On Voting…

whitehouse

I’m an emotional wreck. There… I’ve said it.

Up until yesterday, I’d been invested in the election in a purely academic sense.

As a teacher of minority students, who aren’t yet American citizens, I pretty much wear my “liberal-ness” on my classroom door. You’d be surprised at how many social liberals still have a hard time with the whole “not speaking English” thing.

I had my fair share of polite (and not so polite) political discussions and Facebook rants. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary and lost. I liked Clinton enough as Secretary of State to know that she was aligned with many of my values and was my candidate of choice in this election.

The end.

Then, last night, I attended an art show/ craft fair with one of my friends.

We stopped at a booth selling inspirational type quotes silkscreened on different household items. As I was flipping through the different sayings, one caught my eye.

“The day may be approaching when the whole world will recognize woman as the equal to man.” – Susan B. Anthony

Maybe it was the quote. Maybe it was the day. Maybe it was because I was out, without my two year old, and my brain was less distracted.

It hit me- the President of the United States will likely be a woman. I was shocked at how emotional that realization made me.

This election has brought up a lot of issues that I, as a women, (even an empowered, modern woman) have quietly learned to live with. Wage equality, sexual equality, microaggressions are so common that they are easily hidden away in the folds of our patriarchal society.

I am a 35 year old mother. I’m an urban teacher.  I’ve lived in four different countries and traveled the world alone.

And yet…

I hold my keys laced in my fingers as I walk to my car. I palm over my drinking glass no matter where I am. I’ve learned to deflect unwanted attention, not defend my right of consent.

Many people believe that teachers shouldn’t give their personal opinion on political matters.  I don’t believe that anyone should unduly influence a student to do or think something that that student doesn’t believe is right.

However, I do believe that it is our moral responsibility and obligation to openly discuss issues of race, gender, bias, and discrimination in the classroom. I believe we can state our opinion without creating undue influence, because I believe that we are “wired” to help students learn and seek understanding, not blindly indoctrinate.

So tomorrow, on election day, I will proudly wear my pantsuit to work. Under it, my t-shirt will read “A Woman’s Place is in the WHITE House.”

If my students ask me about my voting choice, I will tell them the truth.

I will tell them that in the end, I am voting for them.

I am voting for equality and integration in education.

I’m voting for my Muslim students, because the first freedom in the United States is the freedom of religion.

I’m voting for my immigrant students, because they are the ones who this country was founded upon and founded for.

I’m voting for my LGTBQ students and their right to their first crush and first love.

I’m voting for my female students, so that I can say “ You can be anything you want when you grown up.” and not lie when I say it.

I’m voting for all of the women who fought for me to have this right.

I’m voting for my candidates’ policies and ideas, not her outfits.

I’m voting for the woman who stood, let the world rip her apart, and came out a champion.

I’m voting for the first female President of the United States. 

-Kelly

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