A lot of attention has been given to Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton and Governor Sarah Palin’s involvement in politics of late. I admittedly prefer one over the other but, in general, see both of them as a good influence for women to become involved in politics.
I, myself, had a very young initiation into the process. I used to visit bingo halls with Don Hanni, Jr. and my sister passing out nail files with a variety of Democratic candidates names on them. You see, those bingo ladies would take anything from a cute, little girl, regardless of the political party. They would compliment me, exclaim (or deride) the name on the nail file/notepad/fan and I found it all fascinating. I was goner for anything political from then on. I also remember passing out literature for the Democratic party with either my mother or sister, going door to door in our neighborhood. I registered voters when I was in high school here. I majored in political science at Ohio State and participated in Bring Back the Night rallies and belonged to a group that promoted the knowledge of women’s issues at OSU. I’ve worked on Senator John Glenn’s 1992 campaign, interned for Senator Dianne Feinstein on Capitol Hill in 1993 and have heavily volunteered for Senator Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party when I lived in Manhattan. I live for the any information, survey, research or gossip regarding politics. I admit it – I am a political junky. I love the discourse, the arguing - the importance of it all.
Yes, I do have strong opinions about this race but, more importantly, I hope it ignites a desire in women to participate in the process regardless of their political affiliation. So many issues seriously affect our lives right now: the right to reproductive choice, the right to access to birth control or accurate information regarding it, a judicial system that will be pulled either to the right or more centered with this next administration, health care for our families/children/elderly parents, education from the local level all the way to the university, the economy and jobs, global relations (which actually do really matter) to name just a few key areas. Our [women's] voices are unique, our life experiences enriching and our perspective is needed.
Participation is key for women right now to have our voices heard. It starts at the local level and has ramifications all the way up the political food chain. I have often argued with people who say that their vote doesn’t matter. It drives me nuts to hear that and, unfortunately for them, they say that to the wrong person and promptly receive a mini Poli. Sci. 101 lesson. I can’t help it. I get on a roll because I feel so passionately about people becoming involved and ‘putting their money where their mouth is’. I feel even stronger about women getting involved. I know we have a lot on our plates with either school, career, children or elderly parents (sometimes all at once). I, for one, have limited my involvement because I want to spend as much time as possible with my toddler because I can never get these early days with her back. But, believe me, I intend to take my daughter around with me (when age appropriate) passing out literature, attending rallies, watching debates, teaching her about candidates and why they argue, so that she can be informed, involved and active like me.
Thus, I hope that all women take a cue from the lives of women in the Senate, the Congress, state and local officials and from the women in this campaign cycle. It is possible to make an impact and make a difference. Get involved, register to vote, study the issues and please call your local party headquarters and see how you can be part of the future, now. Most importantly: you can vote apply for absentee voter registration now and begin voting at the Board of Elections on October 7th!