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.