"Just Tell Them...
I have worked 40 years to make the Women's Suffrage platform broad enough for Atheists and Agnostics to stand upon, and now if need be I will fight the next 40 to keep it Catholic enough to permit the straightest Orthodox religionist to speak or pray and count her beads upon."
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony
Monday, January 19, 2009
Preparing Your Comebacks for the 51% Argument: Proportional Representation is the New Women's Suffrage
I was reading HEIDI LI'S BLOG about her 51% effort this morning. And it got me thinking....
Yesterday I wore my buttons from THE NEW AGENDA to generate conversation. And they worked! Folks at my church (a progressive denomination) were actually quite shocked to know how disproportional was women's representation in our government. They had never thought about THAT.
We "Feminists" nowadays, tend to think about a few high profile women... like Hillary Clinton, or Sarah Palin. We look at their accomplishments and convince ourselves that we have "made it." In fact, though, we have a very long way to go.
Look at it this way: Proportional Representation *is* the New Women's Suffrage. We're going to need to stand on some very powerful shoulders to accomplish what Fifty-One Percent, and The New Agenda have set out to do. We're going to have to go beyond PUMA. We need to reach across the chasm of party divide... to bring in women from BOTH sides of the proverbial aisle.
When I post about my new buttons, or 51% on MY TEAM SARAH PAGE I receive a wholly different kind of reaction than I did at the UU church. There I see what I will call a "typical Conservative comeback." Grounded in thinking that, in essence, holds it's NOT about having *women* in govenment, it's about having GOOD women. No matter how few their numbers.
My response to this kind of "Conservative logic" is thus: "Yes, and it's about having good men too."
It is true, perhaps, that if we only count "good women" in our percentages.... the ratio will actually be less balanced. But, if we only count "good men", as well I bet it would be more balanced. (No matter what yardstick they are using to measure "good" at this point you see the lightbulb come on.)
These are the kinds of discussions I get when I post about 51%, or wear my New Agenda buttons. From the Left, surprise. From the Right, cynicism (and maybe disdain, if they perceive 51% as a form of "affirmative action.") I'm aware that I need to be ready with my comebacks. And I'd love to hear your ideas as well!
I'd like to end this post with a couple of quotes from Susan B. Anthony. These, I feel, offer us a blueprint for how to proceed with The New Women's Suffrage. Because we will not be successful unless we can answer the concerns of women from both "Liberal" and "Conservative" backgrounds.
• What you should say to outsiders is that a Christian has neither more nor less rights in our Association than an atheist. When our platform becomes too narrow for people of all creeds and of no creeds, I myself shall not stand upon it.
• I tell them I have worked 40 years to make the Women's Suffrage platform broad enough for Atheists and Agnostics to stand upon, and now if need be I will fight the next 40 to keep it Catholic enough to permit the straightest Orthodox religionist to speak or pray and count her beads upon. ~ Susan B. Anthony
(Many thinks to Goldie, at WOMEN IN POLITICS for calling these two quotes to my attention.)
ADDENDUM: Also suggested: HOW TO GET FROM 17% to 50%. by Cynthia Ruccia.