A Defining Election for Women, Or Why I Voted Democrat

I voted for Obama-Biden

Up until four years ago, I was a registered Republican. During the last presidential election, things changed and during this election I had no doubt in my mind that being a Democrat was important to me. I admit, I was a little intimidated to ‘come out’ as liberal to a Republican family. I’d become more outspoken about politics, especially on social issues like gay marriage and contraceptives access (and women’s sexual freedom), which was the deciding factor for my support for Obama then and has continued to draw me to him. No other candidate has shown they care for women’s rights or gay rights like Obama has. Sure, I was really openly cheering for Hillary Clinton way back when she was running. She’s a (well-qualified) woman. She’s smart and she works hard. She fucking kicks ass. She also was recently in the news for talking about not being paralyzed in life by unhappiness with your own choices. It’s up for debate whether Clinton meant these comments in response to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s piece in The Atlantic, Why Women Still Can’t Have it All (a piece I didn’t entirely agree with, but to some degree I find myself concerned whether my professional life will suffer when I try to balance raising children), but many people construed them as such.

Says Clinton,

“I can’t stand whining,” Clinton said. “I can’t stand the kind of paralysis that some people fall into because they’re not happy with the choices they’ve made. You live in a time when there are endless choices. … Money certainly helps, and having that kind of financial privilege goes a long way, but you don’t even have to have money for it. But you have to work on yourself. … Do something!”

“Some women are not comfortable working at the pace and intensity you have to work at in these jobs. … Other women don’t break a sweat,” she said. “They have four or five, six kids. They’re highly organized, they have very supportive networks.”

I’m absolutely sympathetic to moms–whether they are stay-at-home or working moms. I don’t see a need for a mommy war over whether one woman is a better mother or not. I’d like to think that women are individuals and as such, can choose whether they want to pursue a career or, in many cases, women choose to stay home with their children because it saves their family money. These stay-at-home moms often sacrifice their dreams for their children and husbands. Either way, motherhood is a challenge.

There are women like me who are not mothers, though, and even then, balancing work-life-school-career-passion is difficult. I’m in a position where writing and blogging is becoming increasingly more difficult because I work in a fast paced career which drains me during the week. I like to come home and unwind and my creative energy is zapped. I feel so guilty that I don’t have time to respond to emails or to work on edits, and to be honest I definitely don’t feel as creative as I did several months ago. I hope this is a phase but in some careers you have to work hard and improve your skills constantly in order to move within the company–or in many cases, to stay within the company. It’s highly competitive.

I’m grateful to have a job. Just a year ago today, I had been unemployed for about three and a half months. It was mid-October and November when I lost all hope for my situation improving. Despite my education and my smart approach to my job search, I wasn’t having any luck.

According to Google, the unemployment rate in September was 7.8% and has been declining in the past few years.

Snapshot from www.google.com/publicdata

It makes sense, as I’ve started seeing companies bounce back in recent months. So, despite some claims that Obama doesn’t know anything about the economy and hasn’t ‘created jobs’ I’d say that that’s just political rhetoric. Things are looking good.

My main concern in this election, though, was women’s rights. It seemed that contraceptives were being demonized in epic proportions and unmarried women who have sex were about to be in for a rude awakening if Republicans had their way. Every other week it seemed Republicans were bringing fundamentalist Jesus into politics and declaring a holy war on anything a woman wanted to do with her reproductive organs–but especially if women wanted to postpone pregnancy or (shock!) NOT have children. I got so concerned that I even started writing political blogs about it all here and here. When someone like Rick Santorum started making headway, I couldn’t help but get very involved. He reminded me so much of pastors I’d once worked for and I definitely didn’t want someone that extreme being in the White House. Politics began to matter to me much more during this election. Religious ‘freedom’ versus reproductive freedom began battling it out, and as a woman I had no choice but to side with the Democrats. Although I see Mitt Romney as a bit more moderate than someone like Santorum, he’s stated that he’ll defund Planned Parenthood. WHO DOES THAT?! The only people who are interested in defunding Planned Parenthood are extremists who are blinded by their bias to the point that they become radically enslaved to their pseudo-facts. In 2006, as a student, Planned Parenthood was somewhere I could visit to get yearly exams. During the next few years, when I was uninsured, I went back for my checkups. I don’t feel the need to disclose my private health issues or concerns and what really angers me is that the Republican extremists have made it so that women have to defend their doctors (in my case, Planned Parenthood physicians) and plea our case by appealing to voters using our personal health issues as credibility. It’s none of anyone’s business what goes on in my vagina and I shouldn’t have to say, “Oh, they saved me from having cancer,” just so someone doesn’t defund them. This vagina obsession has gotten out of control. For those voters, like many people I’m related to, who think women who visit Planned Parenthood are ‘immoral’ and no one should ‘have to pay for their slutty ways’, I am bewildered how narrow-minded you are. When you say those things you are defining your feelings about a woman like ME. Women like me use contraceptives. Women like me have sex for pleasure. Women like me are sometimes uninsured. Women like me are educated and hard workers. We don’t ask for ‘hand-outs’ but we sometimes need a helping hand. But even if we DID need a ‘hand-out’, what’s so wrong with helping a fellow citizen, regardless of their race, social class, financial standing, education status, sexual activity or….GENDER?

I hope you’ll vote on election day, November 6th and I hope you’ll stand with me to defend women’s rights and keep women in the 21st century. Don’t send us back to the ’50’s. Vote OBAMA-BIDEN.