Most days I try to stay away from politics. I like to chat with people about everything under the sun, but when the discussion turns to politics, folks have the opportunity to turn into two types of people I am not terribly fond of, those that just nod at everything said and don’t really state their opinions (these are the people I think are secretly judging me), and those that SHOUT their beliefs in your face, even though they don’t have any facts or information to back up their political positions; these people also tend not to want to listen to your ideas after they have shouted theirs…you have to wait for them to go horse first. (Disclaimer: I know there are those people who can discuss their political ideas with the most respect and honesty, but I don’t seem to hang out in the same places these folks do.)
This election, however, I am feeling a bit more drawn in, and as I think about it, I am able to directly link it to the fact that I am a woman, and women’s “rights” have been thrown into the discussion from the beginning of these campaigns. It perks my interest, makes me want to know what other people-most of all other women- think-even the “shouty” ones.
There is a lot resting on the outcomes of this upcoming election: reproductive healthcare, women as potential political leaders, and how we define heinous assaults against women in our country. But what does it all mean to us as women. We have all been shaped differently by our childhoods, our work, our families, so by default, we will all have different opinions about these matters. This is one of the election years where women will be a VERY important pool of voters.
However, I would like to point out one very crucial thing…for the last 28 years, women have shown up more to vote than men, and in 2008, around 70.4 million women turned out to vote vs. 60.7 million men (Source: http://www.scvotes.org/2012/10/24/truth_vs_myth_2012_general_election). Why it would take an election centered on women to identify women as an “Important Pool” has me floored. Is it because there are more women like me in the world who view speaking about politics as uncomfortable and inappropriate in a social setting? Is it because while women are the voting majority, we are still the vocal minority when it comes to discussing bills and laws and politics directly affecting our bodies, our lives?
I am charging the women reading this blog to do something for me today, for women who fought for our right to vote, for women who fought for our right to be treated FAIRLY (Best quote I have ever heard, “Fair is not always equal.”), talk to another woman today about her thoughts on the upcoming election. Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to get a view from someone other than a newscaster or reports. AND once you have done that, go out and VOTE. Vote because of your beliefs, and leave knowing you at least KNEW both sides of the argument.
by Taylor Wilson, Communications Specialist, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy