Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A Government Of the Women, By the Women, For the People

Photo by Vonecia Carswell on Unsplash

I want women in the highest offices in the land. It’s long past time.

Note: When I started this essay, Kamala Harris was still one of the three candidates figuring into my story about wanting a woman in the White House. Now I have to revise this, because yesterday afternoon word came that she was dropping out. The money just wasn’t there. She might have had the support but without the money she couldn’t go on. (Meanwhile, two male billionaires will be able to stay in as long as they want, never mind that neither of them has a chance in hell of winning the nomination.To say our election process is kerflooey is an understatement.)

So instead of the three women I thought I could highlight, I’m now down to two. But I’ll go on:

Until now I’ve been on the fence about Democratic presidential candidates, but a couple of nights ago, in the wee hours, it came to me that what I really want is for a woman to win. I’m down now to either Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar.

I want a woman in the White House, I want female majorities in the House, in the Senate, and, if we could ever pull it off, in the Supreme Court. I want those women to be Democrats, but I’d give Independents a hard look. I can’t think of a single female Republican I would trust with those jobs, and if that sounds harsh, too bad. They’ve brought it on themselves.

But back to my two:

Photo: Kathleen Gilligan — Detroit Free Press
Both women are smart, qualified, and are working on plans as we speak. Neither of them are novices. They’re seasoned politicos who know the system. They might look for compromise, even when compromise is seen as weak and namby-pamby (and kind of girly), but they’re both strong enough (and seasoned enough) to see past the BS and get what they want.

They’d both work well with Nancy Pelosi.

They’re tough cookies you never have to be afraid of — unless you’re on the other side. Their own unique assets are their weapons, but they never have to hit below the belt. They’re not hiding anything. They don’t think they’re God’s gift to humankind.

They’re not men.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is from academia and is smart about a whole lot of things, but her strongest asset is that Wall Street sees her as their most formidable enemy. They’ll do everything they can to make sure she doesn’t win because they know she’ll be working even harder to take away their power. They’ve had run-ins with her before. A sorry spectacle.

She exudes a kind of scholarly wisdom, but in a way that’s sort of down-home friendly. She doesn’t brag, she doesn’t talk down, she gets up close and personal. She’s savvy enough to to know how to get under Trump’s skin, and she’ll always come out on top. When he resorts to silly name-calling, she’ll resort to plain facts. And she won’t let up. She won’t back down.

Amy Klobuchar is a rock-solid Midwesterner with a blue-collar background. She’s a former prosecutor and a senator who announced her campaign entry while standing outside in a raging blizzard. She’s no white-bread sissy, so you can get that out of your head. I wrote about Amy a while back — musing about my own need for her kind of strength and comfort — and she’s still growing on me. I could see her dealing with our adversaries, both at home and abroad, and coming out smiling. Nothing seems to trigger her. She’s unflappable.

And now a word about Kamala Harris. I’m sorry she had to drop out. I know her campaign had problems, and maybe she didn’t strike that chord — whatever that chord is — but there’s no doubt she could have done the job. If she had won the primary I would have worked hard for her. She would have brought a refreshing take-no-prisoners toughness to the White House while caring deeply for children and the underclass. But she’s still a senator and a damned good one. Her time will come. I have no doubt.

I want a woman to be president in 2020. My choices now are either Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar. I don’t care about their histories, their ancestry, their flaws, or their “likability”. I care about their hearts, their minds, their vision, and their ability to do the job.

I know for a fact that each of them would choose cabinets reflecting the needs of a country battered and exhausted by an authoritarian regime bent on creating America’s first dictator. When Donald Trump is gone, when the Republican cowards who enabled him are gone, I want a leader who can start the healing process and bring us back to that place where we don’t have to hide in shame. I want a leader who is a government insider who understands the constitution and the rule of law. I want a leader who sees no problem with nurturing the sick, the poor, and the miserable. I want the next president to be a woman.

We formed the presidency in 1787. That’s 232 years without a single woman as president. It’s time. It’s long past time. And if it doesn’t happen in 2020, it’ll be because of a concerted effort to makes sure it’s always men in charge. It won’t be because the female candidate wasn’t worthy. That’s not going to wash this time.

(My apologies to Juli├ín Castro. If it wasn’t for my very real need for a woman in the White House this time, you would be right up there on the list. I really am sorry. You’re one of the good guys and it’s a shame, but even you have to admit a country having been established for more than two centuries without once electing a female president is really pretty ridiculous.)

(Update: Michigan's primary is on March 10. I've cast my absentee ballot for Elizabeth Warren.)