By Melanie Maynor, Esq.

In November of 2020, we voters once again have the privilege of making our voices heard. We will take to the ballot box and cast our individual votes for who we want for the next president of the USA. It is time that we break the “rule of the white male” and elect our first woman president. There are six women running for president of the United States. Each woman is uniquely qualified in her own right and way.

In response to Ted Bosen’s letter to the editor regarding Bernie Sanders, I say not so fast! Ted claims that “Bernie Sander’s platform stands alone atop the leaderboard when it comes to policies that Democratic Primary voters truly want.” I disagree with what he asserts democratic voters truly want. I assert that what democratic voters really want are: to be heard, that their voices and their issues matter; that whoever is elected truly represents them; and more importantly for some, someone who can beat Trump.

1. GENDER MATTERS! When men talk for women, or talk over women, the message is clear: Women can’t speak for themselves, and/or what they have to say isn’t as important as what a man has to say. Women were raised to “know their place.” Point in case, anyone remember the Tom Jones’ song, “She’s a Lady?” That song defines what a lady was supposed to be according to “society,” basically, “knowing her place.” Sanders appeals to the faction in our society, and this community, that clings to the old-school, patriarchal system. You know, the one that espouses that the man is the final decision maker, the one to properly solve any and all problems, the one that is in charge of doling out punishment, the one who will save the day, and all of us with it. Think about the white knight from the fairy tales. He is the “good” knight, who comes to rescue the damsel in distress, and defeats whatever evil villain is threatening the community, usually a person of color or another woman.

2. GENDER MATTERS! Representational government means that we vote for someone who represents us, our voices, our issues. Since the founding of this country, the president has been a man. Women were property. Women were considered to be akin to children, not capable of dealing with intellectual issues. That time is over! Take a look at the policies put forth by each of the six women and you will see that each one represents the issues important to democrats in their own way. Pick the one that best represents what you believe in.

3. GENDER MATTERS! The other issue that is important to democrats is “Who can beat Trump?” In an online article by “Vox,” the author, Ana North, had this to say about a woman debating Trump:

"But treating debate as a literal d*ck-measuring contest doesn’t work when your opponent is a woman. Instead, Trump has typically resorted to insulting women’s appearance, as when he reportedly said of Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina, 'Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?' He’s also tried physical intimidation, looming creepily behind Hillary Clinton on the debate stage. At a rally soon after, he insulted her body, saying, 'when she walked in front of me, believe me, I wasn’t impressed.'"

But women, especially those who have been in the public eye, are unfortunately used to these tactics. Take E. Jean Carroll, who says that Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. In response to her story, Trump said she was “not my type” — Carroll, who wrote in New York magazine that Trump was one of several men to attack her over the course of her life, fired back, “I’m so glad I’m not his type.”

Clinton, meanwhile, has written that Trump’s looming made her “incredibly uncomfortable.” But she chose to ignore him and didn’t let it affect her debate performance. “Maybe I have overlearned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world,” she wrote in her 2017 book "What Happened."

GENDER MATTERS! Ted’s letter presents from a male point of view, since he doesn’t address women’s issues. Women make up about one-half of the U.S. population, and so we have some additional issues we would like to be considered important. Let’s start with women’s health care and reproductive rights. This is a MAJOR issue for women, but one that was conveniently (inadvertently?) left out of Ted’s list of Bernie’s agenda that apparently the rest of the Democratic candidates simply parrot to try to distinguish themselves from each other. Ted calls Bernie “the architect of real change,” and predicts that Bernie will emerge as the standard-bearer for what most voters really want. However, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are currently emerging as the front-runners for what most voters (male AND female) really want, which is a woman president that is qualified, competent, intelligent and experienced, and that can beat Trump. Harris and Warren exemplify all of these qualities.

Warren has proven her ability to address issues with solid plans. Harris removed any doubt that she can take on the “big boys,” during the debate when she took Biden on over forced school busing to desegregate students. These women don’t need to stand on Bernie’s shoulders, or be called “Bernie-wannabees;” each stands proudly and independently on her own.

What I have come to realize though, is that there is a lack of an actual understanding of our constitution and the government it created. The constitution created three co-equal branches of government: the executive, the legislature and the judicial. No one branch has greater power than the other two. Currently, Trump is attempting to make the judicial and the legislative branches subservient to the executive branch, which would place our nation in a constitutional crisis, and talk of a possible second civil war, all to satiate his ego, not to keep America great.

The individuals who are holding on to the old school patriarchal system for dear life are trying, mainly through fear mongering, to convince us that their way is the best and only way. Let’s take a look at some of the ways they are doing this:

1. The war on women: If you ask the Republicans, there is no war on women. Right!

a. How about all those states passing laws stripping a woman’s right to make her own health-care decisions, such as whether or not to use contraception (that is if she can even afford it), and whether or not to go full term with a pregnancy, or to abort instead. This is a highly controversial issue, and these decisions are being made by men for women.

b. Once a woman has been forced to take a pregnancy to full term, what happens then? Some women struggle to provide for the child(ren), needing welfare. Some women make the most difficult decision to give the child up for adoption. Some women end up losing the child due to abuse or neglect. And, sometimes, the father actually steps in to take care of the child.

c. What about pregnancies due to rape or incest, or the health of the mother? The question of whether to allow a woman to decide for herself if she chooses to abort has been blown away and replaced with the question of whether the men making the laws should allow for any exceptions to their decision that a woman should not be allow to abort.

2. The economy: The economy is touted as the best in generations, with the lowest unemployment rate in years.

a. There is this thing called the domino effect. Everyone is familiar with it to some degree. It is also called cause and effect. What are the repercussions of a particular action? Henry Ford understood some very basic economic principles, specifically paying his workers a decent wage. His moto was to make sure he paid his workers enough money so that they could afford to buy his product. It is a simple concept, but one that we seem to miss today. If we want a strong economy, we need a strong middle class and we need to eliminate poverty. Any system is only as strong as the weakest link. We all know that. But, do we really? What is the weakest link in this country? The answer is the old patriarchal hierarchy. The country has changed since its inception in 1776. The most significant changes include establishing that all men AND women are created equal, resulting in the abolishment of slavery, the empowerment, including the right to vote and education of women so that they are no longer legally the property of men. Amazingly enough there are strong advocates against this. There are voices from people in this town who on a fairly regular basis write letters to the editor or post on our communities’ Facebook pages why the old systems should stay in place, rather than shifting and changing with the times. These voices ignore the domino effect. Simply put the voices are shouting their fear of loss to the entire community. They fear the loss of the patriarchal power. They fear the loss of their status as men. They fear the loss of whatever illusion of control they wield. They fear. Many of them fear the empowerment of women and will blame women as the root of all problems.

b. Simply put, the old patriarchal systems, specifically, a plutocracy or an oligarchy do not work for the good of all. "Plutocracy" is government by the rich or the wealthy class, but “oligarchy” is not necessarily so! An oligarchy is government by the "few." ... Obviously the wealthy can often buy power but if a system of plutocracy and oligarchy occurred at the same time (government by a "few" wealthy people), this would be termed a PLUTARCHY.

c. A better model is based on the concept of Ubuntu. Ubuntu philosophy is a Nguni Bantu term meaning "humanity." It is often translated as "I am because we are," or "humanity towards others," but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity." The philosophy of Ubuntu is synonymous with the Christian Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The current patriarchal systems don’t work because they have lost their humanity.

Another white male is not the answer to our future. The answer lies in a woman president.

Melanie Maynor, an attorney with an office in Berlin, also holds a masters degree in communication and organization.

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