Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Freedom and Justice for Everyone (Especially if You're a Republican)
I haven't been sleeping well lately, and so last night, when my body wanted to fall asleep long before the election results were in, I didn't fight it. I woke up briefly in the middle of the night and actually went for the remote control so that I could see who won, but Matt woke up to my rustling and convinced me to go back to sleep instead. I'll be curious to ask him when he gets home from work tonight if he already knew and was just saving me from being too upset to go back to sleep.
So it wasn't until I woke up this morning and turned on PBS that I saw. And yes, I cried when I told my daughters. I told two little girls that a man whom they have heard bragging about sexually assaulting women, whom they have seen mocking a disabled man, whom they have watched call another adult a "nasty woman" during a national debate, won the US presidency over a competent politician and administrator with decades of experience who also just happens to be female.
We live in a little liberal bubble in our university town (if you'd like to know where, look for the southernmost of the three tiny blue dots in the red state of Indiana--that's us!), and until this election, my children's main association with racism, sexism, and generalized bigotry has been with our previous trips to visit family in Arkansas, and in histories and historical fiction. Until this election, they believed that misogyny was primarily something practiced in the rural south or in the past. I knew better, of course--I've lived in this country for 40 years, so of course I know better. But I let them believe that, because they're my little girls, and I keep them safe under my wings, and I give them the gift of living their young lives thinking that the world is a good and fair place.
Because of this election, however, and thanks to our new president, these little girls, and little girls all over the country, are now realizing, if they haven't had to before, that our country isn't a good and fair place for you if you're not white, and male, and heterosexual. I knew that already, and I'd been keeping it a secret from them, hoping that by the time they were adults and out from under my wings, our country would have progressed far enough that they could hear about it as yet more history.
So it happens that I'm not, as I'd hoped, raising girls who will reap the benefits of American progress as they come of age; instead, I'm raising girls who will have to join the fight for a country that actually lives the ideals of freedom and justice for all. So be it.
My post's title is taken from the lyrics of a Wally Pleasant song.