Election Reflection: Why I Give a Damn

Election season was tough. And, the post-season is not looking much better. PeakChange has actively supported political campaigns at the local, state, and federal level.  We’re very proud of the progress we’ve made this election cycle by electing diverse leaders at both the state and federal level.  While we did not get the presidential outcome many of us worked so hard for, it’s important to reflect and to celebrate our successes which include having our first female presidential candidate of a major political party whom one the popular ote.    

My election day gear.

My election day gear.

I have always embraced being politically engaged.  I often say I wear my activism on my sleeve. Most of my adult life, I’ve worked to recruit others into the political and policy-making processes - regardless of their party affiliation.  My passion for this work is rooted in a desire to get more women and women of color elected to leadership positions in our government. I feel strongly that we can achieve better outcomes with a more diverse political leadership that is reflective of the people it serves.  I found the presidential outcome very hard to take. For me, it is about so much more than simply whose side won. The results are reflective of an America I don’t know. I’m willing to accept that perhaps I have been blissfully unaware, naive, or just too comfortable in my progressive bubble.  Below is an excerpt from an email I sent to our network on November 9th, 2016:

Yesterday I mourned - but today I fucking fight.

We just told the women of America and the women of the world that you can sexually assault, rape, grope, bully, dismiss, violate, marginalize, and demean women and girls; then you can brag about it and completely get away with it –  and be chosen to fulfill the responsibility of the highest, most powerful and most important position on our planet--It is not OK.

We just told the world that a know nothing, racist, sexist, science-denying, bigoted, Hitler in the making, who is unchecked by congress, empowered to remake the supreme court, and entrusted to make foreign policy decisions while being supported by Putin - will govern our country for the next 4 years.  It is not OK.

We just told our children - whom we to teach not to be bullies, to love everyone for their differences, to respect each other, to follow the rules, to do your homework, to live to your fullest potential -- that you can do the opposite of all those things and become the President of the United States .  It is not OK

Despite this, half of America consciously found a path to elect him anyway or a justification not to vote.  The system is broken.   

He can't fix it but we can.  This is our catalytic event -- our enough is enough moment.  We need to stay woke; and, if we haven't yet done so, let's wake up fully.  Together, women - and men willing to stand with us - will rise.  We will weave a web that will hold up the rest of humanity.   We can build an agenda of inclusion.Trump is our new reality.  And, although there isn't anything we can do to change that fact right away, we can work to build a united force that will not be silent -- so that never ever will it be OK to get away with his kind of abuse and be allowed to stand...Never. again.   Our children, women and girls everywhere, each of us  need to know we took action and know what we did -- when we knew.

For me, this election was very personal. Let me tell you why.

I was born 6 days after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v Wade.   My mother turned 23 the day I was born.  When I was 23, I had just finished college and was embarking on my professional career.  Back then, I thought I was treated no differently than the men around me, not in school and not in my professional arena.  I was acutely aware of the sacrifices the women of the generations ahead of me had made to work toward equal rights for women, but I thought they had solved the problem. So, I refused to call myself a feminist, as it seemed unnecessary to me.   

All of this changed for me when I started a family.  By that time, I was in my 30s working for a Fortune 500 company.  While I was not yet at a senior level, my role required me to work and engage with many people in upper management positions. And, I was often the only woman at the table. While noticeably pregnant, I was frequently asked if I would continue working after my child was born. During one particular meeting I was in, I remember vividly a man who thought it necessary to tell me he really appreciated that his wife stayed home to raise his boys.  I noticed that my male colleagues started surpassing me even though we were equally qualified and skilled, achieving the same performance outcomes.  So, I really started paying attention to the lack of diversity at the corporate leadership and board level - not only at my company, but everywhere I came across.  Lack of diversity at the higher levels of political leadership level was equally lacking.   Not only had the problems of equal rights for women not been solved, as I had originally thought, we hadn’t made any progress in 30 years.  In some ways, we had even slid backwards.

I still see gender inequity everywhere today. After all, we are still talking about our wombs on the national stage and we just elected a President who publicly marginalizes, demeans and sexually assaults women, and brags about it.  

Mother-daughter bonding time campaigning for Hillary.

Mother-daughter bonding time campaigning for Hillary.

Women of my generation, myself included, dropped the ball -- in a big way.   We owe it to ourselves, to our mothers, grandmothers, and sisters of the generation ahead of us, and to our daughters, sons, girls, boys, nieces, nephews, brothers, and sisters of the generations behind us to pick that ball back up collectively.

Now, we are doing just that.  Within days following the election we were mobilizing, planning and organizing.  There is a revolution rising; this is our turning point. The place is right here; the time is right now.  We are building a united force that will not be silent. Ours is a collective and collaborative front for all voices that has the capacity to change the world, so that everyone can thrive and where 100% of humanity is creating a future that serves all beings.

We are taking time to be reflective, be organized, be intentional, be thoughtful, be bold, and be radical by using our authentic voice and power for transformation.  We are mobilizing; we will rise.  And, you will be called upon to participate and opt-in, because we all give a damn.

We are still planning, so we can carefully build a scalable and sustainable model.  You can keep track of us on Facebook and Twitter at OptN4All.  You can also forward this blog post to your networks. Please visit and join us by following us on Facebook @OptN4All or tweet us @OptN4All and tell us what you give a damn about.   Be sure to tag @OptN4All and use #giveadamn, #serveallbeings