No Matter Who Wins This Nerve-Racking Election, I'm Not Going Anywhere

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On Tuesday morning, I'm taking my 13-year-old daughter to our polling place, which also happens to be her middle school, and together we're going to cast one vote out of millions for our first woman president. Just typing that makes my eyes well up ... but it also unleashes a pit of familiar anxiety in my stomach, because: what if?



What if Hillary Clinton doesn't win?

What if, despite my optimistic belief that the scales of basic human decency ultimately always tip ever so slightly in favor of the good, Donald Trump prevails?

It's a thought that truly makes me sick to my stomach -- as a mom, as a woman, as a human being.

But you know what? No matter what happens, once all the votes are in, and our next president makes preparations to head to Pennsylvania Avenue in January, I'm not going anywhere. I'm not even going to joke about moving to Canada. Or Thailand, or Paris, or anywhere but the USA. Even if -- no, ESPECIALLY if -- Donald Trump somehow makes it into the Oval Office, I'm staying right here in this country, and raising my daughter here.

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Two reasons.

First, even though it's somewhat conceivable that my husband and I actually could figure out a way pack up our daughter and abandon ship, we're in the minority. And we're not the ones who'd need to move, anyway. We're white, we're middle class, we're straight, we live in a blue state. We're about as privileged as it gets, which is all the more reason why it would be despicable to abandon our countrypeople and our ideals in one fell swoop.

Make no mistake: I'm not saying I'm not worried; I'm not saying that "whatever happens, we'll be fine," because I'd have to be well and truly blinded by that aforementioned privilege to say something like that. I'm saying that even though my little nuclear family will probably still be "fine" (barring World War III, which doesn't seem so out of the question when you have an egomaniac demagogue  in charge of the nuclear codes), I'm not okay with leaving everyone else behind while things get a lot less "fine" for them. I may just be one insignificant citizen, but I have a voice.

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And second? Despite all of the negativity of this election, despite the sickening racist rhetoric, anti-gay fear-mongering, and repulsive, damaging misogyny unleashed by the Trump campaign and too many of his supporters, I'm not discouraged. My eyes are opened a little wider, yes; I'm sickened by the amount of vile and backwards sexism, racism, and hate that still seethes in our nation's underbelly -- but I do not despair. Because over the last several months, as I've participated in this process both for work (covering the Democratic National Convention) and as a private citizen (whether knocking on doors for Hillary Clinton, registering college students to vote, or having impassioned conversations with everyone from my Bernie-loving California relatives to my Clinton-hating Republican friends), I have been inspired more often I have been demoralized.

Inspired because there are SO. Many. People. Out there fighting for what they believe in, fighting for progress and change. I have met moms fighting for smart gun control laws. I have met young men and women fighting for a woman's right to choose. I have seen friends and family marching and advocating for an end to police brutality. I have read the brutally honest words of gay moms and black moms sharing their fears -- and their hopes -- right here on this site.

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And I have seen so many, many people fighting for a world where our daughters and our sons have equal opportunity.

Equal rights. Gay rights. A woman's right. Black lives matter. Free speech and a free press.

None of this ends November 9. It doesn't end in January, when a new leader is sworn in. These issues will still need to be championed, still need fighters willing to take a stand, whether that's by writing letters, making phone calls, getting out the vote in smaller elections, or even running for office. Our democracy may be flawed, but it's what we have to work with -- and it works best when we raise our voices, when we take part, when we advocate and agitate and participate.

And I'm in. I believe in us. I believe that the ideal of this country, the promise of what we can be, is worth fighting for -- with even more vigor in the face of what we've learned about ourselves during this election. And no matter what happens this week, I'm not going anywhere.


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