Ah, Midterm Elections. A coveted day to set the stage for anticipated positive and progressive change.
We listen to newscasters and watch the tickers at the bottoms of our screens give live updates for how close or how far apart the race is for each seat. We sometimes fall asleep awaiting the results, and wake up the next morning either victorious or defeated.
The euphoria of a win goes to work with us the next day. Or we’re quiet because we were raised not to talk politics, much like we were raised not to discuss our salaries.
Or maybe our candidate didn’t prevail, and we are just as quiet as if our favorite team lost. Or maybe we’re angry.
All in a 24-48-hour time lapse, we can find ourselves making new friends or new enemies. Or we can find ourselves suffocated in the middle, carrying on our favorite “side-step” to try to pivot conversations away from touchy subjects. Maybe we’re feeling a bit insecure about our viewpoints, feeling that we are not knowledgeable enough to carry on a healthy debate, or maybe we are simply wanting to avoid the extreme leftists or extreme rightist.
Not as bad as a Presidential Election, but still impactful. And closer to home.
Life goes on.
Over the next several days, weeks, and months following elections, we will discover whether there was any validity to all those promises. But elected officials can only do so much.
Respect the democratic process, sure. But what type of pressure are we putting on these officials? In some ways, it’s displaced responsibility.
I recently had a conversation with someone close to me who felt like everything was her responsibility, and nothing was ever good enough. It’s possible that this same sentiment is felt by our elected officials. At least those who aren’t in their roles for self-serving purposes.
Women’s Suffrage has not been an issue for over a century. Yet, it still is.
The voice of women lay critically in the hands of the political process following the historic overturn of the historic Roe v. Wade. To ask a woman to elect a proxy for her ovary is what we had been tasked with.
A proxy for her ovary. Forget about her health in a lot of circumstances.
Everything was her responsibility, and nothing was good enough. We are expected to be stoic.
Sometimes, the people who matter the most are left in the margins of society. Our veterans had to fight extensively before the likes of Jon Stewart joined forces and brought more attention to their recent requests. His notable involvement helped to facilitate the Senate’s passage of the Pact Act, which allows for healthcare coverage and benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxins . This is just one example of taking for granted the efforts of a select group of individuals who are part of the driving forces of our society – a very clear disregard for their health while reaping the rewards. There is some semblance to this with our pressing abortion rights issue.
While we are busy allowing men to take parental leave, and mirroring the equal rights that we afford to women, we have hypocritically taken away an important right of women in more states than not, making abortions illegal, and penalizing both practitioners and patients. How are we knowingly fighting in perpetuity for what often times amounts to economic equal rights for women, yet simultaneously taking away bodily rights?
It is worth mentioning that “in 2021, 16.4 million women were employed in the health care and social assistance industry. This was 77.6 percent of the total 21.2 million workers in the industry.”  Here we are, again, reaping the rewards of sacrifice while disregarding the health of those making sacrifices.
Additionally, we have been progressive in acknowledging gender identity and neutrality, as well as the stigmas surrounding it, having garnered categorical protections. How can we allow for elective gender reassignment surgery, and deny necessary abortions?
I recently visited a church that hosted an anti-abortion group. This group touted that it was present at abortion clinics in silent protest and prayer for 40 weeks, the time equivalent to a full-term pregnancy. While their ambition was admirable, there was a bit of information on abortions that was provided to the congregation and likely others that may have lacked in accuracy or validity. Viewpoints were being shaped by less than factual information.
One thing is for certain: When it’s election season, we are encouraged to do our homework on the candidates. The beauty of the democratic process is that it is ongoing, and managing expectations and delivering on promises is always a balancing act; always influenced.
Ultimately, the driving forces of our lives is us. Be the change you want to see.