The Family

As a result of Mike’s obsession mad skillz with the internets, he scored us four tickets to yesterday’s White House Easter Egg Roll. Since Emma “hearts” Sasha and Malia, and Mike and I *heart* their dad and mom, we were all really excited to hang out at their house for a couple of hours.

Emma talked about going to “Sasha and Malia’s house” for a week before we went, and seemed to have a good time once we were there – although I think she felt there had been a bit of false advertising, since we never actually went INTO the house itself. She did get to ride Metro, meet Curious George, and show off her new Ladybug dress.

William’s adventures were a little more low key, but he still got some good stories. First he got to freak out the Secret Service guy who reached into the stroller to check it out and got the shock of his life when the “doll” started moving. Then he got to nurse on the grounds of the White House. Really, there can’t be too many people in the world who can say that, right?


Senator Barack Obama secured the Democratic nomination for President tonight with 2,130 delegates, well over the 2,118 required to win the nomination.

I don’t think there is much that needs to be said really, except that I am so happy, for all of us.

Liza Sabater just posted over on Personal Democracy Forum’s Tech President about Dear Senator Hillary Clinton, Please Step Down — a post written a few days ago by mommy blogger Erin Kotecki Vest, on her blog Queen of Spain.

My response to this is twofold – the letter to Senator Clinton is a heartfelt and well thought out argument for why the Democratic party and the country need Senator Clinton to end her run for President. Go read it. Right now. Seriously, go. Clearly I am an Obama supporter, but I have felt ambivalent/conflicted/sad that I am not more excited about the first viable woman candidate for President (even while I have been annoyed that so many think I should support her just because we have the same body parts). Erin’s letter puts into words how I have felt about Senator Clinton since she first got into the race.

Liza’s post at Tech President makes some great points about the power of mommy bloggers. The “Step Down Hillary” post has 146 comments and counting — many from mommy bloggers who are paying attention to the candidates but aren’t seeing that favor returned — and its popularity and the traffic it has generated on Digg has completely overwhelmed the Queen of Spain’s hosting company.

Blogher has been trying for months to get the Presidential candidates to sit down for interviews, to share their views with the 7.6 million women in the Blogher network. As far as I can tell, they still have not had any success. Which blows my mind. 7.6 million people. Voters. Right here, waiting for the candidates to come tell us why we should vote for them. Erin’s letter and Liza’s post make it clear why political campaigns and consultants need to start paying attention to mommy bloggers.

And now that there seems to be at least a burst of interest in us and what we have to say about this election, kudos to Erin for saying what so many of us have been thinking. We are a demographic that is paying attention, we are politically savvy, and we have a lot to say.

This week is the 11th Annual Freedom to Marry Week. In support, The Other Mother has asked bloggers to post on the themes something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue throughout the week. Today is something new. (Thanks to Doodaddy for letting me know about this, who heard about it from an amazing and powerful post by LesbianDad, who heard about it from The Other Mother.)

Today also happens to be Mike’s and my anniversary. Which is really quite ironic, as I will explain.

Mike and I almost didn’t get married. There were various reasons we weren’t interested in nuptials, but the biggest was that we were, and are, disgusted by the lack of equality in marriage in our society, and we felt strongly about not getting married until our gay friends could. We also felt strongly that our relationship was our business and a little piece of paper from the state wasn’t going to make it any more “legitimate”, and it sure wouldn’t protect us from the fate of just over 50% of all relationships the state labels “official”. So thanks but no thanks, not for us.

Then we bought a house together, and started talking about having kids, and we were suddenly faced with the same legal issues our partnered, and parenting, gay friends deal with all the time. At that point I didn’t even know that there are 1,138 legal rights accorded married couples that non-married couples do not enjoy. I just knew it didn’t make sense that as a non-married couple Mike and I, and all of our gay friends, had so many more hoops to jump through if we were even allowed to jump at all.

We talked about this issue with our friends, gay and straight, and several of our gay friends told us they thought we should get married. They told us if they could, they sure as hell would. Still we resisted. Finally, we decided three days before a business-trip-turned-vacation to the US Virgin Islands that we should just go ahead and do it. But, we told ourselves, we wouldn’t tell anyone. We didn’t want a big deal made of it and, frankly, we were a little ashamed. We felt completely guilty that it was so easy for us and so difficult for some. So even though it didn’t solve anything, we would just pretend it hadn’t happen.

So we got married on this day two years ago, on a beach in St. John. And it was very nice and we didn’t tell anyone. But then we got pregnant a few months later, and realized we hadn’t really thought our plan through to the end. We suspected that our families would be upset at the idea of us having a baby without being married, and we were right. Although they didn’t put it this way, they were upset for precisely for the same reasons we are upset that our gay friends can’t marry when they have kids. Because, like it or not, in our society, marriage affords a protection to the family unit that being unmarried does not.

So, long story short (too late!), we told them. And there was great rejoicing.

And so, it is ironic that the anniversary of our non-wedding is the same week as Freedom to Marry Week. Actually I don’t really know if it is ironic or appropriate or nothing at all or what. I do know that Mike and I still feel chagrined that our family is protected in ways that other families aren’t. Until they are, we will keep trying to make some change by voting for folks who can make a difference and supporting our gay friends and their families and making sure the issue doesn’t go away.

Emma is fired UP.

So for the something new theme today I give you a picture of Emma holding her first political sign. Here’s hoping that we are entering an era of new hope and new equality and that our politicians will do their job. Maybe by the time Emma decides to become someone’s partner and have a family of her own, everyone will have the chance for equal protection under the law.

To learn more about why equal rights are so important, especially in emergencies, go here, and to learn what you can do to help, go here.

I would like to deal with a little issue here that I have been hearing and reading a lot about lately — the insistence by some that women should vote for Hillary because she is a woman, and she may be our last chance to vote for a woman for President for a long time.

Let me say this loud and clear – as a woman, I don’t *have* to vote for anyone. I have every right, and responsibility in fact, to vote for who I think is the best candidate.

As a feminist, it is important to me to support women in positions of leadership, and those who are seeking to be in leadership. Having said that, I also feel pretty strongly that it does me no good to support a woman just because she is a woman, if her views and opinions don’t mesh with mine. I mean, even though they are women I doubt I would ever vote for Elizabeth Dole or Katherine Harris, since we have very different views on a lot of things.

Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL, wrote about this issue recently on Salon and did a much better job discussing the whole thing than I ever could.

This is my favorite:

The women’s movement is about free choice, self-determination and challenging a status quo that fails a lot of Americans, not just women. And it is not about going along. It’s about transcending, about having the freedom to follow one’s heart, about creating and pursuing new opportunities, and about the American dream being for all Americans.

Amen sister. And as for the argument that Mrs. Clinton is the last woman who will run for President for a long time, Ms. Michelman had this to say:

Matthews’ other Hardball, which also deserved more time than the red light gave me, was: “How can you pass, Kate, on the opportunity to support a woman for president when this may be the last chance for that to happen in your lifetime?”… It may be news to Chris Matthews, but great women have already arrived on the national stage — and they are here to stay. They are running state governments, big cities and major corporations. And every day in the armed forces they are defending our families and our country.

I am thrilled that the first election in my daughter’s lifetime includes a strong, viable woman running for President, and I look forward to the dozens of women who will run in years to come. When my daughter asks me about this election, I will tell her how grateful I am to the women’s movement for making it possible for Mrs. Clinton to run for President — and for me to vote for her opponent.

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