Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Which is More Important - Diversity or Ideology?

I am a solid Democrat and I generally vote a straight party ticket, but this year's election results made me think a little harder about diversity and ideology. 

Republicans put forth candidates that included women, minorities and even (gasp) gays. 

Just let that sink in a little before you go off on how female Republicans are just like men that will set back the woman's movement 100 years.  Take a moment to realize that the party I've grown to associate (some say unfairly) with racism, sexism and homophobia presented us with a whole bunch of non-male, non-white, non-male candidates. They even ran some openly gay men, though they lost.  

image: http://politicalhat.com

I don't think I would vote for a Republican woman over a Democratic man. I'm not saying that x and y chromosomes, skin color, or sexual orientation are more important factors than political ideology in my elected officials. But I have to admit that my heart rejoiced a little bit to see diversity in the other party.

Susan B. Anthony wanted all women to vote, not just women that shared her beliefs. I would think that she would want women in Congress, even if they did not share her political beliefs as well. I'm not saying good ole Susan B. would vote for any woman that ran for office, but she would fight like hell for their right to run, of that I'm sure of, and she would probably think more women in office was a good thing for America. 

This made me wonder, which is more important to me as a feminist - that women are represented equally in Congress, or that people holding feminist values are represented in Congress?

The truth is, of course, that I want both. I want both feminist men and women to be elected to all elected positions.  I want my political party to win, and I want a government that is representative of all of America. I want our leaders to look like us, and Americans are a diverse group of people. 

My ex-husband and I used to argue decade ago over who was more electable, a white woman or a black man.  I always said a white Republican woman, because feminist women would cross party lines to vote for her. I assumed I would vote for any woman that ran for the oval office.  That was before I had heard of Sarah Palin.   

When Hillary was running against Obama in the primary a few years back, my lesbian parents nearly came to blows. (OK, not really, but it was a little tense.)  One parent wanted Hillary because she was a woman, the other wanted Obama because he wasn't business as usual.  I voted for Obama.  It helped my guilt that he was black.  Was I a traitor to my gender and feminist beliefs by doing so?

The fact that we have a choice between a woman and a Democrat is a good thing. I like that the Republicans are sloughing off their "bunch of old white guys" image.  I love that our society will elect women even if I don't care for them personally.  This is huge growth. 

My point is that were the suffragettes here today, they would be ecstatic that so many women were in office.  Hopefully we will see truly equal representation between both parties someday for all minorities.   I see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

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