Friday, August 4, 2017

Not the Backup Singers

A few nights ago I fell asleep with the TV on cable news and I guess I heard some startling noise that awakened me in the middle of the night (accompanied by the reality that has been my post-pregnancy). After I stumbled back into bed but before I located the remote control, I learned that the source of the commotion was the vote tally for the "skinny" repeal of he Affordable Care Act. Senator John McCain had just voted against the bill, so the pundits and the Senate Gallery were all abuzz that he had single-handedly saved Obamacare. I found the remote, muted the set, and went back to sleep.

Of course when I woke up a few hours later, that was still the breaking news of the day. And as I was more fully awake, I learned that the bill had been defeated by three GOP defections, so McCain's 11th hour act of bravery had been preceded by the no votes of Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK). But it was McCain who was getting all of the credit.

I took note of that fact and as the pundits continued to analyze his "courageous" vote, I got mad. Busy Black Woman mad. The type of mad that led me to make myself late for my hair appointment to post this status update to my personal FB page and then this modified re-posted update to the BBW page. And I got madder still as I watched yet another panel of pundits applaud as if they had just watched a performance of Tony Orlando and Dawn.

Since I've already expressed my annoyance at all the praise, glory and honor heaped on McCain at the expense of Collins and Murkowski, I want to use the remainder of my time to celebrate how women have ascended to all areas of government--beyond being merely the gatekeepers to powerful men or just the fancy window dressing in the office. If our republic is meant to continue after the madness of Dumb Donald the Trumpet, then we will have the women who serve in all three branches to thank for that.

Being a woman in a man's world means being told to "dress like a woman". It means being judged by your looks instead of your intellect, and then having your intelligence treated like a liability instead of an asset. It means not getting invited to discuss business over drinks, at the golf course, or at the strip club. It means exclusion from participating in important negotiations, because the assumption that the men can represent your interests is taken as a given. It means having to demur during your Senate confirmation hearing because some fragile white guy got offended that you once referred to yourself as a "wise Latina". It means being treated like a high priced accessory. It means waiting your turn while watching the men get called to the front of the line. It means losing an election that you should have won, because had you been a man there is NO WAY IN HELL anyone sane would have reasoned that previously vetted duplicate emails from your AOL account that had already been vetted offered a plausible reason not to vote for you.

Nancy Pelosi. Sonia Sotomayor. Maxine Waters. Loretta Lynch. Sandra Day O'Connor. Susan Rice. Amanda Powers. Sarah Palin. Nikki Haley. Elaine Chao. Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Condoleezza Rice. Elana Kagan. Michelle Bachmann. Sheila Jackson Lee. Tammy Duckworth. Christine Todd Whitman. Marcia Fudge. Elizabeth Dole. Jennifer Granholm. Kamala Harris. Mazie Hirono. Barbara Mikulski. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

This platform doesn't have the capacity for me to continue posting names, so this sampling represents many of the women who have recently held the line in some memorable way. These women represent cracks in that proverbial glass ceiling that still exists. Political ideologies may differ, the pathways to reaching their individual peaks may have varied, but these women demonstrate that we can perform at the same level as our male counterparts. And succeed.

I could write about inequity and hypocrisy every day and twice on Sundays. However, there is no need to belabor what has already become an obvious point--it sometimes takes more than balls to avert certain disaster or to lessen the resulting damage. Not every voice requires bass to be heard (when a mic will do just fine ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment