This week, my editor at mom.me asked if I could come up with a list of reasons why women—mothers specifically—might WANT to be involved in this election's proceedings. In response to posts on Trump, Bernie and Hillary, there have been comments on the mom.me Facebook page, saying, "NO POLITICS! STICK TO PARENTING!" Which, OK, cool. I get that there is a time and a place for politics but, also, really? Are we that short-sighted? Do we not see that VOTING and ELECTING a government that RECOGNIZES our needs as women and mothers is INTEGRAL in our experience in raising our children?
No offense to those who would rather NOT DEAL but SHIT IS GOING DOWN, you guys. It always has and it always will and that is ALSO important to recognize because YES, WE ALL HAVE A SHITLOAD OF SHIT on our plates. And some of that shit? Is awesome, beautiful, INCREDIBLE shit. And some of it is just shitty.
However, there is a world outside our homes and neighborhoods, and I believe that as parents it is our moral obligation to stay informed, to have an opinion and to converse intelligently about all the things.
Also, I hate the idea that "PARENTING" and "POLITICS" are to be washed in separate cycles, as to not bleed all over one another. Because, here's the thing: They should. They should bleed all over one another.
And, yes, this site is called mom.me, not Rockthe.V, however, the idea that as mothers we have too much to worry about at home to think about what is going on outside our front door(s) is ludicrous and frankly, contrary to what it means to raise a child.
As citizens of this country and parents to future citizens of this country, engaging in respectful debate, listening to other points of view, paying attention to what is happening in the world are crucial to building a better one.
And if you're still not convinced, here are 7 reasons why you should care about this (and ALL) elections.
1. Because women—our own grandmothers, even—fought for us to vote. Died for us to vote. Continue to fight and die so that women—and mothers—can vote.
My grandmother's grandmother was a suffragette and I always think of her during election season. I think of all of the women around the world who have fought and continue to fight so that women have the right to vote, let alone run for political office.
(To see where the candidates stand on reproductive rights, go here.)
3. Because our daughters are watching us.
Whether you're a fan of Hillary Clinton or not, she is still a woman who is running for president and THAT is something I never got the chance to witness as a child. That is something my mother did not get to witness as a child. Neither did her mother or her mother's mother or her mother's mother's mother. And say what you will but THAT MATTERS.
4. And so are our sons.
Whether you're a fan of Hillary Clinton or not, she is still a woman who is running for president and THAT is something my husband never got the chance to witness as a child. Neither did his father or his father's father. Or his father's father's father's father's father. And say what you will but THAT MATTERS.
Chris Tognotti writes: "There are a lot of people out there who'll try to make you feel bad if you're primarily excited that a woman might win the presidency. They'll try to argue that gender shouldn't be a consideration, that it should be strictly about the issues, and that really, to even consider that makes you the real sexist."
Tognotti goes on to say: "When you've got a country that's the world's foremost global superpower, and fancies itself an exemplar of moral, freedoms and human rights, and it still can't manage to elect a single woman in more than 300 years, that's not some sort of accident. It's precisely the affect of prioritizing male intellect, authority and leadership for centuries, stifling the advancement of women into politics across the board, and making those that succeed an exception to the rule ..."
5. Because you can't raise a future president without participating in the election of one.
Elections empower regular people to exercise our rights, advocate change and participate in progress. Elections push us to be more decisive (You can only vote for one! Sorry, Hillabern Clinders!) and challenge us to speak up. My son recently ran for student body president and I think a lot of the reason he wanted to participate in school politics is that he feels especially passionate about homework totally sucking and I told him to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, THEN. BE PROACTIVE IN TRYING TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM. Because, yes, complaining about it, I totally get. But also? I don't want to hear any of it unless you are actively working toward some kind of change. Same goes for adults who love to talk about what a mess we're in but do nothing to work toward a solution.
I have zero tolerance for complacency and believe it is so important to model active behavior to all children. Passivity is for the birds.
By not voting, we are sending the message that we don't care. That it's OK to be PISSED OFF at everything and DO NOTHING TO MAKE CHANGE. And that sets a dangerously passive precedent.