The recent Press & Sun-Bulletin Guest Viewpoint, “Should women consider gender when voting?” represents a great opportunity for a teachable moment. The authors are identified as members of the Democratic Women of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, a 14-county organization that identifies, encourages and supports qualified women interested in running for political office. Based on this alone, would anyone think it credible that these authors see politics any other way than through the prism of gender?
The title of their editorial poses a question that requires a yes or no answer, yet they fail to actually posit their conclusion, choosing instead to bemoan the fact that, according to their information, only 29% of office holders are women when they represent 51% of the population. What would be a much more useful determinate of reality would be to know what percentage of elected offices fielded female candidates. Undoubtedly that number is much higher that the 29% who were successfully elected as opposed to those who ran and were defeated. Isn’t it fair for voters to decide that a candidate, even a woman, isn’t the right candidate? The author’s data simply indicates women who won, not really useful information.
In an essay of less than 500 words, the authors use the term “woman” or “female” some 50 times. Replace those terms with “black” or “Hispanic” and all of a sudden the tenor and tone of the subject matter changes dramatically; why, because we have been so brainwashed into a stupefied state of political correctness, we can scarcely see the reality of our thoughts and words until someone not affected by that fog of bigotry brings it to our attention.
Consider the title of the essay, substituting black for woman:
The new title: “Should blacks consider race when voting?”
Here is just one other example, using exactly the same words as the authors, substituting the word woman or female with the word black.
“Obviously, blacks vote for blacks. If blacks never voted for black candidates, no black could win elections. But why are some black voters hesitant about supporting blacks? All things being equal, why don’t black candidates get a bump from blacks?”
While the above paragraph might make most readers squirm, somehow when the authors say the exact same thing about women, no one notices. I believe this is representative of the so-called soft bigotry of low expectations, ironically doled out in this case by the very group of woman supposedly opposed to and appalled by such attitudes.
Promoting a gender, a race, a religion, a nationality, all of it is bigotry, even when the practitioner thinks her cause noble. We have to focus on the quality of the candidate, not using the scorecard of, do we have enough, blacks, Hispanics, women, etc. What we need are high quality candidates and frankly, I don’t care in what color or gender that package is wrapped.