I’ve been thinking a lot about my kids this election season.
Specifically, I’ve been thinking about my daughters, one of whom will be old enough to vote in the next presidential election. How will our choice for president affect them — not just now, but as they reach adulthood?
This election isn’t just about today, or this year, or even the next four years. Since Congress is still neglecting their Constitutional duty to usher in a new Supreme Court Justice, the next president will assuredly be choosing a Justice to replace Antonin Scalia. And since several of the SCOTUS appointees are close to or into their 80s — well past the average retirement age for the SCOTUS — there’s a good chance this next president will be nominating others to the court as well.
Those appointments will affect my daughters, and I want a Supreme Court that will not limit their options when they are faced with life-changing choices. I personally don’t believe in abortion, but I don’t believe in outlawing it, either. I’ve seen the stories of mothers who have had their hands tied by abortion laws be forced — or have their babies be forced — to endure unnecessary pain and suffering. I’ve read all of the statistics and come to the understanding that making abortion illegal doesn’t change abortion rates — it just makes it more dangerous. I understand that if we want to see fewer abortions, we need to make contraception universally accessible and affordable for everyone, which a right-leaning SCOTUS most certainly will not do.
As conservative as I am in my personal beliefs about abortion, I’m not so blind as to see that a more liberal-leaning Supreme Court will do more to reduce abortion rates and be more beneficial to women in general. A Trump presidency will mean a SCOTUS that places ideology over common sense and will send us backwards when we need to be moving forward.
I also think about my daughters when I look at the candidates’ family leave policies. I really don’t know what Trump is thinking, proposing six weeks of paid leave only to mothers. Not only does that plan neglect the needs of fathers and adoptive parents — along with the need of mothers to have a helping hand during the postpartum period — it also makes women less valuable in the workplace. If a company is deciding between hiring a man or a woman, who has the advantage? A woman who is going to take six weeks off every time she has a baby? Or a man, who likely won’t take much time off at all if he has kids because he’s not going to receive the paid time off?
We are living in the 21st century, when women are competitive in the workplace and men take a more active role in child-rearing. Only offering paid leave to mothers feels like a tiny step forward combined with a huge step backward. I don’t want my daughters to fight battles that we and our predecessors already fought for them. Hillary’s plan of 12 paid weeks for mothers and fathers would set a precedent that my daughters would greatly benefit from when they start their own families. It’s time we crawled out of last place among developed nations when it comes to family leave policies and show that we take our purported family values seriously.
Finally, I think about the person my daughters will be seeing in the most powerful position on the planet. Do I want them to see a woman who has the governmental experience to back up the title of President of the United States, who has worked in public service for 40 years, who’s had her name drug through the mud and handled it with grace, and who has an articulate and detailed plan for our country’s future? Or do I want them to see a billionaire businessman who has no governing experience whatsoever, who spews insults constantly but can’t take them without whining, who lies so often that the man himself was named Politifact’s Lie of the Year, and whose plans for America are largely focused on xenophobic rhetoric?
Before you jump in with, “But Killary is the worst! She’s a corrupt lying murderer!” please read this post on Clinton and Trump, follow the links, look at the sources, and examine the possibility that your assessment of Hillary might not be entirely informed by fact.
To me, for my daughters, the choice is clear. If we want to move forward when it comes to gender equality and women’s rights, if we want a world where our daughters will have more options, we simply can’t afford a President Trump.