Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An Open Letter to Barack Obama from a 58-year-old woman in North Carolina

Dear Senator Obama,
First of all, you have my vote. You've had it since I first sent you fifty dollars in the spring of 2007. I'd love to see a woman president, but I felt that Hillary had to play too much ball with the old boys' network to really be a champion of women--but I digress. The reason I'm writing you is that I am worried about all the press about women my age who supported Hillary not wanting to vote for you. I can't imagine that any woman who's a wife and mother or grandmother would want this terrible war to continue and McCain certainly seems to be the poster boy for continuing to drain our country's resources, young lives, and, and honor in the world by continuing it. What if they just don't vote, though? You can't let that happen.

So what I have to offer you are some suggestions for connecting with us women and assuring us that you represent our concerns, too. We know you can draw a crowd. Lay off the big venue events now. It's summer time and the kids are out of school. You need to go places where women with children and grandchildren go. Go to grocery stores and farmers' markets. All of us are trying to stretch our dollars there--buying meat that gets marked down because the expiration date is approaching, only buying meat that's on special, shopping at discount grocery stores and local farmers' markets. Go to the doctor's offices and clinics to see the realities of people who have no health insurance. Go to swimming pools, story hour at the public library, play grounds and parks. And when school starts in the fall, go to some faculty meetings and visit some classrooms, because women are a great force in the field of education and No Child Left Behind is poisoning our schools and defeating our teachers and administrators.

The most important thing is to talk with us. We are worried about our aging parents, helping our children pay off massive student loans and find good jobs, paying for health care. We despair of ever retiring in the current economic climate. We hate this war for the lost and wounded lives it has cost of Americans and Iraqis, for the crippling blow to our country's finances, and for the loss of respect that our country has suffered in the world. We are mortified by the fact that our country's leader doesn't seem to have a clue and that our struggles are not even noticed by those in power. Most of us have long since given up on the American dream. Our dream now is to be able to pay all the bills and have a little left over to save each month.

Anna Quindlen in right when she says, "Women carry this country in their arms." Acknowledge that in your speeches. Talk about your mother and grandmothers and that wonderful strong woman you are married to. We know their lives instinctively, but we need to know that you know ours, too. Don't let the Republicans pull you into a "politics as usual" kind of race. Sometimes I think if you just ignore John McCain, he will self-destruct. We like the fact that you haven't taken money from the fat cats. We admire that you are trying to run a different kind of campaign without all the ugliness. We love that you are giving us back some hope. Women work hard without complaint most of the time, but hope makes that work rise above drudgery.

In closing let me say that we all need you to win. You will have a terrible job to do as president, but we will all want you to make things better and we'll do whatever you need us to to make things better. Women will help you with that hard work.
Don't forget us.

Inspiration provided by Anna Quindlen's essay in Newsweek June, 23, 2008.

1 comment:

Penelope said...

Dana you have said this beautifully ..... it certainly reflects my sentiments and those of my women friends and men too. ......