Bargell: What (this) woman wants, since you asked
October 30, 2012
Not a claim for a sub-3-hour marathon. I’d venture to say that most folks who run a marathon know their time to the minute, if not the second. Runner’s World even took it upon themselves to call all the folks who finished around Mr. Ryan, and every one of them had a very good recollection of their marathon time, even though it was 20 some-odd years ago. To be fair, I am a runner and maybe that is why this bothered me so. While I understand Mr. Ryan has bigger fish to fry at present, this claim still sticks in my craw, and makes me wonder if it speaks to larger issues of overall honesty.
Not a claim that there is legislation that guarantees equal pay for women. There is not. One of the first calls I received early in this political journey was from a polite woman asking me to support President Obama. The first thing she mentioned was passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that guarantees equal pay for women. I did not then, and I do not now doubt her sincerity. In fact, the call prompted me to read both the Lilly Ledbetter case and the Lilly Ledbetter legislation. The law does in fact extend the statute of limitations, allowing additional time to bring an action under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. There are several reasons why this is helpful to women who have been unfairly discriminated against. But there also are several issues that arise when claims for prior misconduct can be raised long after the individuals who played a role in the decision have departed. Accordingly, the impact of the law requires reasoned consideration, but it doesn’t guarantee equal pay. Allowing it to be cast in this light to win votes speaks to larger issues of overall honesty.
My gender, my religion and my ethnicity do not give me a basis to judge the way you choose to cast your vote. Judgment leads to division, and polarization rarely leads to progress. Women (just like men) will and should make decisions based upon what they believe will advance us a nation. There are people who feel so passionately about reproductive rights (or on the flip side the right to life) that this may be the single most important question that informs their vote. That is their right – it certainly does not make them ignorant, or less informed. With some understanding of what events would have to transpire to overturn Roe v. Wade, coupled with my personal belief that the government has no place in either making, or paying for, personal reproductive decisions, this will not be the issue that swings my vote, in either direction.
My family placed a high value on a college education. Maybe because just two generations back college really was a dream, and not an expected course of action. Both leading presidential candidates graduated from Harvard Law School. While I recognize being an attorney is not rocket science, I do respect the fact they had the chance to learn at the highly regarded institution. As a lawyer, if my clients want to know where I went to school (not Harvard) and how I fared (just fine) it seems like a reasonable request. Their engagement is based, at least in part, on that background. It is therefore difficult to understand why school applications and transcripts have become secret documents. Employers routinely ask for transcripts, and while I’m not offering five million dollars to find out how Mr. Obama did in Constitutional law, his refusal to produce the information probably is more disturbing than what the documents would reveal. The same goes for tax returns. If you want to make policy decisions about tax rates and the restructuring of the tax code, don’t shy away from letting us take a look at your returns. Thus far, what I’ve found out is far less disturbing than the fact the information was withheld for such a long period of time.
There are additional issues and concerns that will fill the editorial pages for days to come, and I will continue to read with interest the letters that pour in. But what I really want is not to be bombarded with any more ads telling me how I have to vote – as a woman. Take me off the call list please – that vote, as an American, has been cast.
Cindy Bargell is a mother and attorney who lives outside of Silverthorne. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.