This past weekend, I watched my oldest daughter create picture after picture after picture of a gracefully aging woman wearing pants next to the words GIRL POWER and thought back to when I was her age and what GIRL POWER looked like to me -- Pink Power Rangers and She-Ra and Catwoman -- women who were literally warriors... who hid behind costumes and masks in order to fight back. In those days, GIRL POWER felt like a costume girls wore on Halloween -- a store-bought cape in pink instead of blue -- a cartoon.
That was less than 30 years ago and in those three decades, so much has changed -- not our stories so much, but our willingness to tell them. Clearly women have always been this strong but never has there been a time where so many women were this unabashed in claiming their strength.
We are raising our children in the golden age of learning and unlearning -- where becoming strong means refusing the stronghold, not just in terms of feminism and "what it means to be a woman" but feminism and "what it SHOULDN'T mean to be a man." We are raising our children with an awareness of intersectionality -- and the recognition that privilege is a superpower MANY PEOPLE HAVE without DOING. A. SINGLE. THING. TO. EARN. IT. People like me. Families like mine.
And while we have massive amounts of work to do, we are, for the first time in history, communicating openly about that work in ways we never have before. We are LISTENING to each other. We are recognizing that UNLESS WE ARE ALL PART OF A SOLUTION, we will always be part of the problem. We are talking to our children about standing up and saying NO and fighting forward. We are having conversations in open forums, exposing our vulnerable selves as a sign of strength. We are refusing shame by stripping down to our souls, by opening our closets, our windows, the diaries we were told to keep locked.
Words, it turns out, will break many things. They will break hearts and they will break minds and they will break through ... And that's just it. I feel like I'm witnessing a societal breakthrough -- all these women coming forward, standing side by side, uniting our states... Shamelessly saying NO for all the times we felt we couldn't -- doing so with our daughters and sons as witnesses, relieved to find solidarity in strangers, furious that THESE are the experiences that tie us together. Calling out sexism at every level and on all sides. Would that have happened to this extent had we not seen firsthand what a woman's rise to the presidency really TRULY looks like?
I wholeheartedly doubt it.
It is becoming increasingly clear that we are breaking ground on a new construction site as a nation -- as a society. And this moment, I believe, is a crossroads. Women, for the most part, want a future that differs wildly from the past. And while there are many men who feel the same, this election has revealed a frightening revelation that many men (and some women) do not and that has allowed us all to ask more questions, to look deeper into how misogyny and sexism and patriarchy have affected ALL of us.
This is not an election about right vs left or woman vs man or even right vs wrong. This election is about our children's future vs our parents' past. This is an election where we get to choose between exclusion and inclusion, walls and windows, breaking barriers or condemning progress. And we cannot, as a nation, as a people choose NOT to grow up.
Progress vs regression is, at its core, what this election has always been about. HRC is an arrow facing forward. Trump wants this country to go back to when it was "great." When women weren't allowed to vote and teenagers lost their lives getting back alley abortions and Christopher Columbus was lauded in all of our history books.
And while everything feels particularly awful right now, divided and contemptuous and seemingly hopeless, I keep thinking, perhaps this is what sea change looks like. I keep thinking about the first fish who grew legs and walked on land... and how their babies' babies' babies would never know what it was like to breathe solely underwater. Life must evolve in order to survive. And whether we realize it or not, our pockets are full of rocks for the paths we are continuously paving... not for ourselves but for our children: for their children and their children's children's children. Progress is our lifeline -- our legacy, our GIFT to future generations who will grow up with the capacity not to follow in our footsteps but to LEAD FROM OUR PATH. May we vote with them in mind.
I believe we are breaking ground on a new time -- where the boys wielding sticks and stones cannot scare the girls into silence anymore. Because WORDS are the game changers. Storytellers are warriors and more women than ever are on the front lines, fingers raw from typing truth to power as their children rearrange the status quo with new definitions of GIRL POWER and magic and heroism and the knowledge that to be girl is to SPEAK OUT and MAKE NOISE and CHANGE LIVES and LEAD.
Because THAT IS WHAT WOMEN DO.
We are the first generation of parents to ask what a woman's presidency will look like for our daughters and what electing her will look like for our sons. And while citing "forefathers" in our history books and "crowning thy good with brotherhood" will always be our past, I, as well as many other women, men and children, demand a different looking future. And I believe, with my whole heart, that THIS RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW is where the guard changes... I believe that this moment marks a new beginning in our democracy and illuminates new light in our daughters' eyes.
Girl Power isn't a costume anymore; it is the platform our daughters continue to build from the wreckage of a patriarchy we, along with generations of women before us, have worked to dismantle. We are all part of this record scratch...
"...SPEAK, LITTLE BABY. SAY ALL THE WORDS. MAMA'S HERE TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR VOICE IS HEARD..."
And I am eternally grateful to stand here -- in this moment -- as part of the sisterhood who continues to rally together to elect our first female president -- a woman, mother and grandmother who is also the most qualified presidential candidate in our nation's history. And I look forward to clutching the hands of my daughters Tuesday morning as we walk, chin up, eyes forward, into the polls...
...Mama's here to make sure that your voice is heard...