The following post was written by Maressa Brown, as told to her by Holly, a 37-year-old mom of two from Pennsylvania.
Growing up in Blair County, Pennsylvania, identifying as a Republican wasn’t even something I really even questioned.
My family was Republican, so I grew up Republican. It was just kind of a given. From the time I was a kid, anti-abortion views were drilled into me. And where I’m from, everyone believed they should have guns. My parents also told me that Democrats are socialists and that seemed like a bad thing.
It was always us, Republicans, versus them, Democrats. Never questioning any of this was probably naive on my part.
Then, I became a mom, and it changed my views.
I gave birth to twins five years ago. And when you have kids, you kinda begin to see things differently. I started thinking how I wanted things to run—in terms of education, equal pay, women’s rights—not only for me, but for them.
I work in health care, and I’ve seen that men are still treated differently. For instance, I’ve had men counterparts come in with less experience and make more money than me. That shouldn’t be the case for me, and it definitely shouldn’t be the case for my daughters one day.
Four years ago, when my daughters were just about one year old, I voted for Obama.
I had voted for McCain in 2008, but then I voted for Obama in 2012. I thought things were going well, and I didn’t see a need to change them. That’s when I started rethinking things more. I remember watching the debates, and a lot of the things Romney was saying, I found I didn’t agree with—like his stance on abortion. I didn’t think he was going to overturn Roe v. Wade, but I do believe he was against it. He was too conservative. I don’t think I would personally have an abortion, but I think the option to is important, and it needs to be legal.
My girls just started kindergarten, and with that milestone, I’ve started feeling even more strongly about all of these issues.
With all the shooting that’s been going on, I also started to feel more passionately about gun control. I think about that a lot, with my kids being in school now.
When I went to their school before the first day, gun violence was something the school touched on. Safety, security, and lockdowns. That’s great but it’s also anxiety-inducing that they have to go there. It’s something I wish we didn’t have to deal with. I think there could be more efforts made that it would be less of a possibility.
I’m not saying we should have a gun ban or a buy back where people need to give up their guns, but I feel like the desire to have them is excessive. There need to be stricter regulations. I think the second amendment is a bit antiquated. When it was written, people weren’t able to go buy assault rifles. I think that needs to be addressed, but Republicans die on that hill every time. They don’t want to budge.
I also believe in climate change and fear it’s going to affect my kids and their kids.
I am going to have another 40-50 years if I’m good, but what about my kids? And maybe they’re going to have kids. You have to worry about the planet beyond your own time on it. But Republicans say climate change is not a real thing.
These are things you think about even more once you’re a parent. I’ve actually been playing the “grandma card” with my own mom.
This election, my mom doesn’t want to vote at all. She doesn’t want to vote for Hillary, and she doesn’t like Trump. I said, “You need to vote for somebody.” I’ve been saying she needs to vote, because we don’t want Trump. We can’t have him in the Oval Office. We can’t have him be our #1 ambassador to the world and setting an example for the country.
But the other thing I push is that Hillary is more for children and more for family care and for education, and that’s important for me and for the girls. And my girls may grow up and have girls. My mom may be in her golden years now, but I want her to still remember that I’m still out here working, I’m still raising kids and trying to make a living.
At the beginning of the year, if you would have asked me about Hillary, I would have said I don’t like her. I didn’t know I would be sitting here saying I’m voting for her.
I think I still had a lot of negative impressions of her, because when I was growing up, my parents talked negatively about her all the time. In retrospect, there wasn’t much substance to that. They felt that she was doing too much, maybe overstepping her bounds a bit, like with health care reform.
I voted in my first primary ever this year, for Ted Cruz, because I didn’t want Trump. I thought he would go away. I never thought it would get this far. But when my choices became clear, it was a no-brainer. I’m not going to vote independent or for somebody who I don’t think has a chance of getting into office. I had to make a choice.
Trump drove me right to Hillary’s arms, and I’m staying.
I do think things have been going well, and President Obama has done a great job, and I think Hillary would carry that on the best. She has more interest in women’s rights and child care, she’s trying to get us family leave, and she supports gun sense. I’ve grown to really like her. I feel like I’m voting for candidate who would be the best president for me, my family, and the country. I think she is the most qualified person to do the job. In fact, I’m voting a straight Democratic ticket, because it will allow her to do her job and facilitate the legislation I want to see carried out.
At this point, I don’t even know if I want to be in the Republican party. What I do know is that I’m planning on Hillary Clinton becoming our next president.
When she does, I’m going to make my daughters watch the inauguration. I remember things from when I was 5. Little things. Like you had to learn the presidents. You would get a placemats with all the presidents on it, and it was always all men. And I’ve had people say to me they won’t vote for Hillary, because she’s a woman, and I say, “Why? You’re married to a woman! A woman gave birth to you!” Why should we not have a woman leader? We have a lot of little girls in this country!
And I think it is really important for my daughters to see a woman get elected, because one day, they’re going to be women. I want them to see they can grow up to be anything they want to be.