The Rise of Women
I tune out President Trump’s voice whenever possible, but the snippet I heard the other night that went viral stopped me in my tracks.
“This is a very scary time for young men in America,” he said.
My first thought was…WHAT??? For men? How about for women?
At the time, Christine Blasey Ford had just accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her, in the summer of 1982.
Trump, who as we know has been accused of sexual misconduct himself by a multitude of women, came to Kavanaugh’s defense, saying that men’s lives can be unfairly ruined by these accusations. There was no mention of—or empathy or outrage about—the women victimized by these claims.
After stewing about this for about 30 seconds, I realized something that caught me off guard, that I had never thought before could happen: Maybe 45 is RIGHT, but for an altogether different reason.
This IS going to be a very scary time for many men in America; it has been since Trump took office in 2016, and it will continue to be…because WE WOMEN ARE RISING ABOVE.
In record numbers, we are running for office, big and small.
As reported first on May 9 and updated on Sept. 20 on Politico.com from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, almost 600 women have run in the 2018 primaries for the U.S. House, Senate, or to become governor. Over 270 of them advanced in primaries, the others lost or dropped out. The stats are broken down in this Politico article.
These candidates come from all walks of life, including teaching, small business ownership, nursing, law, and activism; there’s also a pediatrician, physical therapist, cosmetologist; scientist, stay-at-home mom, and a fighter pilot in the mix.
Some start on the very local level, such as in one’s neighborhood as a committee person or ward leader (titles of positions vary); others represent a specific district in a city or state; political newcomers like actress Cynthia Nixon—also an outspoken LGBT advocate—set their eyes on the prize and go for the gusto by running for governor.
Coming from a political family in Philadelphia, I have seen, ever since I was a little girl in the living room of our home, the making of candidates: individuals challenging the status quo, connecting with one another, mobilizing, plotting and working harder than ever before to make a difference.
Back then, my dad, the late City Councilman David Cohen, ran every four years alongside lots of other candidates, almost all of whom were men.
My mom, Florence Cohen, was known to have a voice just as loud and just as strong as my dad’s. People said electing David Cohen was also electing Florence Cohen—a 2-for-1 deal—her passion, intellect and integrity stood right alongside his if not a step or two ahead, and together they were fierce. They fought for civil rights, social justice, workers’ rights and every day in every way, a better life for all Philadelphians.
Former Police Commissioner and two-term Mayor Frank Rizzo—whose time in office overlapped with my dad’s—was notorious for racism and his condoning police brutality, which my parents and other involved citizens and officials brought to light and vehemently fought against.
One day, in a fit of anger toward my mom for speaking out against him, Rizzo announced publicly that Florence Cohen and all women (if I recall correctly), “belong in the kitchen.”
Rizzo would roll over in his grave to know how close this country was to having a woman president.
Casting my vote for Hillary Clinton moved me beyond words, so much so that I took a picture of the ballot when I was done but still in the voting booth, which I still have in my phone – the lime green X by her name, from November 8, 2016.
I am inspired by the number of women running for so many offices today, fueled in large measure by the Women’s March in January 2017, which united women far and wide after Trump was elected, and which will hopefully amount to much more than a footnote in our history.
In November, there will be almost 250 women on the congressional and gubernatorial ballots. Many of these women, as updated in The Washington Post in September, will face an uphill battle to win.
Running is always a risk, but people do it all the time, with lots of winners among us, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who, at 28-years-old, who beat out a longtime incumbent in the New York primary. We shall see how she makes out next month.
Check out these websites, if you might be interested in throwing your hat into the ring for the May 2019 primary.
In the meantime, let’s honor the courageous women who fought hard and tirelessly–through countless protests over many years—for our right to vote with the passing of the 19th Amendment, not even 100 years ago.
See you at the polls on November 6!