Why I’m Voting for a Woman in the Primary

And why your sexism argument doesn’t hold water

I will vote for a woman in the democratic primary, without regard for the male candidates. I don’t care if he has a sterling political resumé or activist credentials. I don’t care if he spouts appealing policy or uplifting rhetoric. I don’t care what color he is, or how old, or if he’s a good dad. It doesn’t matter if he was in a band or is “folksy.” The very best of men will not get my vote because time’s up. I’ve had it. I’m exhausted.

What if men just shut up for awhile? What if men just listen and learn? Especially the white ones. No opining and pontificating, shouting or explaining. No proposals, ideas, suggestions or questions.

What if men stop jockeying for more power, just for a bit, and pay attention to the needs and desires of their communities? What if they study the policy proposals of their sisters and elevate those ideas, instead of their own?

To be clear, I have heaps of respect for many men. They have often brought brilliance to the table, and we are lucky to have them. They are my family, and my friends. I agree with many of them, often. But if all of them could just be quiet for a bit, we’d hear some other voices. Women’s voices, the voices of those who do much of the work for little of the pay; the voices of those who have had to abide by the laws of men, and suffer under their often egregious policies. The voices of the voiceless.

Women are, need it still be said, brilliant and capable. History is told by the winners (read: the men), so you need to dig for info on the pivotal women. There are many. It was heartening to see so many women win their elections last fall, a tiny, overdue course correction. But it’s depressing commentary that it took this disastrous presidency to move the ball even an inch. We have so much course correcting to do.

A snapshot scoreboard:

  • 45 male presidents — 0 female.
  • 408 congressmen — 127 congresswomen.
  • 6 male Supreme Court justices — 3 female.
  • 476 male CEOS on the Fortune 500 list — 24 women.
  • Women earn 79¢ for every $1 earned by men.

You only need to glance at the morning news to find evidence of continued institutionalized misogyny. Attacks on reproductive rights and women’s health services; gender disparity in health research; the gutting of maternity care, early childhood services, and education. Women are not represented fairly in this “democracy” and we continue to struggle — in 2019! — to find equal footing. We comprise at least half the US population, and yet …

And yet.

Women are angry. The anger is legitimate. We’ve been doing it backwards in high heels, for lower billing and less pay, for far too long. My gender specific vote isn’t “sexism,” it’s survivalist. It’s a desperate cry for change. It’s course correction. Tell me again how the worst man was better than a problematic woman. Tell me how women are too emotional, but tell me loud or I may not hear you over Lindsay Graham’s tantrum, or Kavanaugh’s wounded weeping.

It is a toxic message this power elite sends to our girls.

The women in the race will be judged for their voices and outfits. The quality of their mothering — or lack of — will be inspected and discussed. They will be branded mean, ambitious, and shrill. The men will be passionate, regular guys, born to be in it. There it is, in a tidy nutshell. Language matters, media messaging matters.

Here’s handsy Joe, with his tone deaf rollout —

Booker’s token female running mate.

Born-to-be-in-it Beto and his “ham-handed” comments.

Bernie and his young, white bros. I’ve actually met some who say if Bernard is not their candidate, they will vote for Trump. Doesn’t that just say it all.

We have a good number of highly qualified women in the race. Plenty to choose from. Pay attention to the substance, the policy (or lack thereof), the record. All candidates will have baggage, regardless of gender. Until the robots start running, we’ve got humans — with all the mess that entails. So far, the men have been driving the train, squawking and scuffling up front while the rest of us see the fast approaching cliff.

It’s time to represent all of us. It’s time to listen to the women.

Write it down.

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