My seven-year old daughter scored her first basket in her Pee Wee basketball league the other day.
That's right, my 2nd grader can take it to the hoop.
Yes, like President Obama's daughters, my daughter too is using Title IX to the fullest extent and playing basketball. And like the President and First Lady, you can hear me encouraging her from the sidelines (ok, screaming my ever-loving head off...which I'm very sure the President and First Lady DO NOT do) when her first shot goes through the net.
That voice you hear along with mine is her nine-year old big brother confirming what he just saw right by my side, just as excited as Mom.
It was, as my daughter will tell you, "swish."
For her, I need a "swish" come November 6th for Barack Obama.
That proud parent moment, that YouTube moment, that smile you see stretched across her face as she BEAMS with pride running back to get on defense while cheering, would not have been possible were it not for the advancement of women's equality.
For her, for all those little girls, from my Hala to the President and First Lady's Malia to Sasha, to yours at home...we can not go back.
It has become increasingly clear in this election that the basic rights of women are at stake. It keeps me awake at night. Every day in the news there seems to be a new attack from the Republicans against women, be it inflammatory remarks or invasive legislation.
I don't worry for myself. Or my Mom. Or my Aunts. Or my friends. We can handle these men across the aisle who seem to think our paychecks should be smaller than our male counterparts and that our bodies should not be ours to control. We're grown women. We can and are fighting back.
But then I watch my daughter do something as simple as score her very first basket, and I realize a generation of little girls can not fight back on their own just yet. They will grow up in a world, if the other side wins, that could appoint Supreme Court justices positioned to take away so many of the things we have gained.
She may not be on a co-ed team, scoring another basket, allowed to play with the boys. There may not be a girl's team funded by her charter school due to budget cutbacks—we know the girls’ sports get cut before the boys’.
She may not grow into her teen years allowed to make decisions about her own body. She may craft her college applications and her career choices on things she may not really want, but may pay her well, simply because she knows that following her dreams might mean not getting paid as much as a man in the same position or hitting that glass ceiling. She may be even more afraid than my own generation to report a sexual assault due to archaic and victimizing laws put into place by men who have never been violated as intimately or horrifically.
It is imperative we re-elect President Barack Obama so we can continue to move forward the basic rights of women, of all Americans, from our daughters to our LGBTQ friends and family. Everyone.
I want many, many more cheers because of her "swishes." I want this photo to happen for your daughters.
For all the girls in the United States, and their big brothers proud to sit on the bleachers and applaud in awe, we must re-elect President Obama.
The alternative is unacceptable, and quite frankly, terrifying.