Tuesday, March 8, 2016

It’s nice to see how common the idea of females in government has become

I didn’t realize what I was doing until after I cast my ballot at an early voting center for next week’s primary election – I picked women for the nominations for the three government posts that have serious challengers.

DUCKWORTH: Send her to Senate
As I previously wrote, I finally overcame my reluctance to get enthused about the Hillary R. Clinton presidential dreams enough to vote for her.

WHILE ALSO GIVING my support in the U.S. Senate primary to Tammy Duckworth to challenge Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., in the November general election. And also casting a primary vote for Anita Alvarez to keep her political post for Cook County state’s attorney.

Not that it was some sort of unique pick – in the state’s attorney Democratic primary, all of the choices were women. I’m sure there already will be people ready to lambast me for not preferring Kim Foxx or Donna More for the post.

While for the U.S. Senate, I could also have considered Andrea Zopp. Only Hillary didn’t have other women running against her, and I just couldn’t seriously think of  casting a ballot for Willie Wilson – he of the failed mayoral bid and likely to be equally unsuccessful for president next Tuesday.

But it feels like evidence of the continued evolution of our political structure that the three political posts for which there were serious choices to make (all of the others in my South Side district were people running unopposed, or just against token challengers) wound up producing so many female challengers.

NOW I KNOW there probably will be some people who won’t want to acknowledge this as anything significant. Perhaps they want to believe gender shouldn’t be a factor.

Although I’d argue it is people who think that way who truly are the problem. Because it’s as though they fantasize about a day when women don’t get elected any longer and we can go back to the days of all-male officials who don’t have to take into account the concerns of other types of people.

ALVAREZ: Not perfect, but who is?
In short, the people who are the bulk of the voters who have given Republican Donald Trump many of his primary election and caucus victories thus far.

We aren’t anywhere near the point where gender (or ethnicity or race) isn’t relevant. So I find it worth noting that my own ballot wound up producing so many potential female nominees for the Democratic ballot.

THEN AGAIN, I’M also not young enough to be of an age that would think the presence of women in government is routine.

I was in high school back when Jane Byrne won the Chicago mayoral election – the one we now regard as largely a fluke of the weather and a government official’s inability to control the situation.

CLINTON: Can she trump Trump?
While my first ballot cast in the 1984 election cycle was the one that gave us Geraldine Ferraro as a vice-presidential candidate (a move we now remember as presidential hopeful Walter Mondale’s act of desperation in his failed bid to defeat incumbent Ronald Reagan.

Even as recently as the 1998 election cycle when Illinois got its first female lieutenant governor (remember Corinne Wood?), many political-watchers joked that the accomplishment was only achieved because she ran against Mary Lou Kearns for the Democrats.

SO BEING ABLE to so easily cast a ballot with such a strong female presence felt, to me, like something significant – and perhaps a blow against those voters who probably think they’re saving us from “those broads” when they vote against them.

Honestly, I think I picked the best candidates on the Democratic ballot (although I expect serious challenges to my choice for state’s attorney), even though I’ll admit that when it comes to all of those judicial candidates, sometimes I’ll deliberately vote for the female.

Just to counter the people who seriously think it makes sense to vote for anyone with an “O’” or a “Mc” or anything else Irish-sounding who happens to appear on their ballot.


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