Normally I am the last person to write a political blog post. Truth be told, I have no idea how to lower the unemployment rate and no clue what to do about Libya. I'm a teacher, so I care about education, but Romney and Obama have pretty similar views when it comes to more accountability for teachers and higher expectations for student achievement. These are big issues: the economy, foreign affairs, education, but these are not the things that keep me up at night.
I define myself in a lot of ways: I'm a teacher, a woman, a writer, a feminist, a wife, a pretty good friend, a chocoholic, a lover of all things Princess Bride, but what I am more than anything else is a mother of a little girl. It is thoughts of her that dominate my mind on this election eve, and not in terms of whether or not she'll be able to find a job in twenty years (though of course I hope for that), or whether or not war will have obliterated the earth by the time she's fifteen (though I pray it won't have).
What I think about most is whether or not she'll be able to live her life the way she wants to, regardless of whether or not people approve of it. I want her to live in a world where she has control over two basic things: her own body and her own family.
It really doesn't feel like I'm asking for a lot here. To me, these feel like really basic rights. They feel like things I really shouldn't have to ask for. I hope that Ella will always be healthy and smart about her body, but I also hope that she will never be forced to have a child she doesn't want to have. I hope that she will grow up in a world where a difficult situation like that wouldn't be made worse by hopelessness of having no choice, and I can't understand why people want to take that right away from her.
I also hope that by the time she's all grown up she'll be incredulous over the same-sex marriage debate. I hope it will be so far in the past that she'll laugh at how old fashioned we were and say, "Really? Even in 2012 people cared about stuff like that?" I don't know whether my daughter is gay or straight, and it honestly makes no difference to me either way. My fear is that depending on this election, and the next, and the next, and the next, she might find herself in a country even more divided than this one, that we might become less accepting instead of more accepting. Is it possible that we could really move backwards instead of forwards? I don't know, but all I can think of is a thirty-year-old version of my daughter who wonders why she isn't allowed to marry the love of her life. How could I vote for someone who doesn't want that for her?
Maybe other people don't sit around thinking about these things, maybe
you assume that your daughter will never make a stupid decision, or
maybe you think she'll grow up to be just like you and none of these
issues will matter in your life, but I don't have that kind of certainty. I have no idea whether or not Ella will share my values, share my "lifestyle," or make the same decisions I have made. What I hope is that I'm raising a daughter who will think for herself and who'll know that I support her, accept her, and love her no matter what. I can only hope that she'll grow up in a country that feels the same way.