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Cindy Sheehan: Women And Politics – OpEd

I think most of us know that in the beginning of the US, voting was reserved only for white-male property owners (WaMPOs as I call them). Even black slaves were counted as “3/5ths” of a person in the Constitution while women were left completely out. In fact, the Founders didn’t even quite trust WaMPOs, hence the institution of the electoral college.

Former slaves and women fought hard and sacrificed much for their inclusion into this WaMPO paradise (oops, I mean, Republic) of voting. The picture above is of women picketing the White House (something I have done dozens of times and been arrested for many times). The WaMPOs fought back hard and even now with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution some 94 years ago, women, although more than 1/2 of the population in general, are elected to only about 18% of offices in this country.

The WaMPO paradigm was, of course, terrified that the entry of women into the electoral arena would screw things up for their comfort and positions of power. I only wish that this were true. I wish that when we earned our right to vote and entry into higher politics that we would have used OUR power and OUR insights and intelligence to put the breaks on Empire. Jeannette Rankin (first woman in Congress) from Montana should have been our beacon to follow, yet we are left with plastic women who get their minds and pocketbooks filled with Imperial plunder.

When people of color and/or females rise to high prominence in government, a la Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, they often exhibit more loyalty to the old WaMPO way of doing things than being ground breaking leaders for their race or gender. I believe it’s tragic that many leading female leaders from around the world have been such war-like creatures that we have very little integrity or courage to look up to or strive for.

To most of our fellow consumers (oops, I mean “citizens”) as candidate for office myself, I have a few societal strikes against me: I am a socialist (with a small “s”); I am counter-cultural in regards to what most people feel is the “American Way,” and I am a woman. But I am a woman who thinks that the WaMPO way of doing things has been given free reign to destroy the planet with its form of predatory capitalism and imperial overreach for far too long.

Even women hold these things against me and use some of the basest stereotypes to try to undermine me, or maybe force me to slink back to my home and hearth in shame to lick the claw marks and think about how I can be a better woman.

For example, when I ran for Congress in San Francisco against then Speaker of the House and apparent WaMPO, Nancy Pelosi, MySpace was a big thing. I will never forget this one woman who messaged me on MySpace to tell me that I wasn’t “qualified” to run for Congress.

Was I younger than 25? Um, no, I was 51 on election day that year.

Did I fail to meet the nine year state residency requirement? No, I had lived in California for 51 years on election day that year.

However, I did fail her requirements: “You aren’t qualified to run for Congress because you don’t have a car, a job, or a husband.” Sadly, she was serious.

Recently, at a protest we were campaigning at, a woman told me
that I should wear pantsuits and more makeup because voters want “Stepford Wife” candidates. Wow! That may be true, and probably is, because in this celebrity and excess worshiping culture, appearance is far more important that substance. However, the term “Stepford Wife” implies far more than perfect hair, stylish clothes and clownish makeup. It also implies a woman who will fall into lockstep with the dominant WaMPO culture with a smile on her face, legs ready to spread on demand, and a pan of warm cookies cooling on the stove.

Until we all break free of what an appearance obsessed culture demands and break out of the DemoPublican political chains, all we are going to continue to get will be wars, economic slavery, and environmental destruction.

I refuse to change myself for a few votes because, win or lose, I know I must be authentic. I was never, and will never, be a “Stepford Wife.”

Hopefully, there is a growing contingent of human beings who are sick and tired of the fraudulent images of crass politicians who bend and twist to the winds of Madison Avenue generated sales campaigns.

NASA just completed a study that said that life on this planet can no longer exist with the crushing weight of demand for shrinking resources. Male or female, we need new and fresh ideas and people who are committed to doing the hard work of pulling humanity from the brink of extinction.


About the Author

Cindy Sheehan
Cindy Sheehan
Cindy Sheehan is an American anti-war activist whose son, Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed during his service in the Iraq War by the Mehdi Army on April 4, 2004. She attracted national and international media attention in August 2005 for her extended anti-war protest at a makeshift camp outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch — a stand which drew both passionate support and angry criticism. More of her writings can be found at Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox: Writing from the Emprire.

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