That first night, I cried. I walked home from a friends with the remains of a homemade #imwithher cake in hand, finding it hard to breath. I saw people across the street, walking the other way, equally distraught. In the distance, there was a loud bang – even in my safe Portland bubble I quickened my steps to get home.
I feel you in my belly, and wonder if you feel the ache coming through me, the fear I feel at bringing you into a world slipping, plunging back through time. Not so long ago, our kind, you and me, we were nothing more and nothing less than our vaginas, and even those didn’t really belong to us.
You will be born during the presidency of a man who bragged about “grabbing pussy” and getting away with it due to his fame. We may not ever know all of the truth about him, but we know. We know that to him women are still just meant for his objectification, his disposal, and we know that enough other people were able to dismiss and justify this as they made their choice. We know that the effect of reversals of justice this widespread and downplayed cannot be measured.
You will be born into a world where this is normal. Where a racist, misogynistic celebrity is chosen as President over a qualified woman. We will contort ourselves every way we can to show you that this doesn’t have to be true, but it will be what you came into. We watched it happen, allowed it to happen. But you, you will inherit it. And we cannot un-inherit it for you.
You will, mercifully, probably not be old enough to remember this first president of your life. But you wont have a choice other than to live in the aftermath of what we lost this election. And you’ll hear the stories.
You, my daughter, will wonder why the world looks different than I tell you it should be. We will talk of love, of inclusion, of opportunity for all, but you will hear the hateful language, see the closing borders, watch the isolation of those who appear different, who are smaller in numbers. You will ask me how these can all exist together, and I will not know what answer to give.
And one day, you will ask me squarely how, if women really are more than 50% of the population, and at least some men didn’t vote for Him, how did we let this happen? I will cobble together an answer for you, about a polarizing and blinding campaign, about voter suppression and how it disproportionately affects minorities, about the confounding Electoral College. But the truth is, I do not know. I do not know how we let this happen.
I wanted you to be born into a world where the rules are the same for you as they are for the boys, for the muslims, for the gays and the kid with glasses and the refugees. I wanted to hold Her up as a symbol of that world for you, a promise of a gentle new future.
But the rules don’t change overnight, and female president or no, there was still a lot of work to do.
I wanted to just give you this new world, my daughter, but of course that is not how it works. You will have to help us build it.
We will not be afraid – and we will fight harder than ever to regain this lost ground and all the ground still to be gained. Because even though I will not be able to explain how the man who was president when you were born came to be such, I believe that you will see better times too. Better times you will have had a hand in creating.
I’m just sorry that your life will begin during a time that will cause so many pain and fear. And I hope to be part of showing you that how we fight injustice and inequality is by standing up not just for ourselves, but for those who are afraid and whose voices will not be heard.
Welcome, my daughter. The world will always need us to fight – we are the feelers, the seers, and also the fighters. We are strong. They cannot do it without us.
We cannot do it without you.