I have always thought, and my experience has confirmed that better decisions, solutions and political debate occurs when women hold an active part in determining legislative policies. Unfortunately, in today’s political climate women play a minority role from state and local government to the halls of Congress. Women are the majority in this country, yet when have you ever seen women hold anything close to a majority in your state legislature or either house in Congress? The answer is obvious. Never! That is about to change, and we will all be better for it.
On the day following the swearing in of Donald Trump as our 45th president, thousands of women marched in protest against most misogynistic, chauvinistic and sexist president ever elected in the modern era of the American presidency. While Trump served as the central object of disdain, marchers were focused on other issues that affect their lives as well, i.e affordable healthcare, immigration reform, climate change, equal rights for women and minorities, LGBTQ rights, workforce safety, religious freedom, and equality for all Americans regardless of race, color, creed, religion or station in life. What began as a nationwide march would become a movement and a force to be reckoned with.
In October of 2017, a Woman’ March organizational convention was held in Detroit. In some respects it was a validation that the Women’s March in 2017 still had momentum and political energy. This wasn’t just another feel-good rally, rather it was a meeting of 4,000, mostly women, who came to determine and explore ways to actualize their concerns by fielding candidates up and down the Democrat ticket on election day November 6, 2018. An excellent account by The New York Times of the convention and its focus is provided here:
One of the initial organizers of the Women’s March summarized the convention this way according to The New York Times. “The goal here is for people to go back to their local communities and prepare for 2018 and to build power, register voters, engage more people, organize on a very hyper level,” said Linda Sarsour, one of the organizers of the Women’s March and of this convention, which leaders here view as the first of its kind since women met in Houston in 1977. “We’re excited to see what happens in 2018.” What began as a nationwide march has become a movement and a force to reckoned with.
On January 20 and 21, 2018, in cities large and not so large across the nation, tens of thousands of women and men marched again. It was clear that Women’s March was alive and well and had morphed into a myriad of kindred groups, “huddles”, and activist organizations that were not only just women but also men. It is apparent to me that anyone considering running for elective office would be well advised to determine where they stand on the issues of importance to women and their supporters. All politics is local regardless of the office, several if not all of the following list may be germane to your race.
- The disdain and disapproval of Trump is almost universal with the women and men actively involved in this movement. It is certain these people will want their vote in part to be a message of no confidence to the White House.
- The issue of sexual and emotional harassment and hostile workplaces must be taken seriously and cannot be tolerated further. Legislation must be developed and enacted that protects the victims and punishes the perpetrators with logical consequences for their actions.
- Passage of the Equal Rights Amendment is long past due. Only two more states need to ratify it.
- The reproductive rights of women needs to be protected. Regardless of those who take that right away, the decision should still remain the decision of the woman in consultation with her doctor.
- The hypocrisy of anti-abortion politicians, including the president, needs to be called out. While they are all for granting rights to the fetus, they are the very ones who are the first to vote against funding programs that enhance the lives of newborns and small children i.e. the WIC program, community health centers, nutrition programs and affordable, safe child care.
- Support continued funding for Planned Parenthood. The organization is about much more than reproductive rights.
- Support is necessary for making college more affordable for students, especially community colleges and post-secondary vocational schools. It is unconscionable that Congress refuses to help lift the burden of debt off the shoulders of young women and men who are the nation’s future in favor of giving millions of dollars of tax cuts to the corporations and wealthy.
- Regardless of the naysayers, climate change is real and is affecting the only planet we have. Putting tariffs on solar panels, heralding “clean coal” and cutting funding for various programs that are finding ways to protect the environment can no longer be tolerated.
- Finally, as Democrats we believe the Constitution was written to protect the rights of every American regardless of race, color, creed, or station in life.