In the days after the election, grief is not only mocked by those who celebrate, but corrected, by those who mourn.
In the days leading up to 11/9, my beloved husband attempted to distract me.
“Imagine we are awaiting news of a diagnosis,” I say. “The health of my body at stake. The body of all women. The body of the earth.”
This diagnosis is exponentially compounded by the precipice of Madam President in just under a hundred years with the vote.
On the morning after the election, I write:
Be careful of me.
In my country a girl is President.
“Did you miss the news?” a friend asks.
The quote was one spoken by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf–the first democratically elected female Head of State from the continent of Africa–during her address at the International Women’s Day celebration in New York in conjunction with the 59th UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took the stage and honored Sirleaf for stemming the tide of Ebola in Liberia.
More than 70 countries, like this, around the world, have female heads of state.
I dreamed of returning to the United Nations for the 61st Commission on the Status of Women with our own.
I was registered yesterday.
On the weekend before the election, I made a pilgrimage to the birth place of Susan B. Anthony.
She didn’t live to see women with the vote.
My own great-grandmother, Mildred, who danced at my wedding, came of age, taught school, and married, without it.
Her daughter, my grandmother Lila, who shared her dreams of working at the United Nations, was born at a time when women could be prohibited from holding office and when birth control was illegal.
My father, her firstborn, came of age with the “marital clause” protecting a husband’s right to intercourse.
I was born when the law banning contraception within marriage was struck down in the courts. I came of age when the first marital rape law was enacted, in Nebraska, making it illegal for a husband to rape his wife. I began my career just as sexual harassment in the work place was named. Anita Hill.
My two beautiful boys grew up with what they thought was a strong, capable woman, equal to any man, until they saw me brought to tears, again and again, when a rich white man could degrade–not only half the population–but also the disabled–and all those others he felt were beneath him–and could still be a serious candidate for the GOP nomination, and go on to be elected to the highest office of our nation.
You ask why we grieve?