Last night was simply amazing. Not only does our country get four more years of Barack Obama, a leader who is truly inspirational, inclusive and representative of who we are as a country, but many states, including Washington, approved marriage equality.
It was an incredibly important election for so many reasons. As a woman and a mother of daughters, as well as a mother of a son who may someday marry and have daughters of his own, but will certainly interact with women all of his life, the issues raised in this election were critical to the social progress our country has made over the past one hundred years. The thought that women cou
ld lose control over decisions that are ultimately theirs to make at the hands of representatives who have little empathy for those in conditions unlike their own was terrifying enough that even my six year old announced to her first grade class that she might be moving to Canada next week with or without her parents. And the realization that many of our closest friends weren’t allowed to marry was shocking to our kids who only know them as reliable grownups and parents, which is exactly who they are.
The intensity of stressful situations has a way of pulling people together. And by now we’re used to people sharing opinions and status online. Second screening it with Twitter and Facebook while watching popular television shows is a common occurrence that we know creates communities.
However, last night was different.
I stayed home last night to do early evening carpooling, help with homework and put kids to bed and finish up some work while listening to the results come in. I’d felt a bit sad that I was missing out on the election parties, but when I got onto Twitter, I found my own group. The discussions were open and emotional from both sides of the aisle and watching Obama’s speech with hundreds of others felt binding and cohesive. We laughed at the woman with the flag in her hair and cried proud tears and the dignity of a president who has the chance to build on the foundation he has begun.
And there was honesty. Sure, there were the temper tantrums and bashing (Really, now, Donald…), but social media, and especially Twitter, people seem to feel freer to express their real opinions and not just use the conversation as a headline. Both sides were heard and new opinions formed. And while I would never have voted for Romney, I do have a stronger understanding as to why some people did. And I’m not sure that could’ve happened at an election party.
I have faith in the America’s progress over the next four years and I hope we can take the lessons learned from open discussions online to direct our offline conversations to a more open place.
“We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America. “