January 30, 2007

A Vote for Change?

If you've no interest in American politics, skip this entry.

Though you kind of have to pay attention, because so much of what they decide ends up involving us. Did you just have to hustle out to renew your passport? Thank the Americans. Anyone in your community over in Afghanistan? Same. Heck, even the price of orange juice in the coming months can be blamed on their weather. Which isn't politics, so I digress.

An article in the Washington Post on the weekend left me absolutely speechless. A woman I've never heard of. Linda Hirshman is a retired professor of women's studies. So. In this article, she tries to unravel the Hillary mystery - will women vote for Hillary Clinton just because she's female? Personally, I'm not sure that this question is even legitimate anymore. Hillary Clinton has so polarized voters of both sexes for so long I thought we were way past the XX/XY debate.

Apparently not. Ms. Hirshman does an in-depth bit of research of asking some Washington D.C. area women she knows to find out what they think of the Hillary question. I jammed my fist to my mouth as I read who these women were: all stay at home mothers, with their names preceeded with 'former' things, like public relations exec, reporters, etc. They then proceeded to admit to the most appalling lack of knowledge, and interest, I've seen in a while.

They don't read newspapers. Well, some do, but just the lifestyle section. Several admitted their husbands read 'lots more', and are generous enough to form their opinions for them. They do all have a general consensus on the fact that they all read People, and Real Simple. Says it all, doesn't it?

Hirshman explores why women have never significantly pushed an election either way. With this kind of bullcrap going on, I'm hardly surprised. Disgusted, but not surprised. I was at home when my kids were small. But I was a stay-at-home mother, not a stay-at-home idiot.

These women confess to not wanting to hear about wars and violence. Their country has dragged most of the world into one; it might behoove them to take a little notice.

How on earth can a country this big get decent representation when 51% of it has its head firmly lodged up its butt?

I calmed down after I realized that I was falling for an article that was shabbily researched, and poorly represented. Forgive me for expecting more from the Post. This article in Salon contains an interview with Kate Michelman, who has been made an advisor in John Edwards campaign. As former head of NARAL Pro-Choice America, she would have been an easy pick to be on Team Hillary. She makes clear her position in the Edwards' campaign, however, and political bluster aside, she reminds us that it's about a candidates issues, not their sex.

I go crazy when people, especially women, refuse to engage in the political process. All you have to do is pick an issue that's important to you - daycare, senior's rights, healthcare, education, anything - and learn something.

As soon as you've been convinced you're too stupid or your input isn't valuable, the dark side gets another vote. Ask some questions, do some research, and use your common sense. And remember - if someone starts bullying you, it means they're short on facts and long on wind power. Go around them.


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