Activism, opinion, Uncategorized

The Glass Ceiling We Must Shatter in 2016

It would be nearly impossible to live in America today and not know that there is a woman running for the position of President. Indeed, with a campaign hashtag that focuses your attention entirely upon her gender (#ImWithHER), how could you miss it?

Let me be clear that I am a feminist, and a product of feminism. I was born in 1972. My mother and father have long fought against the institutionalized form and gross depredation of sexism. My mother lost several jobs as a direct result of refusing sexual advances of her male managers. Her access to a bank account and college loans was predicated upon her having a parent or husband co-signer. She and my father knew, through personal experience, the harm of sexism.

So when they became parents of a baby girl, they named me March. My name is intentionally androgynous—the result of my parents’ feminist leanings and their hopes that I would be hired for who I was, not my gender. In the 1970s, it was normal for a person sorting applications to toss female applications into the “secretary pile” while male applications would be placed into the “managing position” pile. My parents figured that if no one knew whether I was a man or a woman (when they saw my name on an application) that I would be more likely to live a life based upon who I was, how I thought and what I did. A person-based life, not a gender-based life.

When we vote for a candidate, we are—in effect—hiring that person for a job. Given that, I find it offensive to see Hillary Clinton using her gender to solicit votes. It feels like a personal insult to see Hillary Clinton use her gender to further her election potential.

True feminism means you seek to eliminate the role of gender, not capitalize on it. Far from being a vote for feminism, a vote for Hillary is a vote for a President willing to promote sexism for personal gain.

I am not alone in holding a view that reflects the achievements of the feminist movement. Across the board, young feminists (male or female) are not drawn to Hillary’s gender as a reason to vote for her. This is because the feminist movement has, to a very large degree, been a monumental success. All over our country, glass ceilings have exploded into dust. In fact, in most universities women outnumber men, sometimes nearly two to one. [3] Between 1998 and 2014, the number of women in charge of Fortune 500 companies (CEOs) went from one to 24. [4] Business ownership by women has expanded dramatically since 1997, partly as a result of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and the Women’s Equity in Contracting Act. [5]

What do these persistent and growing changes prove? That women can do anything as well as a man can…and vice versa.

That is, after all, the whole point of feminism, isn’t it? To equalize the sexes? Even the playing field, institute official standards that prevent a slide back into sexism (of any sort), and ensure that every person is free to excel based on who they are and what they do—not the body parts they were born with.

As such, a campaign that focuses on one’s gender is nothing more than a slide back into the very sexism that feminists have long fought and suffered to overcome. Yes, Hillary Clinton has busted through a political glass ceiling of sorts, but she did it by showing us that a woman is just as capable as a man at being power-hungry, lacking in scruples, opportunistic, misleading, and otherwise machiavellian. Do we really need more proof that a female politician can be just as bad as a male one? While not often acknowledged, history abounds with evidence that women, just like men, can be bought.

However, there is another glass ceiling that matters greatly in 2016. It is a thick slab of muddy glass, obscuring our view of the puppeteers who manipulate our fair nation for their personal gain. I’m talking about the global glass ceiling of economic privilege.

Since the earliest beginnings of our nation, the wealthy (or the puppets of the wealthy) have held a near monopoly on the American government. Rarely before Bernie Sanders have we seen a man or woman with such a humble beginning, middle and end succeeding in government. Bernie Sanders’ lifetime of political service has aligned consistently with the needs of the common men and women of America, of which he is one.

Every temptation, every monied threat, every opportunistic bribe extended to him has been denied. In doing so, he has triumphed time and again. When the integrity of our government hangs by a thread, Bernie Sanders is continuing to prove that our system actually can work!

In a very real way, Bernie Sanders’ campaign represents the culmination of centuries worth of philosophical thinking and the highly-esteemed concept of a society based upon self-governance. America is on the brink of readiness to enact the fullest purpose of its constitution: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

In a world awash in governments by the elite and for the few, we stand poised to throw out the facade in favor of honest progressivism and egalitarianism. Which makes Hillary Clinton’s bald-faced abuse of the ethics of “feminism,” in her pursuit of personal gain and elitism, all the more disingenuous and contemptible.

Rule by the wealthy falls under many names, none of which have anything to do with representational democracy. We are a nation of diversity. As such, our leaders ought to reflect that diversity, and today, they do not. Let me run through a few numbers, just to drive home the point.

Typical American Earnings: $53,657
Typical U.S. Senator Earnings: $190,000

Typical American Average Net Worth: $301,000
(Average # is driven up by wealth of our economic elites)
Typical U.S. Senator Average Net Worth: $14,013,596

Typical American Median Net Worth: $44,900
(Median # is more accurate, as 50% of our citizens have LESS than this amount)
Typical U.S. Senator Median Net Worth: $1,008,767

That is our reality. For the first time ever, the majority of elected officials in Washington D.C. are millionaires. Over the past 10 years, while the median American citizen’s net worth has decreased by -0.94%, a handful of American citizens (who have the power to control our government and regulatory agencies) have seen a median annual increase to their net worth of +1.55%, equalling a total increase of $316.5 million in assets. [2]

This is why 2016 matters. Sometimes, things have to get “bad enough” for us to wake up, pay attention and respond to a grave threat. The monied elite of the world, who seek to prey upon our people and our land, are a grave threat. Who are their greatest allies? The American elite who are willing to sell the rest of us down the river. Hillary Clinton, woman or not, is a member of that dangerous and corrupted society.

Bernie Sanders is one of us, yet he’s got the political savvy to navigate the treacherous waters of our system with finesse and resolve. Let us join him in his search for America’s highest and purest goal. Let us SHATTER the global glass ceiling of economic privilege! Together, we can open the government to Americans who want nothing more than to devote a portion of their lives in service to their country.

The short game is Bernie Sanders for President. The middle game is the reclamation of the House of Representatives in 2016 and 2018. The longer game aims to put a solid middle class majority in the Senate along with diversity representation throughout local and state levels of government. And the end game will be accomplished when political literacy has expanded across the country and a new American culture of lifelong political engagement has become the norm.

To those in America and abroad who seek to maintain their corrosive control of our government and society—for the betterment of their class at the cost of all others—I say GAME ON!

[1] https://ballotpedia.org/Net_worth_of_United_States_Senators_and_Representatives

[2] https://ballotpedia.org/Changes_in_Net_Worth_of_U.S._Senators_and_Representatives_(Personal_Gain_Index)

[3] http://www.theguardian.com/education/datablog/2013/jan/29/how-many-men-and-women-are-studying-at-my-university

[4] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/04/the-number-of-fortune-500-companies-led-by-women-is-at-an-all-time-high-5-percent/

[5] http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/04/women-are-owning-more-and-more-small-businesses/390642/

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About March Elizabeth Twisdale

March Twisdale and her family live on Vashon Island, near Seattle, where freakishly-hot, California weather is drying out the rainforests of Washington State. An activist since her teens, March Twisdale's life revolves around Betterment Projects. She is especially proud to be the producer and host of Prose, Poetry & Purpose, where guest authors share their hope to inspire positive social change...one reader, and one listener, at a time. Listen locally on 101.9 FM KVSH or catch PP&P on-line at: voiceofvashon.org/prose-poetry-and-purpose. Previous projects include her month-long Occupy Montage Exhibit, Teens In The Fields (a youth-run business), and Community Conversations (a monthly column that dives deeply into complicated issues). Then, in May of 2015, Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy! After a year of living, breathing, drinking, and participating in our Political (R)Evolution, it is more clear than ever that WE MUST BE THE MEDIA. Therefore, March is headed to Philadelphia! Watch here for her "on the ground" daily reports from the Democratic National Convention! Why? Because we cannot fail to secure the Democratic Presidential Nomination for Bernie Sanders. We must succeed. It's that simple. #2016Matters

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