School starts in 17 days. If you know me, you know I’m not totally happy about that. I enjoy being home with the girls all day although I do admit that this summer has tried my patience a bit. Because of the age difference between my siblings and me, sibling rivalry really wasn’t a thing. How could you compete with a 10 year old and a 4 year old when you were 16? You couldn’t and so you didn’t. But if you are 9 and your sister is 7 you can compete for everything and that has been tiring.
I hope this summer has treated you well. I’m going to talk about politics now.
Oh, you know I had to. We all have to. So many times I see women claiming that politics has no place in parenting. Ladies, stop saying that. Politics and society DOES have a bearing on how you parent and how your family lives. I know it’s exhausting and uncomfortable sometimes, but we have to talk about some of these things.
This is what I want to urge you to do. I struggle with this myself sometimes, so if you catch me going against this, you hold me accountable. When we post on the Internet sometimes we forget that a real, living, breathing person exists on the other side. The fact that we don’t have to face Betty Jo from Lancaster at Church on Sunday or at PTO on Wednesday or at the grocery store this afternoon will sometimes stop us from being as respectful as we could be. I’m not saying you shouldn’t discuss, passionately, what you believe. You should. What you shouldn’t do is call names or demean people just because they don’t agree with you. It’s so easy. I know it is, but we have to stop. We can’t. Those words drive us further apart and it takes away the meat from our arguments.
And there is always meat even if we don’t agree.
I don’t hide that I consider myself a progressive and while I’m maybe not all the way to being a socialist, I’m pretty close. I’ve been insulted, over these past few months, for saying that. It’s been flung at me like I admitted I killed kittens or smashed baby bunnies for fun. It was a surprise to me that it was thrown at me like a weapon. It’s not something I’m ashamed of or smug about. It just is. Part of who I am is wanting the best possible outcome for everyone. That means you and you and even you over there who really doesn’t have anything at all in common with me. I want you to be safe in your homes and places of employment. I want you to be able to worship whomever you want in the manner that you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone and I want you respect that others feel differently. I want you to have enough food to eat. I want you to be able to afford medicine and health care. I want your children to be educated as far as they choose to be. I want them to be able to go to college and not go into lifelong debt. I want people to be able to work at jobs they enjoy or at the very least work at a job they hate and make enough money to feed themselves and their families.
For me, those things are simple. They are, quite simply, what I hope for everyone human. If we pass in the street or if we are life long friends, I want that for you. I want you to be safe, comfortable, healthy and happy. What you look like, how you worship, who you love, what you do, how you were educated or where you came from doesn’t matter to me and I have trouble understanding how those things can matter to anyone. I do not understand not wanting human life cared for in a basic manner. And animals, too. Don’t forget them. I can understand that we disagree on WHO should do the caring and HOW. For me? I’m fine with paying taxes. Go ahead and tax me. I’m happy to pay for it. I’m happy to pay for maternity and paternity leave for everyone even though I’ll never use it again. I’m happy to pay more to insure we have good schools. I’m happy to pay more to make college affordable. I’m happy to pay more for my cheeseburger so the person who made it can afford to put food on her table. Would I rather have more money in my pocket? Sure. I like to shop and go on vacation, but when my life is over I want to know that I cared when I should have and that extra pair of shoes or extra vacation will give me less satisfaction than knowing I cared for people.
And, if there is a god and if we meet at the end of my life I want to be able to look at him and say that I had my doubts, but I still lived a good worthy life. And if that doesn’t happen, I can still go out into the ether as being someone who loved it all as much as she could.
But now I’m getting morose.
This fall, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton. Not because she was my candidate of choice and not because I think she’ll be the best president ever and not because she’s got lady bits under her pants. I think she is politics as usual, and I’m a hope and change kind of girl. But, no matter how loud people scream about e-mails and Benghazi and or whatever else the charges du jour against her are for that day, she still gets my vote. Several months ago, video surfaced of Donald Trump mocking a disabled man. It cut me to my core. Baby Bee isn’t physically disabled. But she is disabled. Diagnosed. With a disability. I don’t want to live in an America when the man who is supposed to be the greatest of us would mock my little girl. Maybe you haven’t thought about that when you thought about casting your vote for him. But I think about it. Every day. Donald Trump stands to be bad for a lot of people; LBGTQ+ people, brown people, Muslim people, war veterans. I worry about ALL those people, but I am not them. Actually, between my color and socio-economic status, I’m not going to suffer too much from a Trump presidency. But, what I am is the mother of a child with a disability and what he said and what he did isn’t okay.
My little girl has honey brown hair. My little girl sleeps with at least two raggedy stuffed animals every night. My little girl is an artist. My little girl loves spaghetti-os. My little girl has ten freckles on her nose and tries to catch fireflies by talking to them. My little girl wants to grow up to be a film maker AND an animal doctor. My little girl stands to be considered a lesser person under Donald Trump. When you tell me you’re voting for him, it’s her face I see. It’s her living in a society where it’s okay for her to be ridiculed for her challenges. Because her life isn’t challenging enough? This isn’t just me being dramatic. It’s happening. I think the best way to entice someone to vote is to make things personal for them. If you don’t have a LGBTQ+ person, brown person or Muslim person in your life who is afraid of what a Trump presidency will mean to them, then I want you to think about Baby Bee and me. I want you to read back in my archives about her. I want you to think about her, her face, her likes and dislikes and challenges and fears and then I want you to vote your conscience.