Spring is finally here. How do I know? I wore a short sleeved shirt this week. The trees are blooming and the car is covered with pollen. We have had rain the past three days, and are expecting more this weekend. Spring is the time of new beginnings. Long dormant plants come to life and seeds set down roots and send out shoots reaching for the sun. In 2018, a Pennsylvania Spring also means a primary in which many women stood up and won.
The 2018 primaries: women stand up
In Montgomery County we finally have our own congressional race. In 2016 the county was chopped into five pieces with none of the office holders actually living in the county. In a county with close to a million residents, how did this happen? The answer comes in one word, gerrymandering. This is a really big deal.
I am a big believer in the democratic process. Having lived in a number of third world countries I know what it’s like to not be able to trust in the ability of law enforcement of the court to do the right things. I have seen first hand how bribery and influence peddling corrupts and pits the haves against the have nots. This is what makes our country great, the rule of law and the fact that, in theory at least, we are all treated equally and the system is fair.
I am old enough to remember a world where women were second class citizens, when being able to type meant that you were expected to take notes in a meeting, and you had to wear a skirt to work and pantyhose. Women were chosen last for the good trips and good projects because they were the victims of unconscious bias and felt to be less committed or less able to put in the hours. I saw my daughter grow up in a world where black and white, straight and gay didn’t seem to matter. She took people at face value, not by the color of their face.
Many of these young people or their mothers are now on the ballot. Like my decision to run in 2017, we not going to take it any more. We are smart women and angry women, talented women and nasty women, who are tired of the status quo where we are governed mostly by men who are mostly old and mostly white. We want to live in a world that treats us and our needs on an equal basis. That world does not yet exist in 2018, but in the near future it may.
So, as the Spring showers rain down, we all hope that along with the new life will come a new energy to replace incumbents. As we hit the streets and knock on doors we say a secret prayer: may our candidates win in November and herald a different approach. We hope for an end to the attack on women’s health and reproductive systems, for our children to feel safe in schools, for real solutions to the opioid crisis, better job opportunities and pay regardless of gender, and so much more. We hope that with more women in positions of power that our daughters and granddaughters will no longer have to wonder when they can stop fighting and marching and running for equal treatment under the law. They will instead be able to focus on building a better society where having equal rights will be taken for granted.