Election Night Stakes: Your Vagina, Hurricane Sandy Relief, Queer Voters, Hillary Clinton’s Legacy

With election night less than a week away, we’re hearing more and more of this campaign’s catch phrase: “the stakes couldn’t be higher.” Yes, that’s true. But context should be added to every mention of that phrase. Yes, it bears repeating ad nauseum; it’s that important. Here are the stakes as we see them:

Women’s health and reproductive rights. Duh. We all know this has been the hot-button issue this election season. We all need to get to the polls to let our voices be heard on this one. But this student journalist heeds an important reminder that women’s health care rights are always relevant—and vulnerable.

Humanity. Hurricane, superstorm, franken-whatever Sandy hit hard. Lives and livelihoods were devastated and the country’s biggest, most resilient city was forced to cower in Mother Nature’s wake. How President Obama and Mitt Romney responded tells us a little bit about each one’s ideals. Authenticity matters, folks.

Voices—All of Them. Gay and transgender Americans are all-but-forgotten in campaign stump speeches, give or take a scripted comment about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or  the Defense of Marriage Act. Here are some fantastic essays that lend insight into Voting While Queer and Voting While Trans. One highlight to ponder: is there any reasonable reason that we must list our sex on the ballot?

The economy. A thriving one means more opportunities for equal work for which we can fight for equal pay. There is no one answer to get us back in the black, and, folks, this shit takes time. Each candidate wants a more solvent American economy, but their approaches are very different. Understand that difference.

Women’s empowerment around the world. No one has done more to put women’s rights, freedoms and economic empowerment on the international stage than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (recap some awesomeness here). She will be leaving the office at the end of President Obama’s current term. No matter who wins this election, we must not forget the importance of this work and continuing to protect, support and celebrate women all over the world. Political activism starts with each of us letting our local representatives know where our priorities lie. Get chatty, make change.

 

 


Media Literacy Matters: How to Watch the Presidential Debates

There are two more presidential debates to go. Tonight, President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney face a town-hall-style audience, answering questions from Americans concerned about everything from unemployment to war. This should yield important talking points for all of us to consider, and give us facts to take with us to the voting booths on Nov. 6.

Or we could get another Big Bird.

During the first debate, Romney looked moderator Jim Lehrer in the eye and told him PBS funding would go if he is to become the next president: “I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not gonna keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”

The Internet went bonkers. Saturday Night Live made funny. President Obama included B-Bird in a campaign ad. Facebook profile photos changed. Sexy Big Bird became the new It costume for Halloween (le sigh).

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