While we continue to celebrate the barrier that fell yesterday as we elected our first African American President of the United States, let’s not forget that the promise of America remains denied to 52% of the US population.
So I guess today could be described as “bittersweet” for many of us.
From today’s Washington Post:
Note to Tom Toles: I’m still waiting for “ratification” for women.
Here is a short response to Michael Gerson’s essay in today’s Washington Post:
Dear Michael Gerson:
Thank you for your essay in today’s Washington Post. I agree that we can all be proud that a barrier has fallen and that history has been made in electing the first African American president. It is certainly a time to celebrate.
However, I take issue with your statement that the election is “the most dramatic possible demonstration that the promise of America – so long deferred – is not a lie.”
It is certainly “a” demonstration. However, please consider that the promise of America remains deferred for me and for all women.
In the US, fifty years after women entered the workforce in record numbers, we are paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar men make. Women in the US are greatly under-represented in our elected offices (only 16% of our federal elected offices, with no appreciable gain in this election cycle). Although many of us have been speaking up about the misogyny in the campaigns and in the media, these issues have been ignored, or treated as a joke, by the mainstream media. We have had to endure “Iron My Shirts” signs and “99 Problems But a Bitch Ain’t One,” aimed at Senator Clinton; pro-rape essays and videos and depictions of extreme violence aimed at Governor Palin and the “Palin is a C—” t-shirts posted on Senator Obama’s web site. There has been an incredible barage of sexism from the media aimed at both Sen. Clinton and Gov. Palin, and any woman who dared to open her mouth and speak up against it. Hate speech and hate crime laws are generally not applicable to crimes against women because they are women. Violence against women in America has been, and continues to be, a national epidemic and shame.
In the US, the Equal Rights Amendment for women has been at a standstill for decades. Women’s basic rights around the world are denied as a matter of law in many countries.
So, I’m happy to see history made, but please excuse me if I don’t celebrate too much today.