National Partnership for Women & Families

Blog

From the desk of ... Debra L. Ness

The Bottom Drops Out

Cross-posted from the Huffington Post.

Sometimes life tests you in ways you never expected.

The election that shocked the nation dealt a stunning blow to our efforts to make this country more fair, family friendly and healthy.

The loss was especially bitter because it came at a time when we were hoping to see our nation elect its first woman president — and not just any woman, but Hillary Clinton, a spectacularly well-qualified candidate and one of very few public officials to devote an entire career to advancing policies that promote fairness, equality, health and prosperity. We must not forget her grace and resilience, her eloquence in demanding respect and dignity for all women, and the fact that a majority of America’s voters cast their ballots for her.

We anticipated being able to spend the next few years making the progress America needs — securing our right to choose abortion and access to contraception, making pay fair, giving all workers the right to earn paid sick days, enacting a national paid family and medical leave program, building on the Affordable Care Act so we can all get quality health care and live in communities that help us thrive.

But the bottom dropped out.

We ache today for every child of immigrants whose nightmares are returning — for all the children with disabilities who feel the anguish of being mocked every time they see Donald Trump and for all the parents who are trying to help those children through confusion, shock and pain — for all children who now feel even more unsafe and unwelcome due to their race, religion or ethnicity.

We ache for all the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer teens who know, already, that the bullies who menace and harm them are emboldened by this election.

We ache for every hardworking family struggling to make ends meet who saw long-overdue relief slip away Tuesday night — and for the growing number of families with frail, sick elders who fear that a functional, affordable health care system is now further from reach.

We ache for every person who has been profiled, felt the sting of discrimination or been victimized by baseless suspicion and knows it is going to get worse, not better. We ache for the generation growing up in our country which, for now, is not all that it could be.

We ache for every woman and girl who has been overlooked, disempowered, harassed, assaulted or violated because of her gender.

We recognize that progress rarely comes in straight lines — and we are absolutely determined to turn this pain into action. We have been facing down misogyny, racism, xenophobia, hatred and injustice for as long as we can remember and we will continue doing so, for as long as it takes.

We have a lot to learn about why people voted the way they did in this election but there is one thing we know: This was not a mandate for Donald Trump to overturn Roe v. Wade — to fuel gender, race, religious and other forms of discrimination — to deny low-wage workers fair pay, overtime wages and paid sick days — to repeal Obamacare and take health insurance away from 20 million people — to slow the progress on paid family and medical leave.

One path closed to us on Tuesday night ... so we will forge another.

The bottom dropped out ... but we will again find solid ground.

We are poised and ready to fight every single attempt to roll back the clock on our rights and our progress, every hour of every day, until the threats to every one of us are gone. We will be on the frontlines, building unity and solidarity where there is division. We feel a greater responsibility than ever to advance our vision of a country in which nobody has to face bias or discrimination, policies are compassionate and humane, workplaces are family friendly, and no family is without quality, affordable health care and real economic security.

Our values are America’s values. Our resolve is unmatched. And our work has never mattered more.


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