Why are politics so hard to discuss?
If the Wizard of Oz can’t “see” the wisdom of his daughter’s political beliefs, then she snaps his head off like a snapping turtle to a fish. Ouch!
My 30-year-old daughter asked me why there have been no female US presidents. Foreign countries have had female leaders. India, Israel, and Sri Lanka were ably lead by women in the 1960’s. In the 1970’s there was Argentina, Isabel Perón (don’t forget the fiery Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who was elected in 2007); the Central African Republic, Elisabeth Domitien; Portugal, Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo; and United Kingdom, the memorable Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher. Canada now has Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister, but it also has Julie Payette as Governor General. In 2011, Mexico came close with Josefina Vázquez Mota, but like Hillary, close was not good enough. The list goes on and on, and includes of note, Theresa May and Angela Merkel.
In Norway and Denmark where Oz was vacationing with his daughter, they tout female heads of state to visiting American tourist, as if to say they are so much more advanced. Maybe they are. In 2011, those happy Danes elected Helle Thorning Schmidt president, putting the Social Democrats in power. And since 2013, the Norwegians have been guided by a female conservative named Erna Solberg. (France has never elected a female head of state, but who wants to be like France?)
This is all new news in Europe, but it doesn’t have to be now that the taboo has been broken.
Is the problem the patriarchal system in the US?
The idea of the man as the sole breadwinner, the head of the household, went out the door in the seventies. Sure, not everyone was on board. Sure, there have been bumps in the road to progress, i.e. equal rights, equal pay, equal treatment has been and still is a subject for national and local debate. We have come a long way and there is a longer way to go.
There have been female candidates, though most people would be hard pressed to mention one other than Hillary Clinton who lost to Donald Trump in 2016. That has been a sore subject to many women who ascribe Hillary’s loss to a misogynist attitude in politics. We are not quite ready to be told what to do by a “broad,” some troglodytes say.
Experience is a factor, but then again.
There have not been as many women experienced in politics as men. Ah, but my daughter points out Donald Trump’s lack of political experience, and she is right. We do not always elect leaders based on their political background. George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, Dwight Eisenhower all got elected without first holding political office. But they were generals, leaders of men and women in battle, saviors of our country.
Perhaps, what is needed is “a leap of confidence,” but whether the leap be made by the voting public or the female candidate, or both, remains the question.
It may seem strange to quote music from The Sound of Music at this point. After all, the plot is an outdated non-PC stereotype – a confused young girl wants to get married.
Caution to the wind, here goes.
Picture Maria (Julie Andrews) leaving the sisterhood and the convent with guitar in hand to take a job as governess to a wealthy Austrian aristocrat. It is a musical, so she breaks out in song as she skips down the road.
“So, let them bring on all their problems,
I’ll do better than my best.
I have confidence
They’ll put me to the test!
But I’ll make them see
I have confidence in me.
Somehow I will impress them.
I will be firm, but kind.
And all those children
Heaven bless them
They will look up to me
And mind me!
With each step I am more certain,
Everything will turn out fine.
I have confidence,
The world can all be mine!
They’ll have to agree
I have confidence in me.
Let’s leave it at this, “it has been a long time coming, but a change is going to come.”