I’m pretty old. I lived through being at left home when the boys went off to little league, and having to take cooking class when I was more interested in building things, just because I was female.
I lived through a time when a wife couldn’t get a credit card without her husband’s signature, and through a time when classified ads were labeled “male” or “female” instead of “professional” or “medical” or what have you. On the bright side, I also remember when employers fully paid for your health insurance and when you went to the doctor, you had no balance left to pay after your visit.
I’m the daughter of a conservative mother and a very politically liberal dad. A critical thinker, principled to a fault, he managed to convince me, against a lot of stacked odds, that I could be anything I wanted to be. I lost a lot, and I gained a lot in that struggle, but when I found myself divorced in my early thirties, I didn’t fold, I literally chased one of my dreams down the highway. I spent more than a million miles in this male dominated profession and did my job as well as anyone. When people taunted me, I still called them “hand” and rolled on down the road alongside them, keeping up the unspoken “old school” rules of how you do your job. I chatted on the CB, helping the same drivers who might have taunted me the day before to stay awake and make those last few miles to a safe haven with the shiny side still up. I’ve been on both the giving and receiving end of a free meal, a roadside repair, and a ride to the nearest truck stop.
It’s a personal moment of joy for me every time a new woman driver says that she’s gotten her CDL and can now look forward to being able to be independent and feed her family. I know what it’s like to confront gender inequality and would love to see a woman in the White House before I die. But, I will not, and cannot, support voting for (or against) someone based solely upon their gender, or their race, or religion, for that matter. The real goal of equality is to reach a point where there’s no discrimination, and therefore no reason to either hire, or deny hiring, elect, or not elect, someone on that basis. We should vote based upon the person whose positions most closely match ours, and forget the labels others attach to them.
We need to get to a point where, for all Americans, your gender, age, race, or religion matters much less than your integrity, positions on important issues, or ability to do your job. I’m no Pollyanna, and we may not be there yet, but let’s push forward, and realize what “the better angels of our nature” make possible. No racism, no religious intolerance, no ageism, no gender inequality.