Anyone else looking back on these last six months and asking: what has happened?
As I prepared for my daughter’s birth last November, I knew that she was coming into a world in flux. I knew that politically and culturally this country was frozen with partisan rancor, but I remained hopeful that the momentum that brought President Obama into office could break through that deadlock and move this country toward realizing the promise of its founding — a more perfect union dedicated to equality and justice.
Again I have to ask, what has happened?
Instead of moving forward to fulfill that promise the most affluent among us are doing all they can to eliminate our social contract. Our country’s most vulnerable stand to lose the last bit of protections, in the form of Medicare, Social Security and other general assistance programs in order to protect billionaires from the burden of contributing their share in revenues.
Instead of moving forward on those promises Republicans have distracted us with birther nonsense, with threats to shut down the government and with a concerted effort to undo generations of gains by the middle class in just a matter of months.
The news gets worse for women. Republicans are constructing world where a rape is a matter of perspective and where young poor women are coerced into motherhood they way they were once coerced into indentured servitude.
Perhaps we’re suffering from a bit of historical amnesia. Perhaps we’ve forgotten that, in this country’s recent past, our elderly, our poor and our most at risk were told that never again would they be left on their own, that this country will, as a matter of moral certainty, put in place a safety net to avoid repeating poor houses, debtor prisons, factory fires and widespread racial violence.
Six months ago I promised my daughter that should she be born into a world less secure than the one I knew, that I would do all I could to change that. I told her she deserved to live in a world where her potential was not limited by her gender, where she would be treated equally and paid fairly and where her health would not be used as a political poker chip for a bunch of old men.
I never imagined I’d have so much work to do from just the last few months.
photo courtesy of Tammra McCauley via Flickr
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