I know a lot of my friends, on all sides of the political spectrum, are feeling cynical and deflated that after all this hype, we have elected what is, more or less, four more years of the same. The same President, the same parties controlling the House and Senate, what was this all for? And I hear that, and it does seem like this election cycle could be seen as a huge waste of time.
However--with this particular election, in this particular political climate, the status quo is my beacon of light. Nothing changed--and for that, a suffocating fear that had been gripping my heart over the previous 48 hours evaporated.
I know so many Americans are probably feeling the opposite, a sense of dread as they worry about their future. Will their mortgage ever get out from being underwater? Will they find a job? Will they lose their job? How are they ever going to pay for college? I understand these fears, I have them myself. I do, however, know that both parties want America to be better again. No one likes our struggling economy, everyone wants to get up and out, and I honestly don't think either party knows how to fix it.
But while I, too, am nervous about my economic future, what I am NOT is worried about my status as an equal in this nation as a woman, or the status of the LGBTQ identified Americans for whom I am an ally.
This current incarnation of the Republican party scares me to death. If I woke up today to an incoming Republican President and a Republican controlled Senate, I would have panicked. I would have panicked that my rights as a woman would be stripped away one legislative repeal at a time. I would've panicked that Roe v. Wade would be overturned, and that any choice I had regarding pregnancy would be taken from me. Would I be forced to carry a non-viable fetus to term, with abortions outlawed? I would've panicked that my access to birth control would be taken away, making actually planning a family when Alex and I are financially stable a crap shoot. I would've panicked that, once the Affordable Heath Care Act was repealed, that my asthma, ever worsening scoliosis, and multitude of allergies would disqualify me for the very medical treatment I need when prospective providers reject my preexisting conditions.
I would've panicked that my gay friends, who have just barely begun to taste the security and privilege of the protections of legal marriage, would lose it all in one shattering swoop. I would've panicked that transgender Americans, still so marginalized and finally getting noticed by our government as people in need of protection, would be cast back into the dark and dangerous world of non-recognition and bigotry.
What the Republican party was campaigning on this year was a total stripping away of basic human rights and decency, and that scared me to death. So yes, we have four more years of the same, but it is four more years of tolerance and progression to an equal, kind, and egalitarian nation.