Election hangover | Sex in the Suburbs

Just a few more days of this volatile and vitriolic election season, right?

But wait.

No matter which candidate ends up working from the oval office for the next few years, the rest of us still have to get up and get on leading our lives. The exchanges that have been started, the anger that has been loosed, the hatefulness that has been uncovered – it’s not going to go away, and the outcome on Tuesday won’t change that.

Rape culture is real and isn’t going to disappear, even if we have a female Commander-in-Chief.

Sexual assault is still so common that, if it were the Zika virus, we’d see millions more in federal funding dedicated to new ways to reduce it and its effects.

States, municipalities, and judges all over the country continue to undermine LGBTQ rights, even after a Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage – and even after businesses left North Carolina due to that state’s archaic and ill-informed bathroom legislation.

School districts in our state and in others continue to use public funds – our tax dollars – to bring in abstinence-only speakers, one of whom tells girls not to dress “in a way that unleashes a guy’s God-given sexual urges” while telling boys that “there are a lot of single and available girls” at school (http://ow.ly/l6JH305NFsX).

We continue to victim-blame instead of looking at data showing that poverty and unintended pregnancy are the greatest indicators of whether a woman will have an abortion, and we pretend that simply making pregnancy termination illegal will solve the problem (http://ow.ly/b1eT305NFpH).

We shout “Pro-life!” without working to give all those unborn children a decent chance in life after they’re born by fully funding education, health care for all, child care subsidies and family leave.

It’s enough to make anyone nauseous and give us all a splitting headache.

This election may be over soon, but the issues linger. Like a bad hangover.

Today, tomorrow… Nov. 9. It’s up to us. It’s up to us to swallow our pride and continue initiating conversations with each other — actual conversations, not just interrupting and talking over each other.

It’s up to us to advocate for better education for our children around consent, respect, responsibility and relationships — in our schools, our neighborhoods, and our faith communities.

It’s up to us to challenge the status quo — over and over and over again – and to model the respect and inclusion and consent and responsibility we want our kids to experience.

No matter who sits in the Oval Office, it’s up to each and every one of us to continue to create more justice for the vulnerable among us, the marginalized who live in Federal Way, and our friends and relatives – none of whom deserve to be called names, belittled, or attacked.

So buck up, Federal Way. Whether your hangover Wednesday is from a victory party, drowning your sorrows, or disgust with the system, we’ve all got a little medicine to take, some sunglasses to don against the harsh light of reality, and a whole lot of work to do.

Amy Johnson, MSW, is a trainer and educator in the Pacific Northwest. She is co-author of two books and facilitates classes and workshops in the Puget Sound area. Amy specializes in sexuality education and in promoting safe and healthy sexuality culture in faith communities. All opinions are her own. Amy can be reached at comments@diligentjoy.com.