Iron this…

I feel compelled to take a break from our regularly scheduled coverage of every tiny detail of the waning years of my motherhood to opine just a weensy bit.  Regular programming will resume tomorrow when I have gotten this off my mammary glands.

It was her first two paragraphs that got me:

The woman in question became a lawyer after some years as a
community organizer, married a corporate lawyer and is the mother of
two little girls, ages 9 and 6. Herself the daughter of a white
American mother and a black African father — in this race-conscious
country, she is considered black — she served as a state legislator for
eight years, and became an inspirational voice for national unity.

honest: Do you think this is the biography of someone who could be
elected to the United States Senate? After less than one term there, do
you believe she could be a viable candidate to head the most powerful
nation on earth?

It is so obvious, and so obviously true, that I can’t believe no one has put it into words before.  If Obama were a woman, there would be no possibility, not the smallest fraction of a chance, of her having a shot at the Presidency.  End of story. 

Why is it that it took reading his (albeit truncated) biography attached to a fictional woman to realize how inexperienced he is?  Why with that level of experience does he get the benefit of the doubt when a woman with much more experience is asked to iron some neanderthal’s shirts while reporters wonder whether she prefers diamonds or pearls? 

I thought back to the first time I read the piece, trying to remember my initial reaction, and I realized that the word "mother" had popped out at me as if it were in bold print: "…mother of two little girls."  It was the fictional character’s motherhood (to two young girls no less) that instantly disqualified her from holding real power, made a run for Senate impossible, a run for the Presidency absurd.

What have we done to motherhood in this country?  Why have we let motherhood become so completely divorced from power that the sheer fact of being a mother takes a woman out of the race?  How did women’s capacities become diminished by their motherhood while men’s capacities are enhanced by their fatherhood?

Every mother I know is stronger for the experience. Wiser for the experience.  Deeper.  More compassionate.  More committed to a positive future.  It simply makes no sense that when we cut the umbilical cord, we cut the cord to political power as well.  What a waste.  What a loss.

Like everyone else who watched him at the Democratic National Convention, I remember thinking as I listened to Obama’s speech, "That man is going to be President some day."  And when he has more experience, and providing all his bright and shining hope is not tarnished by the exigencies of accumulating power, I will be thrilled to vote for him. 

Just not now.

Becasue I think it is high time.  It is so time.  It’s long past time.

It’s time for a mother to be President of these, of our, United States.



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7 thoughts on “Iron this…

  1. I read this GS piece and was moved as well. I have been enraged by the double standards in this election. Hilary Clinton’s “emotional breakdown”, her harsh voice, her thick ankles. We still live in an extremely sexist society, and I fear the last few crops of young have deluded themselves into thinking otherwise.

  2. Thanks for this great post. I’m not American and yet I’m fascinated by the Democratic candidacy because the two main candidates are so interesting. The point that Obama would not be considered weighty enough if he were a woman is fascinating, and I would agree that it’s high time a woman and a mother became President. If I were voting, I would be highly torn between these two people, both amazing in their own way.

  3. I just left a post and forgot word verification. Anyway, I enjoyed this post and am looking forward to reading more. I, too, think being a mother makes you even more capable of running a country. Talk about multitasking, for goodness’ sake! Thanks for visiting my blog. It’s great to be able to read your blog and look ahead to life with teenage boys.

  4. Though the last mother we elected in the UK had her drawbacks. Talk about a Pyhrric victory. If I were American, I’d be voting Clinton – I love the concept of Obama but Clinton’s been there and back. And the UK press’s treatment of Cherie Blair shows how little we’ve progressed when it comes to strong, intelligent women who have something to say and achieve.

  5. Great post, I’d be more comfortable comparing motherhood to military service, as an experience that can lead to greatness. I’m weary of putting mother’s back on a pedestal that puts women without children at a disadvantage. It can get turned against us so quickly. Valuing motherhood as a character building, skill enhancing experience? Totally with you on that one. And thanks for stopping by my neck of the woods!

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