Yes, I am relieved I still have a job. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to come to work in the morning (and I got very little sleep last night).
But it’s true that having this little guy (or gal) jumping around in my belly has really impacted how I view yesterday’s election and the future. And I am hopeful, so hopeful. Here’s why:
-Most pundits seem to agree that women and minorities made all the difference in this election, from presidential to Senate/House to local to policy issues. Which is thrilling. We still don’t know what Burpy’s sex will be (obviously he/she won’t be an ethnic minority), but regardless I am so happy to know that this kid will come into a world where EVERYONE’s voice counts, and that therefore issues that matter to these demographics will necessarily be addressed. That’s what democracy really IS, and I’d like to think that our founding fathers, as old and white and male as they were, would be happy to see it working.
-Relatedly, there was an obvious referendum at work in some of the Senate and House races, and it was this: if you make awful, ignorant, derogatory comments about women, and their bodies, and the “legitimacy” of rape, the voters will not stand for it. I hope this is the start of a broader attitude change about women’s health issues and abortion rights. Which should really boil down to: LAY OFF, BUDDY.
-Oh man, marriage equality! Maryland, Maine, Washington! And Minnesota, kind of! I CANNOT WAIT for the moment when Burpy turns to me, rolls his/her eyes, and says to me, “Mom, was there REALLY a time when people voted against gay people getting married? Why would they CARE?” Yesterday’s results give me hope that this moment will happen. And that by the time Burpy is ready to marry, and has found someone they love with whom to spend the rest of their lives, that they will be free to get married, with all the legal rights that entails, no matter where they live.
-The DREAM act passed in Maryland. I am so happy our neighbors voted to give young immigrants access to education.
-Healthcare. With Obamacare relatively safe, I can get a breast pump and supplies through my insurance company. I can get contraception once Burpy is out. And I can be calm knowing that if some catastrophe befalls our family and we lose our current insurance, we won’t be denied new insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
-The environment. It would have been terrifying to have the party of climate change deniers in power. I would like my child to thrive on a planet that is not hurtling towards self-destruction.
I’m sure I’m missing some other things that I’m excited about, but these are the biggies. And truly, I know that the Dems are not perfect on these items either. I’m hopeful that the fact of a second term (and no more re-election campaign) means that Obama can take a stronger stance on equal pay and abortion rights for women, LGBTQ rights, the environment, and healthcare. We have a LONG way to go. But the hope I feel right now is going to help me fight to get us there. That, and a Burpy who is someday going to inherit this all from us.