No politician is ever going to be progressive enough for me. I trust art, culture, and plain old human connection to take us toward justice in ways that politics can’t, but as anyone who has been anywhere near me lately knows, I’m fired up all the way to my bones about this election. Here’s why:
1. I’ve been geeking out on women’s history lately, and I’ve come to understand how recently it was that we came to have any power over our lives at all. For most of human history, our fates have been dictated by men, whether by force or by social norms. In fact, only a privileged few of us have autonomy now. As much as I do love men, I am tired of them deciding most of the things. This is a powerful chance to turn the tide.
2. I want my nieces and nephews to come of age in a society that values women’s (and therefore everyone’s) health and allows them to choose when, how and if they decided to have families. Those rights and values are under attack, and I need somebody fierce defending them.
3. I also want my nieces and nephews and the kids I take care of on a daily basis to grow up in a time that preserves the GLBTQ+ progress that we’ve made so far and continues to dismantle traditional narrow gender roles. I am very, very lucky to have had the support, acceptance, and choices I’ve been blessed with, but not everyone is that lucky, and those that aren’t need your support and protection so that more people can feel free to walk around being themselves.
4. The first vote I cast was for the first Clinton presidency, and though he did make unforgivable choices, it was a time of happiness, prosperity, and progress. Even though some of their efforts got bogged down in messes like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the groundwork was laid for a lot of the progress we’ve seen in the last eight years.
5. I’ve been reading Hillary’s memoir Hard Choices and learning the details of what a Secretary of State actually does. Though I may disagree with some of her choices, (and I’m not usually great with moral ambiguity) the complexities, challenges, and prejudice that she has faced down and overcome make her an absolute hero to me.
6. Every time I post about Hillary or about politics at all, I get a pang of shame, a socially ingrained message that as a woman, I don’t have a right to weigh in, that I’m not entitled to a say in the matter. That’s because, for all of the strides we’ve made, women are still not considered to be entire people, still taught to feel bad for asserting ourselves, for speaking up. If I’m still fighting that shame, then surely less brazen women must be as well. We need visibility and we need a voice, the ultimate voice, to speak up for us and with us.
7. Donald Trump’s success proves what many of us have been saying for as long as I can remember: Misogyny is powerful. It appeals to the basest instincts of the men and women who have been cowed and trained by rape culture to pile on, name-call, gaslight and discredit anyone who dares to speak up against it. Though it’s only a tiny fraction of what Hillary has endured, I’ve confronted the depths of sexism in both my personal and professional adventures, and I am just done accepting it. This is a good place to take a stand, and I’ll do as much work as I can to make sure that stand brings me to the National Mall for Inauguration Day.