I have never been one to talk about politics, or my political views. I have always expressed my opinion when asked, but have rarely, if ever, shared it publicly.
It has felt too risky. Too risky for my friendships. Too risky for my relationships. Too risky for my business. I debated a particular issue with friends a few years ago, and frankly, I still get a bit shaken up when I think about that discussion.
And yes, that also means I have never put up a lawn sign, slapped on a bumper sticker, or otherwise demonstrated my support for a presidential candidate.
You can tell me that my choices in the past were cowardly. But I made my choice, in part, because I have also always believed that we have the right to choose the person or policy that we believe will be right for our families, our businesses, and our country. That’s not to say I don’t have a right to tell you what I believe, but I have never felt the need to make our choices public (unless you count the Mitt Romney Christmas Card my husband displayed in our foyer, having regularly donated to his campaign).
But this year is different. For the first time in my life I have bought, and worn, a campaign button in public. I have updated my Facebook images to reflect my support. Shared articles and videos. And purchased a t-shirt I plan on wearing with my pantsuit when I vote tomorrow.
Because I’m worried. Anxious. Nervous. And a bit nauseous at the idea that Hillary Clinton may not win this week’s presidential election.
There are so many reasons to be worried. So many reasons to be concerned that one of the candidates in this election does not have the temperament, the self-restraint, the experience or the intelligence to be president.
But my privilege lets me focus on one issue in particular – Donald Trump’s treatment of women. Throughout this election, Trump’s words and behavior have reflected the very worst of what women have had to deal with since, well, since forever. Sexual harassment. Body shaming. Insults. Name calling. Cruelty. Dismissal. Diminishment.
Even if he loses, significant damage has been done. For many, including myself, it has opened old wounds. Refreshed old insults. Re-closed old doors.
For others, including people I am connected to directly or indirectly, it appears to validate the way he speaks of, and treats women as normal and acceptable.
Which, in case there was any question, it is not.
My husband and I are working hard to ensure our girl has the chance to be a strong, smart, confident and capable woman. We are also working hard to raise a boy who will appreciate, support, debate, compete and partner with strong women without feeling the need to diminish or insult.
If this election has helped with one thing, it is showing the world, including our children, that the experiences women share are real and current. We have been provided real-life examples and opportunities to teach that boys will not be boys. Locker room talk is not a thing. Grabbing someone by the pussy is assault. And using descriptors such as bitch and cunt is not acceptable.
I have to believe we are better than this. I have to believe that even if he wins, our country will overcome, and understand that something went terrible wrong. But right now, I am worried. Because validating Trump’s treatment of women feels like a huge step backwards.
And it certainly does not make America great.