Tag Archives: women’s rights

We Are Women and We Roared!

To say that I am ecstatic today would be an extreme understatement. I am so much more than that emotion, but it is virtually impossible to match a word with how I feel.

Election night was incredible. I shouted, I cheered, I laughed, I cried. Once again I found faith in my fellow Americans. Not only did they rise to the occasion and vote Barack Obama back into office for a second term, they also voted strongly for women and women’s rights.

Following an extremely contentious campaign season that saw a plethora of Republican candidates spouting insensitive and misogynistic statements about rape, incest and a woman’s right to choose, Americans responded, and in a big way.

New Hampshire became the first state in U.S. history to elect an all female contingent. The Governor, the House, and the Senate; all women. They include Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter (D) and Ann McLane Kuster (D) who join the Senate incumbents, Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Kelly Ayotte (R).

Wow! Can it get any better than this? Yes!

Massachusetts chose to elect Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren (D) instead of the Koch brother’s puppet incumbent Scott Brown (R). Warren becomes the first woman Senator in the history of Massachusetts.

Missourians sent a strong message through their votes for Senator Claire McCaskill (D) and literally shut down “legitimate rape” challenger Todd Akin (R).

Tammy Baldwin (D) becomes the first female and openly gay Senator by way of Wisconsin, after voters showed their belief in her abilities. Baldwin won this race by holding off a political comeback by popular former Gov. Tommy Thompson who had never lost a statewide race.

Mazie Hirono becomes the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the Senate and Hawaii’s first female Senator.

Then there is Iraqi war Veteran Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) a helicopter pilot who lost both legs and part of the use of her right arm in an explosion during combat, and was awarded the Purple Heart for her injuries. Duckworth defeated Tea Party incumbent, Representative Joe Walsh for the Congressional seat in her district.

Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) was elected to the US House of Representatives as the first ever practicing Hindu. Gabbard “voluntarily served on a 12-month tour of duty with Hawaii’s National Guard, and then became the first woman in the history of the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy to be designated a ‘distinguished honor graduate.'”

Altogether, the 113th Congress will have at least 20 female senators and the House of Representatives at least 77 Congresswomen, more than at any other time in U.S. history.

And of course there are all the female Representatives who were elected to their State Assemblies. Among them my friend Sara Gelser (D-Corvalis) who was re-elected to Oregon’s District 16.

I have had the honor to know Sara for many years. Her strong sense of integrity and fearless drive to fight for the rights of others less fortunate than most, has always impressed me. Sara is the youngest woman in the Oregon Legislature and has served since 2005. She is the Assistant Majority Leader, Chair of the House Education Committee, serves on the Revenue Committee and the Rules Committee, and President Barack Obama appointed her to the National Council on Disability. The nomination was confirmed by a unanimous vote of the US Senate. In my educated opinion, the future of U.S. politics has “Sara Gelser” written all over it.

Each one of these women is a hero to me, no matter their political affiliation. They have fought the battle, and against the odds, are rising to the top of their game in a man’s world. They serve as positive role models for our daughters, and are paving the way for all women now and into the future.

As I reflect on this historical time in our country I am still in agony over my attempt to describe in words the raw emotion that continues to rise inside. So, instead of attempting to put words to how I feel, I will turn your attention to the following video which displays how I feel quite eloquently.

This rather raw video captures Campaign Manager Richard Carlbom of Minnesotans United for All Families as he announces to campaign staff and board members that the vote on the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the State of Minnesota was too close to call. As he was about to end his remarks and tell everyone to go home and get some sleep, Carlbom was told by the campaign’s communications director that the A.P. just called it. An ecstatic, joyous, tear-filled celebration ensued. This was the first time in U.S. history that an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment had been defeated.

I can relate to this expression of pure joy on so many levels and for so many reasons, but I will leave that for yet another blog…

(The real joy begins at around 2:50)

(Video by Robert Arvid Nelsen)

Building a Better Man

┬ęTracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “Building a New Man” – Apps used: vintage cam, juxtaposer, picture show, scratchcam

I have been pondering the recent political “war on women” over the past few weeks. There are some men in our country who exist inside the bubble of deep denial (or is it one of rampant stupidity?) and will poo-poo any notion that women are treated with inequity in this day and age. Those are the men who undoubtedly are most comfortable living in the 1950’s, greeted at the door by their woman who holds out a pair of slippers and a martini with two olives while flaring their nostrils to the smell of meatloaf cooking in the oven.

Get this Mr. Denial: it is the year 2012 and women are still earning only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts while performing the same exact job.

What is reprehensible to me and millions of other women in this country is the fact the ERA has not yet been added to the Constitution.

“What?!” she says scratching her head. Yes Virginia it’s true… Our equal rights as women to earn and to be treated on equal footing as men are still not protected by the Constitution of these awesome United States some 89 years since the time of the ERA’s introduction.

It is maddening to me that the ERA still has not been ratified in 15 states. These states include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. It is maddening, but not surprising when I think about the overall demographic and general attitude of these particular states.

Come on now. Really?

The Equal Rights Amendment was introduced in 1923. It did not pass the Senate and House of Representatives until 1972. Congress extended the deadline for ratification to 1982 and when that deadline passed, only 35 of the required 38 states had ratified the ERA. Because there is a constitutionally required three-fourths rule, the ERA has STILL not been added as an Amendment to the Constitution.

Therefore the inequality in pay and other arcane treatment continues in the workplace even though women perform the same jobs just as well or better than a lot of men.

So what the Hell are men so afraid of? Well, obviously they are afraid of losing their power (or at least their perceived power) over women. I am not talking about ALL men of course. There are many on this planet who have evolved far away from the Neanderthals who precede them, but there are still a hairy few who insist on treating women as objects to use as they please.

Now, I would not dare to speak for all women, as I know there are those few who choose to continue to play the role of doormat with a Stepford Wife smile on their pretty little faces (note all female Republican Senators who voted “no” on the Equal Pay Act because their party told them to). But women in general are feeling very angry. Finally.

The solution?

I think it is time we as women began to build a better man. Take all the characteristics we desire to see in our counterparts and simply build a new model.

Start with your own children. If you bear sons, then raise them to understand we all deserve equal treatment whether male, female, black, white, brown, rainbow-colored, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, any other religious persuasion or not. If you raise daughters, then teach them the same.

But better yet, let’s use the power that a lot of these political idiots seem to forget we still have: the right to vote. Our fore-mothers fought for it, won it and we in turn need to continue to use it. We need to cast our votes to weed out all the hairy Neanderthals who continue to hold us down with their attempts to control our earnings, our power, and even our right to choose what we do with our private parts. We need to cast our votes for the ones who have a genuine belief and interest in our power as women.

Together we can build a better man.