I never thought the day would come when I’d support a woman for president. Even though I’m female, I’m not a feminist. I don’t believe for a minute that “a woman’s place is everywhere.”
In particular, I don’t like the idea of seeing a woman in the pulpit, fighting in combat in the armed services or wearing a police uniform. Right or wrong, women just don’t command the same respect as a man in these roles, and they certainly don’t come across as a force to be reckoned with. Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, however, opened my closed mind on gender roles.
While viewing the televised Nov.24 Democratic presidential debate held in Des Moines, Iowa, I unexpectedly found myself rooting for the only woman in the group of nine contenders. Moseley Braun stood out from the assembly of intense politicians, and it was not just because she is a black female. She stood out because she took the high road, giving intelligent and well-reasoned answers, as opposed to her fellow politicians who became involved with back-and-forth bickering with each other. In the midst of the fray, she was a Lucy in a group of Charlie Browns.
The Democratic Party’s heavyweights, Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean, sparred on the issues. Gephardt accused Dean of cutting Medicaid and the prescription drug program in Vermont. Dean countered these charges and said that he is incredibly proud of his record in Vermont.
Moseley Braun isn’t getting much attention and is considered to be the longest long shot in the race. However, that’s what they said about Harry Truman. And like Truman, who said “I’m either for something or against it, and you know it,” Moseley Braun tells it like it is.
From the get-go, she vehemently opposed the Iraq War, but now supports the war effort we are committed to. She believes that affirmative action serves the whole community and levels the playing field. She believes in universal coverage for healthcare to get rid of a profit-driven system in favor of one where decision-making is returned to the physician and the patient. She wants more federal funding for schools with the community as overseers. She is against the Patriot Act and the No Child Left Behind Act.
So who exactly is this long shot? She is someone who focuses on her goals and perseveres until she overcomes the odds and becomes a pioneer. She was the first femalesenator from Illinois, the first female black senator and the first black Democratic senator.
Born 56 years ago in Chicago to a father who was a law enforcement officer and a mother who was a medical technician, Mosley Braun heeded her parent’s encouragement to pursue excellence and follow her dreams. She received her BA from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1968, and her law degree in 1972 from the University of Chicago.
After returning in 2001 from an ambassadorial posting in New Zealand, she taught law and political science at Morris Brown College and DePaul University, along with a business law practice and business consultancy in Chicago.
As for who she isn’t, she said “the final reason to vote for me is that I’m the clearest alternative to George Bush. I don’t like him. I don’t talk like him. I don’t think like him.”
Perhaps it is time for not only a change in party in Washington, but a change in gender. Mosley Braun has set her mind to take the invisible “Men Only” sign off the White House door. And once she sets her mind on being the first, watch out.
Geraldine Treacy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.