Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Voting Against Women

I voted against several women today and I am rooting for more of them to lose. I feel a little disloyal.

I view voting as a personally sacred act. Whenever I vote, I think of women’s suffragists who worked so hard and sacrificed so much so that I could have my vote count. I wish Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and others could see me and millions of other American women cast their votes. I feel like they are looking over my shoulder and it becomes a pleasure to wait in line for a ballot.

So it feels wrong to vote against so many women. Discounting judges, of the five races on my ballot I voted for exactly one woman and against three. I wish that wasn’t so, but as much as I want to see more women elected I am not willing to vote to support the lock that social conservatives have on the government of this state. I wish that progressive women got the attention that women of the Tea Party get.

Every time I discuss the news around my daughters and I criticize one high profile candidate or another, I hope they are not getting the message that women shouldn’t be leaders. I flinch when I hear myself criticize the sisterhood. So I am trying to see this as a positive development. Women are credibly running for office in large enough numbers that they are being judged by their capabilities and their character, rather than their gender. I don’t feel like I have to vote for every woman on the ballot just so that we have some gender parity in government. I still hope to vote for a woman and to see her win the presidency in my lifetime, but I want to vote for her because she is the best person for the job and not because of our shared gender. Oh, and she absolutely positively cannot be from Wasilla.

Still, it feels wrong.


  1. I used to have this rule. When I got to the backside of the ballot, where the names all begin to blur, given a choice where the only thing I knew was gender, I chose the woman. For some of the reasons you mentioned. For some of the same reasons that micro-finance prefers to lend $$ to women. But some of the recent women candidates on the far right have made me reconsider that practice. Now I'm looking closer at judges and other minor candidates.

  2. That has often been my practice as well and I think we do have to do our homework better from now on.

    Update: next session I will be represented in the legislature by two conservative women, one of them a total whackadoo (not her policies, her character). I said I wanted more women in office, I didn't specify that I had to agree with them. My mistake.

  3. So, this means if I run for office you won't vote for me? I'm from Wasilla, too =)
    There were very few women of any stripe on the ballot here in my blue state. Plenty of progressives, though.

  4. OK Bev, I'll make an exception for you, but only for you. But if you start calling yourself a Mama Grizzly the deal is off.

    Did any of your progressives win?

  5. Many of them did. Certainly, the conservatives lost - which is not quite the same thing, but positive none-the-less. I don't think we added any Repubs to either house.