being personable and taking everyone’s needs into account… and still being overlooked or rejected. I could list a dozen times it’s happened to me, and I see my Hermione-ish ten-year-old self starting to battle it.
Sometimes it feels like the most outlandish fantasy Rowling came up with is Hermione becoming Minister of Magic.
I’m not overwhelmed with angst in the same way I was in November 2016. Neither a Biden nor Sanders presidency inspires existential dread in me, and I’m hopeful about down ballot races. In 2016 all I could read were think pieces and poetry. This week I’ve gone looking for the balm of fiction about extremely competent women who get the job done and are appreciated for it. I need to read someone else’s imagining of that kind of world so I can hope for it again. So I can teach my daughters to expect it.
When it became apparent last Tuesday night that I was going to have to vote for a man born during World War II, I turned off my phone and went looking for I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You, the first book in Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series.
All Carter’s books star smart teenage girl action heroes— in this case, a whole girls’ school worth of genius spies in training: Peggy Carter types who know their value. Like the Princess Diaries books, this series starts out at the younger end of YA and gets more intense as the characters age, which means you can whip through the first book in an evening or two, with no plot-related stress.
After I fill out my ballot this weekend, I’m sitting down with the third book in Ellen Emerson White’s The President’s Daughter series. It’s my first time through these books, but I’m loving seeing how Meg Powers, first daughter, develops and uses her intelligence, kindness and bravery. And her mom, the fictional first female president, is beautifully developed— a woman who knows the cost of her choices, but refuses to back down from doing the job she’s the best person for.
It’s also time for me to pick a new bedtime read-aloud for my daughters, and I was planning to grab Betsy-Tacy. I think I might need a round of A Wrinkle in Time instead, though. It’s the kind of week where I need Mrs. Whatsit to give me her love and tell me to stay angry.
And next week? Next week, I pick a local candidate to work for until November. I keep teaching my girls to love others, give their all and persist. And hopefully I’ll be ready to read some non-fiction again. Probably with breaks for watching reruns of Leslie Knope, though.
This post was written by Bea, an inland Northwest mom, educator, Hufflepuff and church lady. She loves to reread novels, plan trips, talk foreign policy and make pickles. She doesn’t watch The Bachelor, but won The Cool Table’s BachBracket by almost 200 points! You can find her on Twitter @BeaDeeH.