I’ve been obsessively googling random information in an attempt to predict the unpredictable future. I’ve been imagining how I will feel a little less than two weeks from now when I wake up in the morning with news that will affect my family for a number of years to come. There are several possible outcomes, and I have very little control over which outcome I will get. This all feels awfully familiar, but this time it’s a different sort of two week wait. Instead of obsessively googling pregnancy symptoms, I’ve taken to obsessively googling election predictions and polling statistics.
Election day in the US is less than two weeks away. On the evening of November 6th or soon thereafter, we will find out who will lbe our president for the next four years. We will also find out the results of referenda in four states about same sex marriage. There are numerous differences between the two presidential candidates, and numerous reasons why I believe that Obama’s plans (while imperfect in many areas) would be better for the nation as a whole.
But there are also clear differences in how the two major party candidates’ policies would affect my family. As Foreigner in a Buckeye Nation so eloquently puts it in her post here, the votes on the various referenda and on the presidential election feel very personal. She has an ongoing series of posts about the election, and this is from one of them:
“For today I’m just sticking with the emotional journey of this ride. Because politics are so damn personal this time around, it’s hard to be anything but emotional, so why try?
See, right now, the choice between candidates is a choice between someone who may well grant my family the same rights he enjoys, and someone who has worked and will continue to work to make sure I remain without those rights. This doesn’t put me in an agree-to-disagree kind of place when it comes to making nice with Romney supporters. When that little ad appears on the right side of my Facebook screen showing me which of my friends “like” Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan, I don’t look at the list of names and think, “well, I guess we have our differences.” No. That list of names feels like a hard kick in the stomach. Can you hear what I’m saying? I’m saying, seeing your name on that list takes my breath away. I’m saying “We don’t always agree on politics but we sure had fun in the sandbox back in the day” just doesn’t cut it this time around. Because this is not like differing health care plans or tax policies where people might disagree about what the actual outcome will be. This is fact. Your vote for Mitt Romney [or against a same sex marriage referendum] is decisively a vote against the well-being of my family.”
There are two stories in the news today about ways that Mitt Romney would try to keep my family from having the same rights as other families. One story, here, is about how he worked to prevent same-sex couples who had gotten married in Massachusetts from having both parents’ names on their children’s birth certificates. The other one, here, is about how Romney believes it should be up to individual states to decide whether same-sex spouses can visit each other in the hospital. Straight folks out there, imagine what it would feel like to know that your spouse is very sick and to not be able to visit him/her in the hospital because you are “not family.” Imagine what it would be like to be there at the conception of your child and be present for the OB appointments and for the birth, to change diapers and read bedtime stories, but to know that your connection to your child is not legally recognized. Imagine knowing that if something happened to your partner or if you separated you would be treated as a stranger to your own child by the law. One presidential candidate seems unable to imagine how this might feel. The other, while he has been slower to “evolve” on this issue than we might like, has specifically created policies that allow me to visit my partner in the hospital and has expressed support for my marriage. With another four years (and as a lame-duck president) I suspect he would do even more.
These stark differences between the candidates make the suspense of waiting to find out which candidate will win feel huge. This isn’t just about finding out which tax policies will be promoted for the next four years or what our trade relationship with China might look like. Knowing that the American public has so much control over my partner’s and my ability to care for ourselves and our child feels incredibly vulnerable. It’s going to be an anxious couple of weeks.