If you’re a fan of photography, you know the time lapse technique involves setting up a camera, often to record something like a sunset, minute by minute. Once edited, these shots show a magical progression of light and color but shooting one is excruciating. That nuanced change can only be seen when sped up. It isn’t perceptible to the naked eye as it us unfolding.
There is a wave of post-1970’s feminism percolating in this country right now. From the “Lean In” movement to the fact that Hillary Clinton will likely run for President, a modern woman’s movement is impacting the workplace, our social mores and if the Democrats get lucky, our politics.
In terms of public opinion, there is no doubt that the dial has moved on gay marriage and assault weapons. I think most Americans would prefer to keep abortion personal and not political. But, when you look at who is running and who is serving, and the issues that still divide us, it’s clear we are only at the very beginning of an excruciatingly slow time lapse in women’s politics.
What you can’t see in this time lapse moment in politics is the Republican women doing their part behind the scenes to “Lean In“ in their own communities. They’re starting PACs, websites and schools as a way to impact their communities in positive ways. But these Republican women are waiting for their party and the system to catch up with them. Until that happens, Moderate and Independent women who vote for Republican men, will continue to be accused of supporting a party that doesn’t get them.
Do the Democrats still have a lock on women’s votes? And is it because of social issues? According to the Center for American Women and Politics, of the 20 women in the U.S. Senate, only 4 are Republicans. Of the 78 women in the House of Representatives, only 19 are Republicans. The prospects of getting elected a Governor are better for female Republican candidates. Right now 4 out of five female Governors are Republican. Of the state legislatures, of the 1,788 women serving, female Democrat legislators outnumber Republican women legislators nearly 2 to 1.
I am not going to criticize Hillary Clinton or Claire McCaskill who is her front woman, not only here in Missouri, but in key states like Iowa where the Clintons have never been very popular. According to the New York Times, a battalion of women is now forming in Iowa and encouraging Hillary to run. Senator Claire McCaskill, who I voted for once because of her support of stem cell research but couldn’t vote for a second time because I disagreed with her on Obamacare, is Hillary Clinton’s biggest supporter. Again, I am not going to criticize her. Because McCaskill can see women are engaging.
The question I would ask is what is the most effective way to speed up this painfully slow moment in politics? Is it for more Republican women to run as Non-Partisans? Only 10 of the 1,788 state legislators currently serving are NPs. Is it too late or too early in this progression to build up a moderate Republican female voice? It might have been too late for Olympia Snowe to run for President and unfortunately, it might be too soon for the Republicans to fast track the other moderate from Maine, Susan Collins, who is in favor of universal access on healthcare, but is also green, for school choice, pro-choice on abortion and pro-gay?
One thing I have to agree with Sen. McCaskill on is that she is right that this is a historic moment. Or at least the beginning of one.
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