Women in Politics

If you’re not familiar with Wendy Davis, she’s a state representative in Texas and a prominent attorney whose recent claim to fame was conducting a whopping eleven hour-long filibuster that helped block Senate Bill 5 which included increased restrictions in abortion regulations throughout the state. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) Sounds familiar? Remember last year seeing pictures of that woman in Congress wearing hot pink gym shoes? Yeah, that’s her and that’s part of the problem. I believe that if you poll most people in the country they would know what she wore to the filibuster more than the issue she was actually fighting for.

Recently State Sen. Davis has come under fire for her parenting acumen because she chose to pursue an education and oh yeah, a career as well. Heaven forbid, a woman wanting to make something of herself professionally while trying to juggle having kids. The audacity, right? What a bunch of BS. If she were a man (Wendell? Davis) it would just be assumed that even though he has a kid or two he’d branch out and do other things such as getting higher education degrees and whatnot. No one would expect Wendell to stay at home and take care of the rugrats. Wendell would be free to pursue his educational and professional goals, no questions asked. Wendy isn’t so lucky. Her decisions have put her in the hot seat which I feel is a mindset that is best left behind in the 1950s. Not only are we supposed to be living in an age of increasing gender equality, but there are more than enough examples of other women who have already taken the same path with shining success. Women achieving in politics should not be a shock anymore, yet sadly, it still draws the wrong sort of attention more often than it should.

No matter their track record of career and familial achievement, women who foray into politics aren’t exempt from traditional, antiquated sexism from the pundits and media. No one ever comments on the suit Bill Clinton wore to last night’s humanitarian gala. President Obama doesn’t have to worry about being ruthlessly cut down for a new haircut. Yet with female politicians this happens all the time. They’re put under just as much scrutiny as A-list actresses walking the red carpet. The big difference is that these actresses make their money being the object of attention. Our women politicians, on the other hand, they’re not in it for style points. They just want to be a part of government — a leader and a part of change for this great country of ours — not have their choice of earrings or hairstyle criticized on the cover of US Weekly. Until society can become blind to gender bias and stop putting every woman in the public eye on a platform that ranks them based on aesthetics, how are our young women going to know what’s more important?

women politics

Political Dinners – Not for the Weak

Aaaah, a wonderful family dinner is at hand. Everyone is there, gathered around the table, raising their glasses, and basking in the warmth that can come from mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents coming together to break bread. These are special occasions where wine flows and hot food is kindly passed between generations. It’s a wonderful—wait, what did Uncle Bob just say about abortion—oh well, I’ll let it pass. Huh? Did Undergrad Nephew Drew just say what I think he did about gun control? Nevermind. Focus on the family. Focus on these rare moments when everyone I love is in—oh hell no Grandma did not just say that about Michelle Obama. I have to say something.

Does this situation sound familiar to you? It’s absolutely mind-boggling how politics can turn blushing brides and adoring grooms into Roman gladiators. Political stances have a way of worming their way into relationships and corroding them like no other. One simple statement that falls on the ears of someone who doesn’t agree and that person you look to for unconditional love in times of war and peace turns into an arch-enemy.

Worse yet is when some of these same loved ones try to bait you into arguing. They intentionally dangle that carrot in front of you, knowing exactly what buttons to push to make your internal pressure gauge slip into the red.

when politics collide

What is this affliction? I almost think it should be included in the DSM. Political Insanity Disorder or Righteous Stance Disease. Politics can turn people into Neanderthals. Or better yet, Neanderthal bulls crashing through the china shop of love. All to defend their perspectives and rarely understanding that it’s okay if not everyone agrees with them.

The most terrible part is that all this chest puffing and soap boxing is to stand up for someone they don’t even know! It’s as if their governor is closer to them than the person they supposedly love. The sad truth is that politicians…they don’t give a shit. Come on, I mean the only thing politicians care about is that you put their name on the ballot when you step into the booth. The rest of the time, they couldn’t care less about us, our situation, our family, or our well-being. For 99% of the time, we pretty much don’t exist to them…except to be used as pawns in their grappling contests for political power.

Politicians care about one person and one person only. I’ll give you three guesses as to who that might be. They certainly wouldn’t defend you to their family with the same vehemence, so why should you? Sadly, many people are willing to damage their relationships or at the least cause some seriously hard feelings with people they love…all because of the need to defend a person or group who really don’t give a damn.

So next time the steam starts to shoot out of your ears or you perhaps feel the need to instigate a politically driven frenzy within someone close to you, just try to remember that the person in front of you, the one you love, is the person who holds a special place in your life…they are the one who deserves your loyalty and care. Not some politician who doesn’t even know you exist and wouldn’t care even if they did.

I Have Political Views

artwork by Haley Wolfe — click on graphic to visit her site