Can we agree to lay politics aside just a minute?
Today was a difficult day (another difficult day) in politics. Elizabeth Warren dropping out of the presidential process was disheartening for her supporters I’m sure, but it was discouraging to watch as a women.
Again…laying politics aside…it is hard to challenge the fact that both Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are highly intelligent women. (To say nothing of the other female presidential candidates.) They have been stalwarts in their fields and staunch supporters of both children and working class families. They have been willing to take on challenges and to do so publicly. They are both highly articulate and had detailed plans for how they wanted to change the ills that face America. Whether you supported or believed in those plans or not, I think we can agree that the plans were backed by thorough research and compassionate thought – not merely campaign rhetoric and catchphrases to win clicks and likes.
I recently finished reading Leadership In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin (which I will be doing a review on shortly.) While reading this book about Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson during the day, my hours were interspersed with cable news and Twitter updates. It was a strange dichotomy. In her book Goodwin talks about FDR’s Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins. Roosevelt appointed her to his presidential cabinet in 1933. She was the first female secretary of labor in the United States.
I couldn’t escape the reoccuring thought that before my own father was born, we had a women in the cabinet and yet here we are today, 2020, 87 years later, unable to send a women to the White House.
Admittedly, I am probably too hard on women running for historically ‘male roles’. If a woman is too showy or too flighty or trying to get by on her looks and charm – I smell it immediately and dismiss her summarily. But Hillary and Elizabeth? Their political record is long, their successes many and their abilities unquestioned.
I do not know the solution to this stumbling block except to keep persisting as they say. But I sit in my discouragement this evening and wonder – when will a ‘smart girl’ be simply a ‘viable candidate’? When will authentic hard work and bravery be rewarded in females? In men, are such attributes merely assumed qualities?
During Hillary’s campaign and this current political campaign I have been adamant about picking a candidate that is qualified regardless of gender. It isn’t enough to send a woman to the White House simply because she is a woman – it must be the candidate that is the most qualified to lead our country and it’s many sectors.
This evening I watch another qualified candidate slip into the ether and ask myself if it will ever happen in my lifetime. Will a qualified, intelligent, articulate, thoughtful female ever make it to Pennsylvania Avenue as the leader of our country?
I have four more years to wait and see.