T-Minus 8 Days

October 27, 2008

The election is a week away and frankly, I’m pretty ready for it to be
here and happening. There’s one part of the news though that I will
not miss when it stops being a 24 hour coverage of Obama and McCain.
I’m sick of the sexist nature of the commentary. If women are voting
for McCain/Palin, they’re doing it “because she’s a woman” and
Democrats are ripping into them because they’re voting the gender
card. If women are voting for Obama/Biden, they’re accused of not
standing up for their gender and isn’t it important to get a woman in
the White House, one way or another?

When did my gender become my only reason for voting? And when did it
become the only thing that politicians, pollsters and journalists
cared about? I’m almost 26 and gender is not my top priority this
November. Would I have voted for Clinton happily? Yes, but that’s
because I agreed with her policies, not her gender. Next Tuesday, I
will be voting for my economic future and the economic future of my
friends and family. I will vote for national security and the shaky
reputation we have on the international stage – I follow Australian
blogs that are watching our presidential race avidly, half out of
interest and half out of fear. I will vote for health care and
infrastructure and the environment and my right to choose what happens
to my body.

I guess, the purpose of this is to say that I’m sick of being told I
should be voting one way or another because of my gender. To me, the
strongest voices women can bring to the polls next week are those that
speak up and speak strong for what they believe in. Isn’t that part of
what we’ve been fighting for all along? Feminism isn’t just a numbers
game to me – whether or not we have a woman president, and I can’t
wait for the day that we do, or a female Chief Justice, Speaker of the
House or President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Feminism is the belief
that women have a say in the policy and shaping of our Nation because
our voices are equal to our male partners. Just because we’re not
sitting at the head of the table doesn’t mean we don’t have a deep
impact on the daily events in our great Nation’s history.

It’s part of what drew me to Running Start actually – that we
encourage women to take that step forward and run for office on every
level. The more women at the table, the more we can affect change in
the lives of our families, friends and neighbors.

Next Tuesday, when you go to pull the lever at your local voting
station, touch the screen, fill in the bubble or put the stamp on your
mail-in ballot, do your research and decide based on what believe and
what you want to see happen over the next four years – not on the
gender of the candidate. A win for a woman simply because she’s a
woman is not a step forward for feminism in my mind – it’s a step back
because she wins because she’s being judged as a woman, not a person.

-Rachael Berkey

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