Since the last presidential election I’ll fully admit day-to-day life has been more difficult. Then, as you all know, COVID-19 arrived earlier this year, and made things more of a struggle, which was exacerbated by the horrendous “leadership” of the United States. Amid the pandemic, wrongful deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police in the US resulted in mass protesting across all fifty states. The injustices added added more anger, grief, and frustration. I had smaller, more personal battles with friends, family, and acquaintances on-line, including the battle with and decision to leave the Knott’s Berry Farm Ambassador program. Then, to make matters even worse, the Black community lost an icon, Chadwick Boseman, and women and feminists lost their champion, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The loss of Justice Ginsberg was the straw the broke the camel’s back for me.
Already low on energy, low in spirits, the loss Justice Ginsberg left me in a state where for a few days I cried daily, unable to get out of bed, look at my phone, let alone talk to people or work on blog posts. Additionally, the loss reignited anger I had toward friends and family who did not vote in the last election, as they claimed they saw no difference between Trump and Clinton. They lacked the foresight to see the possibility of losing multiple Supreme Court Justices, the attack on our environment, and how Trump’s racism would permeate and embolden racists who had previously hung out in the shadows to step out into the light with Nazi flags, hate speech, and acts of violence. While a global pandemic is not the fault of one political party, I would almost guarantee the US would not have over 200,000 dead citizens if Clinton was in office. No candidate will ever be perfect (Biden is far from perfect) but we must look for the candidate that most aligns with our views, and has the best chance of winning, that means third party candidates and write-ins are a no-go.
So, why am I telling you all of this? For a few reasons. I think honesty is important, and being vulnerable is important. I’m not immune or ignorant to what is happening, also as stated earlier this year, I want to bring activism more into the blog, and then something my friend Solanah said, when she was recently interviewed for the podcast Experience, really hit home. She discussed that there is a relative stereotype within the vintage community, especially if you’re a young, stay-at-home wife, like both Solanah and I are. That stereotype is that these women who are into vintage tend to be religious, conservative, and into “traditional” gender roles. Some of these women discuss or mention those beliefs on their blog, or, at very least, on their “About” page, mentioning things like “wife and mother,” Jesus, and/or quoting the Bible. Some lament about how they feel like they were “born in the wrong decade” or how they wish they could “go back in time.” I am not trash talking these choices, but when it is more the norm among those in the vintage community, those who share that outlook with paint those who don’t say anything about their personal view, beliefs, etc. with the same brush, and assume you are those things. People would make comments on Solanah’s old blog about how much they liked her “conservative” attire, when dressing “conservatively” wasn’t the goal. Then there were the comments on the street from men that both Solanah and I would receive, comments like “It’s so nice to see a woman dressed like a woman.” Comments like this showcased a belief that the person saying it was supportive of traditional gender roles, and assumed we were as well. Well, if you didn’t get the memo before, I’m here to say it loud and clear, I’m none of those things.
I may dress in and decorate with vintage, but I do not wish to live back in the 1940s, 50s or 60s. If you’ve picked up a history book then you know that the mid-20th century was not all milkshakes and sock hops. It was plagued with legal racism, sexism, and homophobia.
Segregation was legal until 1964 with the Civil Rights Act. And even after it was signed into the law the Black community was attacked, and continues to be attacked to this day.
While the birth control pill was first approved by the FDA in 1960, it could only be prescribed to married women. It wasn’t until 1972 that unmarried women could gain access. While condoms are sold without any discrimination or inquires to men, the idea of denying access to the pill on the grounds of religion (both on the insurance/employer level and at the prescription counter) is still a topic of contention today.
Women serving on juries has a long history, with individual states slowly allowing it prior to the mid-20th century. However it wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1957 that women could serve on federal juries. On the more local level, it wasn’t until 1968 that women could serve in all 50 states, with Mississippi being the final state to allow female jurors.
Women couldn’t get a credit card in their own name until 1974, with the arrival of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
Pregnant women could be fired, denied promotions or employment altogether, and that didn’t end until 1978 with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
Rape was not considered rape if the victim was married across all 50 states until 1993, with some states acting sooner, like with female jurors. However the topic is still plagued with issues, some states consider marital rape less severe than being raped by someone other than a spouse.
The military has always been fraught with issues of sexism, however, in the more recent past, women could not serve their country on the front lines until 2013.
Much of the progress for LGBTQ+ rights has been made within my lifetime, including, but not limited to, same-sex marriage, the creation and repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” and up until this last June those of the LGBTQ+ community could be fired simply for being gay. And today Trump believes in denying gay couples access to adopting.
Oh, and not to mention things like polio, the amount of tobacco smoke you would be around, and the threat of how being labeled a Communist could ruin your life. And really this list is just the tip of the iceberg.
I may be a young stay-at-home wife, but I didn’t do it because I belong to a religion that encourages that. In fact I’m not religious. I married young because I fell in love young. I stay at home because I can, and it gives me certain freedoms. Patrick and I are not planning on having children, so it’s not even a “soon-to-be-mother” thing. When it comes to “traditional” gender roles, Patrick and I split housework. He does most of the cooking, and I do most of the cleaning, as well as all of the laundry, and we share yard work and errand running.
So much of what modern women have to be thankful for is because of Justice Ginsberg. Even though women make up 50.8% of the US population (as of the 2010 census) there were only two women sitting on the Supreme Court. Then to lose one while one of the most racist, sexist assholes in the history of the universe is in office and for him to chose her replacement is perhaps the hardest punch in the gut feminists have received.
What this really comes down to is that I’m not what some of you may have thought, and I’m here to clearly state what I do stand for and believe in.
I believe in equality between the sexes.
I believe in LGBTQ+ rights.
I believe in the strict separation of church and state, including that I believe “under God” should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance (which was added in 1954) and that “In God we Trust” should be removed from future currency.
I believe in science, including vaccines, global warming, and wearing a damn mask at the moment if you’re out in public.
I believe in reforming our immigration system, tax system, gun laws, police, and military.
I believe in better funding for education, including tax-funded (aka free) college education.
I believe in universal healthcare, including safe, easy, and free access to birth control and abortion.
And honestly, this is a non-exhaustive list, but it pretty much covers the bases.
This November US citizens have a decision to make, and it’s more vital now than ever. In fact Scientific American has, for the first time in its 175 year history, endorsed a presidential candidate, and guess what, it’s Biden. I beg that you make sure your are registered to vote. If you are voting by mail, I strongly recommend you drop your ballot off at a designated drop off, or mail it in extremely early due to Trump’s messing around with USPS. If you are voting in person make sure you give yourself plenty of time. Lines may be long. If they are long, still stand in them, and do not leave. Additionally, request a paper ballot because of the relative ease digital voting can be hacked. Please practice social distancing and wear a mask while you are at your polling site. Also, if you have the funds, I strongly encourage donating. Patrick and I have recently donated to Swing Left, we also donate to a range of other groups on a monthly basis, including Planned Parenthood.
Now, if you have a problem with any of this, then well, you can hit the “unfollow” button. For those sticking around, thanks for listening, and please vote.
EDITOR’S: One of the great things about WORDPRESS is that hey have yet to censor—like FACEBOOK. TWITTER, ETC. divergent points of view. Janey and Patrick’s views are so totally opposite my own, yet please read her positions with grace and compassion.—Jonathan Caswell, blog administrator and resident poet. And as she emphasizes…PLEASE DO VOTE—WHATEVER YOUR CONVICTIONS ARE! 😀