[Melanie Reim & Veronica Lawlor] On Election Day in the USA, urban sketchers Melanie Reim and Veronica (Ronnie) Lawlor decided to document together at the Javits Center, NYC, where Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton planned an election night event for her supporters. Here is their conversational account of the day, and some of their drawings:
Ronnie, the thrill that I experienced at the voting booth as I ticked off Hillary's name for President yesterday came as a bit of a surprise for me. I was completely convinced that she was the right choice, but all along, her gender was not the biggest reason for my vote. But, there it was. A woman for President of the United States on the ballot. I smiled as the chill and thrill of excitement ran through me, hope soaring, and enjoyed the moment.
And I was so looking forward to our big plans for the day- on the way to the Javits Center, the proverbial glass ceiling, to reportage, where, of course, we were bound to celebrate.
I had the same reaction Melanie: the tears welling up in my eyes in the voting booth surprised me. And yes, I was so excited and full of hope when we met each other, both beaming, and made our way over to the Javits center together. That excitement did not dull when we found ourselves in the middle of a long line already, even at mid-day. (I couldn't resist drawing you in the middle of the crowd.) I felt, as we started to draw, a feeling of sisterhood - two women who grew up in a time when girls were still urged to learn to type in high school - a "just in case" skill to "fall back on" - drawing and documenting the election (we felt sure) of the first woman president of the United States.
As we all know now, it was not to be. But the hours leading up to the result were filled with anticipation, and drawings of those around us, peppered with snippets of conversation and our own observations.
I loved that we landed next to, and were witness to a small group, by chance, of young, involved voters who seemed aware of history and current events. The references that they made to their birthdates were more about identifying their place in time and the memories of what seemed to inform their support and vote on the day.
It is interesting to me that you also not only drew the man waiting on line near us - he had so much to say - but also that we both jotted down one particular thing he said: "I have been afraid of Trump for so long." This man was so sensitive, so tenuous in his glimmer of hope that the fear gnawing at the edge of his gut might subside. As we know now, that fear later grew instead. Many people who voted for Trump are not necessarily bigoted (although surely, some of them are) but I don't know if they realize on a personal level the impact that his hateful words during the campaign have had on people who had those comments directed at them.
But while we were making these drawings, we did not know what was to come. And we were thrilled when the line moved into the hangar next to the Javits Center - we were inside! And looking forward to one major celebration...as were so many other people...lots of hopeful faces to draw...
We surely covered the day- from waiting on line to vote, to waiting to get into Javits Center, to being ushered out to the "block party."
Ha ha, yes, the block party - still, had Hillary won I think even getting herded into the cheap seats would have been a thrill...
YES! I totally agree- at least that's what we thought in that moment. It was serendipitous that, when we decided to leave, and waited for a few minutes for the bus to come, a little reluctant to split up, I think- though we did not really speak of it then- that we were across from Clyde Frazier's Bar, where we decided to hunker down for the results. It turned out that the whole place was pro-Hillary, but the scene of all hope lost.
I know, the night was such it was such a roller coast of emotions. At first it looked like Hillary would get the landslide we all were hoping - maybe even expecting - would come. Early returns from Florida looked to be in her favor.
And then, one by one, all those blue states turned red for Trump. The intense emotions of everyone who supported Hillary amplified, and a sinking feeling was felt throughout the restaurant as the returns from state after state were called.
There were plenty of pantsuits, a strong sign of sisterhood. There are bound to be many moments in the coming years that are worthy of fighting for and against - and to document.
Oh yes, I agree. This little girl that I drew (below) at the Javits center is worthy of fighting for. And also, with her hopeful pride, she is the antidote to the divisiveness that's taken hold of our country. Whatever outcome anyone might have desired, Donald Trump is now the president. I hope somehow we can come together and make this thing work, for everyone's sake.
That surely is the message that our elegant President is taking.
His grace can serve as a model for us all.
Amen to that!