I’ve waited my whole life for a woman president, but

I saw this on Facebook, and you can imagine how the rest of the post went. Because I have remained politically undecided up until now, I was surprised by how sad this post made me.

time2I considered that all manner of male politicians have come and gone over my lifetime, but only one qualified woman has ever been a serious candidate for the US presidency. That alone means that I would like to see her win.  And I have to ask, is this discrimination? Or just plain foolish? Well, let’s look at some facts.

As a disclaimer, I consider myself a pragmatic, slightly left-leaning moderate who wants to live in a safe and fiscally responsible country in which the rules are fair, or at least are becoming more fair and not less so. I would like to see compassion triumph over other concerns.

As you might guess, I like a lot of Bernie Sander’s politics. I don’t particularly like him, however, because I don’t see him being an inspiring leader of all Americans, or a particularly effective representative to the rest of the world. I’m not sure I want him to be president, even though I like some of his ideas.

On the other hand, at one point in my life, I was a Republican. It was long ago, during a time when one could believe that the GOP was really on the side of the small business owner (which my parents were) and on the side of personal freedom (which I was and still am.) Over the years, the party has split into those who fight for advantages for big business and those that have turned their social agenda into a justification for inserting government control into life’s most personal matters. I’m sad that the sort of Republicans I once respected are not running for president.

True, some of the remaining candidates are less scary than others, but that is a low bar to cross. Rand Paul’s sense of the importance of most liberties (not just those valued by the far right) inspires my respect. John Kasich has yet to say anything terribly unreasonable (that I’ve heard), and in this strange year that is worthy of commendation. Carly Fiorina (yes, I realize she is a woman too) lacks qualifications for what is arguably the the most important political office in the world, and she has failed to show the sort of leadership abilities that would make me want to overlook her lack of experience. (Railing against Planned Parenthood based on a falsified video does not constitute leadership to me.) So it is hard to imagine a scenario in which I am voting Republican in 2016.

Which brings me to Hillary Clinton. Am I rooting for her just because she is a woman? She is ridiculously qualified. She is intelligent and she sharers much of my politics. I believe that she has a good heart. I was very impressed with her testimony in front of congress and I believe that she would at worst do a decent job of governing this country.

But she isn’t perfect. In my case, I’ve held back on my support because she’s too hawkish and her ties to established politics and to big money in this country are closer than I’d like. She has yet to charm me, to melt me with her sincerity or warmth. She’s not perfect.

However, I’ve voted for nine men for president, and none of them were close to perfect in my mind, or in reality. I didn’t expect them to be. I’m pragmatic, and election after election I picked the person I thought could win and also best represent my desires on how this country should be run. I had no use for Ralph Nader or his supporters late in the 2000 election, when the chance to be noble and alter history for the better was cast aside for hubris.

sungazing3So why am I now anguishing over this particular candidate’s lack of perfection? Maybe my issue isn’t supporting her because she is a woman at all. Could it be that I am holding her to a higher standard because she is one? Have I really bought into the belief that I will follow a good man or a nearly perfect woman? Deep down, do I think that a female can only lead us well if she is a head and shoulders above all the males who could lead instead? I sure hope not.

So back to my question. Am I guilty of discrimination? Inverse discrimination? Is this whole discussion just plain foolish? It’s time for me to make some decisions.

This is it. I’m thankful to Bernie Sanders for pushing the conversation and the democrats away from the status quo. I would love to see him play a role in the new administration. I hope many of his ideas receive serious consideration. But now that he almost won Iowa, I have to say that I really, really hope that he doesn’t march his way to a nomination. It would be unfortunate enough if he got there on enthusiasm for his outsider’s ideas, without due thought on the part of his supporters as to how good he would actually be at the job of president. But it would be particularly sad if part of his successful march was an ingrained tendency on our part to demand more of a female candidate.

So tonight, I’ve made my decision. I think that we have a chance to make history as a nation, and a chance to elect a decent leader at the same time. I think it’s high time for girl to be president. I’ve waited my whole life for it, damn it, and I’m voting for Hillary Clinton.

The Women of 2015: Beauty matters but so does so much more

Candice-SwanepoelWe do like beautiful women. As a society, we buy products from them, watch movies staring them, and we lavish attention upon them. But I’m a glass half-full kind of lady, and I see some positive trends in all the various recently released lists of top women from 2015.

  1. Beauty matters, but so does being tough, or making lots of money.

rhonda-rousey-435On the tough front, Ask Men ran a list of the Top 99 outstanding women of 2015. I was surprised to find mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey in the number two spot, along with the comment that “there’s no bigger role model in all of sports than this woman right here.” She also is launching an acting career, with upcoming roles in Furious 7 and Entourage.

HolmesGallery1As to making lots of money, check out number six on the same list. Elizabeth Holmes gets the honor for being the youngest female billionaire. Holmes is the youngest woman and third youngest person on the list of global billionaires thanks to Theranos, her health tech company.

2. We are expanding our definition of beauty to include older women, women from more ethnic groups, and women with at least some size variation. Not every women of note is expected to look Padukone_in_2009like Victoria’s Secret angel Candice Swanepoel, a South African model who came in 4th on Wonderlist’s ranking of the 10 most beautiful women of 2015 and is pictured at the top of this post.

Number two on the list was forty-six year old Jennifer Lopez, gorgeous and talented but also a mature woman. Number three on the list was Deepika Padukone, an Indian film actress and model who is the recipient of three Filmfare Awards and one of the highest-paid Bollywood actresses. She is shown to the left.

3. Talented women who make enough of difference get included on some lists, at any rate. Leading a lot of people will get you the number one spot on the Forbes list of the World’s Most Powerful Women of 2015, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel discovered. Dealing with Mediterranean migrants, Russian sanctions, homegrown spying scandals, and Eurozone stability also got her named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year and she was the first female to gain the title after it was given non-gender specific wording in 1999.

Hillary Clinton, who took the number two spot on the Forbes list, has appeared on the Forbes ranking every year since 2004. Forbes notes that in 2015 Clinton is just a breath and a ballot away from “leading” the world.

4. Finally, I am glad to see that having a kind heart and a strong social conscience will get a woman noticed as well. Melinda Gates made number three on the Forbes list, at least in part due to her emmaphilanthropic work. And a personal favorite of mine, Emma Watson, took the number one spot on the Ask Men list, not only for being “rich, successful, famous, stylish, beautiful, intelligent, personable, kind” but also for her alignment with the United Nations’ HeForShe campaign, an effort to shift the way our society treats women. Ms. Watson also snagged the fifth position in the Wonderlist’s ranking of the 10 most beautiful women of 2015, fueling my belief that real beauty is much more than skin deep and that at least some people in this world know it.

For more year end fun see some of the oddest predictions for 2016, catch My Best New Years Resolution Yet, read about whether it is an honor to be person of the year, and take a look at world peace activities planned for 2016