RebeccaSive.com, author of Every Day Is Election Day: A Woman's Guide to Winning Any Office, from the PTA to the White House
I write, treach and speak about women and politics, women’s public leadership, and strategies for pro-choice women to become politically influential. I am the author of Every Day Is Election Day: A Woman’s Guide to Winning Any Office, from the PTA to the White House, which has been widely lauded as an inspirational, as well as frank how-to for any woman who wants to make the world a better place for women and girls. For more on my book and speaking, visit here: www.rebeccasive.com. To reach me directly, write to: [email protected]
Listed in Feminists Who Changed America: 1963-1975,I have won numerous awards for my work, including distinguished achievement awards from my alma maters, the University of Illinois and Carleton College.
I was the chair of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation’s Board of Directors in its formative years; a founder of Emily’s List in Illinois; and have advised numerous women’s and civil rights organizations, candidates, and donors regarding their reproductive rights advocacy. My steadfast goal is to help women achieve reproductive choice so they may achieve economic autonomy.
In 2012, political women everywhere "suited up," joined the game, stepped-up to bat, and hit the ball out of the park. We are now in the major political leagues. (Say, running for U.S. Senate and House seats.) We are in the political rooms. We are at the table in those rooms. Now, the question is: how to run that table?
In the light of this great day for us social justice advocates, something else came to mind as I reflected on Bill Clinton’s presence at the DNC: His comeback (forget New Hampshire, his comeback in the whole wide world) and just how instructive it is for women candidates now vying for office.
And therein lies the conundrum for Republican women voters as they consider their vote come Election Day 2012. When the U.S. is as politically polarized as it’s ever been, now epitomized by the Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan presidential tickets, will women voters join these women elected officials and vote against their self interest?
"There is no silver in politics," as Carol Bellamy, girl politico and former director of UNICEF, said to me recently. While we're still swimming, we're not winning the race to keep abortion safe and legal.
Back in the day, we talked and connected and networked to get organized. Today, led by my younger sisters, we are doing just the same. We didn't "chit and chat." We organized against the abuses of power, just as we do today. This is the best history report I could imagine reading during women’s history month. Let’s keep writing this report.
As President Obama and Rev. Sharpton entered The Kennedy Center, I got shivers down my spine. For, I could feel Saul Alinsky guiding them as they took their seats. There were these two men, trained in Alinsky’s methodology for achieving American justice, together to celebrate the life and work of another American justice-teacher, Dr. Martin Luther King, entering the President’s box.
Michelle Obama is no "angry black woman." But she could be this generation’s Eleanor Roosevelt, and an angry black woman who is just as angry as her angry white, brown, yellow and red sisters because America still has hungry and homeless people; because America has too many people who want to work, but who can’t find jobs; and because America these days works for only a few of its citizens when it’s supposed to work “…for all.”
I got to thinking about what else the President’s decision portends. The essence of successful politicians like, say, Margaret Hamburg and Kathleen Sebelius, is three-fold. What starts all over every morning is the (political) big leagues ballgame. What starts over every day in these big leagues, just like the baseball ones, is a game that is played only one way: the hardball way.
So, what have we got in this latest reproductive rights crisis? The one where the Catholic bishops and the President are debating and deciding what rights we American women will have? Well, sadly, ad nauseum, and once again, what we’ve got is no woman sitting at the decision-making table.
Like in so many other American home-places, black and white Mississippians see things differently, and, consequently, vote differently. As Mississippians proved last night, when things get really, really bad, together, we get our act together; we overcome. Now we all need to keep working to overcome exclusionary voter ID laws.
While one can argue this conclusion of mine around the margins; for instance, that maybe the President can win in Colorado, and some other smaller states, and, thereby, say, make up for a loss in Ohio or New Jersey, the fact remains that since its winner takes all in the Electoral College, the President’s first task is to win the big states, just those states where Jewish women predominate.
School has begun in earnest for us girls enrolled in the school of politics. So, girlfriends, sit-up straight and pay attention, for these past two school days and nights likely taught us more than we may learn during any other two anytime soon.
I am very grateful for Michelle Obama and Betty Ford, two American girls whose heartland families instilled such high ambitions in their daughters. But it sure would be wonderful if Michelle Obama, First Lady, were able to be like Betty Ford, First Lady, in leading courageously on women's rights.
Tragically for the women of this country, in the years since Ferraro's nomination, the nation's view on the requisite qualifications for a woman presidential or vice-presidential candidate has radically shifted.
How many will give serious second thought to whether life in the public domain is worth it; to whether a life in the very bull’s-eye is worth the price Gabby Giffords is now paying and Christina Green has already paid?
In the end, passing the healthcare bill was about nothing but abortion and abortion-related deals that will make life all that much harder for women of modest resources facing the (constitutionally-protected) decision to terminate a pregnancy.
To coin a cliche on International Women's Day, I have to ask: Where's the beef? American women are being told that our most fundamental right--to control our reproductive destiny--should be of no consequence in health reform.
How many women leaders were invited to the health care summit? Girls, hold your breath. Grand total: four. That’s right, four, one of whom is Nancy Pelosi. So, actually, three, count ‘em, three other women members of Congress (total membership: 535 people), including, count her, one, female U.S. Senator.
The Democrats want Martha Coakley elected in Massachusetts today to get the 60th vote for a health care bill that presently renders American women unequal to the men around them. I can no longer support this.
What women legislators should have said: It's time to start over with this so-called health care bill. We're not buying your Hobson's Choice and neither are the women of America. We know who we represent, and we're here to fight for them.