A New Jerseyan
I must start with a confession. I didn’t vote in 2012. It wasn’t for a lack of care, or interest. At the time, it didn’t seem to be important. I was a college student, who was born into a middle class white family. My dad owns his own business and my mom is a school teacher. I grew up in a very diverse town in New Jersey, where acceptance was bred into me from kindergarten on. Obama was a sure win in my mind. He was overly qualified, and had already been president for the past 4 years. So, I skipped. I didn’t go out, didn’t hit the polls, and I don’t regret it.
Fast forward to 2015, I had graduated college, entered the work force. I was also splitting my time working at Starbucks because, well, they had dental and vision insurance for part time employees, and I like coffee. I remember the day Hilary announced she was running for President, and confession: I cried. As a woman who was taught to support herself, to not put restrictions on the things she would be able to accomplish, and to demand she be paid just as much as a man, this was huge. Call me a feminist, but I worked just as hard to get my computer science degree as the kid who sat next me, and I paid just as much too. Hilary, for me, was the final straw in a fight many women before me had fought. Hilary, from the beginning, was my candidate.
Obamacare changed my life. As a post grad who emancipated herself, my ability to afford health insurance was dwindling. Before I got a full-time position, Starbucks paychecks were going towards my rent and food, my (very) little extra cash was going towards buying myself a car. My monthly birth control would have been the first thing to go had I not been getting it for free (THANK YOU, OBAMA). I couldn’t imagine what would happen if we elected our Republican nominee. His running mate has made statements of overturning Roe V. Wade. My post grad self is turning over thinking about the $100 a month that will now have to be allocated to my desire to not bring a human into this world just yet. It would also now completely be my responsibility to make sure I don’t make any mistakes in the process, because my safety net might be gone.
Call me naïve, but I thought all women in American would have been on my side. Our mothers and grandmothers fought to have the rights to their body, and who better to represent and support us than one of our own? Waking up the morning after the election and finding out that not only did my worst nightmare come true, but that an overwhelming majority of women had actually gone to the polls and voted for their rights to be taken away, I was astounded.
I don’t disagree that Hilary has her flaws, but when faced between letting someone who can’t even fathom the need for a daily birth control pill, or scraping the extra cash they have for something to eat, and having a president who sent a few emails that got hacked, the line was pretty clear for me. And I guess I was wrong to think it was clear for everyone else.
So, fine, he won. I’m not out protesting and chanting in front of his million dollar buildings. I’m home, sitting on my bed, trying to figure out where we went wrong. Why hate won this time. Why I am not allowed to own my body like my brother can own his. Why my non-white friends have to post stories on Facebook about being yelled at in public places, or being beat up on their walks home. I’m trying to figure out why a woman is such a horrible option for a president, over someone who’s only in the race to say that he won. And I plan to fight. I plan to keep voting until my daughter doesn’t have to question the rights and abilities of the people she loves. And until her president is a representation of her.