By JENNIFER MANDELBLATT
It would be easy to give up and to disengage. It would be easy to keep our focus on 2016 so that we may forget the stark reality of the next two years. It would be easy, but it wouldn’t be us. We are a people with infinite capacity to speak up in the face of injustice, yet in the face of this Congress we keep holding back. In fact, two-thirds of registered voters did not show up to polls on election day. By not casting votes, we quieted our own voices. However, the passage this election does not render us powerless until the next. And it cannot. Needs and rights are on the line, among which are the needs and rights of our country’s women. For that reason, I urge you to remember the ladies and keep working for progress.
Remember the ladies who make up two-thirds of low-wage jobs and are not earning a living wage for that work. Remember the young ladies who are discouraged from pursuing their interests in math and science. Remember the ladies who are not comfortable in the bodies they were born into. Remember the ladies who just want to love who they love. Remember the ladies who deserve to have control over their own bodies. Remember the ladies who are doing equal work as their male counterparts, yet are unequally paid.
Remember the ladies because we have not yet achieved gender equality and we cannot wait any longer to demand it.
The people who voted in the Midterms are not Congress’ only constituents. Though Republicans now hold the majority in both houses, the Republican Party is not Congress’ only constituent. Congress is responsible for protecting and promoting the welfare of all American people. Yet we the people are not alleviated from our own responsibilities. It is our duty to hold our government accountable and to ensure that the voices heard on the floors of Congress and state legislatures are representative of our own.
When our history is transcribed in books and tales it will record what we did when our rights were on the line. While the elections are over, democracy is still our right and it extends beyond the polling booths. The greatest times of progress in our nation were born out of the acts and conversations ignited by the people. We must speak up now so that we may look back on this crucial time and remember that we were advocates for what was right.
Jennifer Mandelblatt is a sophomore in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember the Ladies appears alternate Fridays this semester.