President Elect Barack Obama

Dear Baby,

Today is the biggest election day in my memory. It’s possible that this is the biggest election day in anyone’s life: we saw Senator Barack Obama become President Elect Barack Obama, the leader of the free world. You won’t understand how huge that is until you’re older, what kind of barriers and discrimination were taken down tonight. Elsewhere in barriers, California is voting on a gay marriage ban tonight because some people want to reverse the rights that California decided gay couples could have. There is a similar proposition in Florida that sadly will likely pass, and while it is not my place to name these people there are folks related to you in Florida who made me very proud with their choice on that proposition. I hope as well that the gay community enjoys all of the freedoms and rights that every heterosexual couple in this country is currently guaranteed. In your life, little baby, I hope that bigotry and discrimination against loving families is a thing for the history books. That is the world I want for you–a place where love is safe and families of any shape, color, and stripe are protected.

Today is important to us on a very personal level. Your father and I got married two years ago, and since then the big question mark in our marriage was: When do we have a baby? This July all of the stars aligned, we settled the question and decided we wanted to go for it. Fast forward two weeks to a positive pregnancy test, an event that will forever reduce me to incoherent gratitude with its dazzling speed. The pregnancy, the symptoms, the very fact of you was upon us so fast that it left no time for second thoughts or doubts. And we were so happy. We wanted you so badly.

Less than a month and a half later, the American economy went straight to hell, a situation that was compared to the Great Depression. A $700 BILLION dollar bailout. People lost homes, security, investments. We lost hope while the world watched and tried to hold their own economies together, with varying success. It was terrifying to behold. The Republican candidate, John McCain, chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. She was an ultraconservative, charismatic woman who terrified us to our very cores, and together they came to represent everything we feared for the country’s future.

And during it all, there you were, still growing, still safe. We heard your heartbeat and I felt you kicking inside me. We didn’t talk about it much but the fear came upon us: what were we doing, bringing a baby into this mess? What on earth was the world going to look like in April? What future could we hope to give you? Whether we realized it or not, this was our first true lesson of parenthood: try as we might, we cannot protect you from everything.

However misguided some people may believe this to be, we believe Barack Obama is going to get us out of the situation we’re in. He’s not perfect, no candidate is or ever will be. But we believe, we hope, that he is the man who can begin to shape our country into something better. We think that under his leadership, life will become better. We voted for him for him because we believe in what he believes.

In addition to what I wrote above, the world I want for you, little baby, is one where you don’t have to be afraid. Afraid that if you are a girl you won’t have control over your body and health. Afraid that you cannot marry the person you love or will not be able to have children with them, that you cannot protect the family you want to create. Afraid that your parents will not have the resources to provide you with every opportunity you deserve because their financial stability was ruined by forces beyond their control. Afraid that you will not be able to roam the earth without seeing the ruin and havoc wreaked by your country. Afraid for the very air you breathe. Tonight we lost much of that fear.

We voted in Hawaii, and McCain conceded a half hour after our polls closed. Some people will tell you, little baby, that this means our vote doesn’t count. Don’t you believe it. It always counts when you stand up and say, “This is what I believe, and this is what I know to be right.” And because it counts, we cast our votes for us and everyone in our country made poorer and worse off in the last eight years, for those in the world who do not have the right to vote, for those who fight so that we could keep that right and deserve our utmost respect. But mostly we voted for you, my dear and darling child. We voted because we hope that you never have to be afraid.

Today is a great day.