Today the 44th President of the United States is going to be sworn into office. Five million people have flocked to Washington, D.C. to watch Barack Obama take the place of George W. Bush, and my husband and I are among them. We have supported Obama since he ran for the Senate, donated to his Presidential campaign, stayed glued to the television for the last year, watching every debate, every Daily Show, and every minute of Election Day. And now we’ll be part of the Inauguration – a very, very small part, but hopefully we’ll at least be able to view one of the Jumbotrons!
If we had children, we probably wouldn’t have even considered making this trip. It requires three days off of work and three separate families caring for our animals – one dog is going to my mom’s house, the other dog to my husband’s mom, and our friends will be coming over every night to feed the sugar gliders. It took me half the day today to get the animals ready for trips to “Grandma and Grandpa’s” respective homes. If we added children into that mix, we’d never be able to take a vacation anywhere!
I’ve been following politics a lot over the last eight years, and one of the disturbing things I’ve noticed among my friends and family is that the people I know with small children don’t follow politics very much. They say that they don’t have time. Well, I didn’t follow politics until Bush Jr. But then I made the effort to educate myself on his policies, beliefs, etc. And when re-election time came up, I made a very informed decision. A lot of people I know – and most of those people included parents – voted for Bush again because “he’s doing an okay job.” They had no idea what his beliefs were, what his policies were, they had no idea how he was handling the war in Iraq, or his views on the environment.
Again I wonder, why don’t parents care about the important things that will affect their children’s futures? Things like the environment, as I’ve pointed out before, or politics? I don’t understand it – a lot of the former president’s actions will be negatively affecting children’s futures for a very long time, and so many parents just sat back and ignored it all.
Let me switch gears for a moment and talk about Obama’s plans to help families with children, because it’s one of his policies that I am conflicted about. He plans to expand the Child and Dependant Care Tax Credit by making childcare more affordable, especially for low-income families (www.change.gov.) In fact, he plans to make a lot of expansions on programs that affect families with children. Of course, as a Democrat, I support various forms of public aid, but the childfree side of me has a hard time with politicians giving families with children more breaks.
Obama also wants to cut back on discrimination against low-income and hourly workers with families. This I have a hard time believing. In my experience, workers with children get more breaks than workers without children.
However, what I do like about Obama’s plans to assist families is that a lot of his plans do not specifically address families with children. He wants to give paid sick days to all workers and bring tax relief to lower income brackets. These are all lumped under his plans to support working families, and that gives me hope that perhaps this is one politician who doesn’t automatically believe that a family must include children.
My hope for the future is that with new leadership, birth control will be more available to all women, that there will be no threats of making abortion illegal, no attempts to label certain forms of birth control “abortion,” and that it will be easier for women to find a doctor who is willing to perform sterilization procedures. I don’t expect things to change right away, but with open minds in the White House, I feel that a lot of the negativity of the last eight years finally begin to will melt away.