Rise Up: The Fight Continues // Annika Johnson
img source: http://d3i6fh83elv35t.cloudfront.net/newshour/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/RTX2SLMK-1024x773.jpg
As I sit down to write this blog post there is roughly 24-hours till official election results begin to pour in. However, by the time you read this, we will (most likely) know who will be the 45th president of our United States. Regardless of the outcome of this election, something beautiful has happened, and it appears to be hidden beneath the pile of muck that is politics. A few nights ago I sat down with my mail-in ballot, a black ball-point pen, a voter’s pamphlet, and my computer. I sorted through each ballot measure and read the profiles of the various state and county positions. I saved the presidential selection for last. Not because I was unsure, but because filling in that bubble was a monumental historical moment, and it deserved my utmost attention.
The historical significance of this election has been hidden beneath layers of patriarchy and phrases such as “emails” and “private server,” however, it has not been overlooked by the women who have dreamt of this day—the day we would sit down to vote for the next president of the United States and a woman would be the face of a major political party. Little did we know that she would be contending against the the face of misogyny himself. There are many ways to look at this election season, but personally I saw it as a constant reminder of what women are up against: a wage gap where women's work is valued less; a rape culture where the victim is blamed over the perpetrator; a society where our worth is described by our relationship to men as their “wives” and “daughters”. Not only was I voting for a woman, but I was voting against a profound patriarchy. I voted against a world where inexperienced men hold more authority than a woman with a lifetime of experience. A world where men can boast of sexual assault and people insist he should not be held responsible for his actions. The same world which holds women accountable for not only their actions, but also their husbands’. Tears fell as I carefully filled in my “Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine” bubble.
The very image of me sitting down at the table as an unwed woman in my mid twenties, achieving the highest level of education possible, voting for a female presidential candidate is one the suffragettes could only dream of, and here I am living it. Again, my heart could not weigh any heavier, only this time with appreciation for the women who fought to get us here. Women who, more than 100 years ago, were brave enough to make the audacious claim that women were autonomous individuals who deserved their own political identities. As I signed my name to my ballot, Andra Day’s “Rise Up” played in the background. An African American woman, who 51 years ago, would not have been allowed to cast her vote sang these words: “I'll rise up. I'll rise unafraid. I'll rise up. In spite of the ache, I'll rise up. And I'll do it a thousand times again.”
As you read this, we will have a clear victor in this race and regardless of the outcome of this election—no matter the results—woman have won today. And still, our fight continues.
Written By: Annika Johnson