Emma wasn’t going to remember it, of course. She was only six months old when Hillary took the stage to accept the nomination for President of the United States of America. But Kenny took the photo because he wanted evidence that Emma had witnessed, albeit on TV, that historic moment when a woman took the next step on her path to becoming the leader of the most powerful country on the planet. It meant something to us and, one day, Emma will see that it meant something to her, too.
When she’s old enough to understand, I will tell her how I queued for hours to meet Hillary, why she laughed at the T-Shirt I’d worn, and how she signed the hardback book that stood with the Dr. Seuss and Paddington Bear stories on her bookshelf.
I’d lived in Washington DC long enough to witness Barack Obama being sworn into the presidency twice, both times from the cold and crowded National Mall. The collective elation was incredible to experience. I considered myself beyond lucky, beyond grateful, that I would be able to share that experience for a third time, and this time with my little girl.
But Election Day came and went and the world was left with Donald Trump. I genuinely grieved for Emma. The country had chosen, albeit through a fluke of the Electoral College system rather than popular vote, a reality TV star who, during his campaign, had publicly disrespected practically everyone — rather than a woman who had been a public servant most of her life and was by far the most qualified candidate in history for the job. I felt robbed. I felt personally cheated. I felt something had been stolen from my little girl. And if I felt like that as a British guy with a kid who’s too young to talk, God knows how it must have felt for American parents of impressionable young daughters. I just didn’t understand.
I still don’t.
I doubt I ever will.
Still with her.