What I can’t help but wonder in all this fury over the relative necessity to put a woman in the White House (one with a voice, one with “issues, and ideas” — as opposed to one who is seeking to make an impact at the Ladies Brunch on Tuesday afternoons) is what is really the basis of the resistance to this initiative. I suspect that there is a good bit of 19th Century moral indignation and male hubris. After all, aren’t women supposed to be the “helpmates” in a marriage? Are we not supposed to support our husband’s social, political and business goals? Aren’t we supposed to fulfill our role as “wife” by also becoming mothers? And if we do THAT, when are we going to have time and energy to pursue a career in politics, much less attempt to follow the path to the presidency?
I know that women are equally capable of holding the same conservative opinions of the “role of women” in America as men are. I’m sure some of us (perhaps many or most of us) think that a woman sitting being the great desk in the Oval Office would be faced with having to make perilous decisions about the fate of issues that deeply impact our role as women. The abortion issue is front and center here. But so is our role as “helpmate” to our husbands.
I don’t think the issue of who gets to be First, who gets to make the difficult decisions about the financial goals of the primary wage earner, and the secondary wage earner (or housemate, if not a wage earner), social decisions about how the children (if any) are to be educated for their roles in society, and whether the woman should have a child or not, have yet been resolved for a great many of us modern women here in America today.
The issue of the status of women is still an open battlefield in a lot of relationships between us. There would not continue to be daily news about abusive spouses if it were fundamentally resolved in a way that is satisfying to the larger majority of us — both our men and us women.
Putting a woman in the Oval Office wouldn’t resolve this issue — it could very well exacerbate it, depending on her private opinions. And as we all surely must know, there is no absolute control yet articulated in our Constitution, or in our social values system, that prevents a woman from withholding her private opinions on this issue, or from misstating her intentions and her beliefs until after she is elected as our president.
I would love to say with pride that we are an honest people, a god-loving people, and a nation of people who generally uphold our laws and our expressed social values. But I see far too much evidence to the contrary on the news each night, and in the published works — the papers and the books. Most often, until we have our grasp on the positions of power and influence, we will say and do anything…whatever it takes, to get our grasp on that power.
So how can we possibly expect that a woman, having finally achieved the pinnacle of power and success, having finally been appointed as our president, would adhere to the best principles of congressional law, and NOT begin exploiting her role and her political power to get what she things women have always deserved, but have always been denied?
I think that is the underlying reason a lot of people (particularly men) feel women in leadership roles will be prone to abusing their power. On no, we don’t articulate this fear, but it is nevertheless real, and present, for a lot of our men, and some of our women. I think they will continue to do everything they can to prevent a woman from getting hold of the great Hammer of Justice and Power in the Presidency, until…unless we finally grow beyond our resentments of each other (men vs. women). (But of course, we would never articulate this truth opening in the courts of public opinion….)