Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Women in politics

There's an editorial in the Strib today talking about the lack of elected women from Minnesota.

In the 20th century, Minnesota elected only one woman to Congress -- and, infamously, sent her home again when her husband, at the behest of her political opponents, publicly pleaded, "Coya, come home."
The editorial notes that another woman, Betty McCollum has been elected since. And with a probable Bachmann/Wetterling race this year a third one is likely. It also goes on to rate the likelyhood of other districs in electing women.
But it misses a very large point. Minnesotans will have no problem electing a woman to office - as long as they agree with her on the issues. Most women running for elective office have made the mistake of running as a 'women's candidate'. If you give the impression that you care only about 'women's issues' you immeadiatly tell men that their concerns are secondary at best. Give us a woman who seems concerned with a broad swath of issues and she'll be very electable.
The same thing holds true for minority candidates. I have zero doubt that a candidate of any color can be a good officeholder. But they need to convince me (and the broader public) that they care about more than just other people who happen to be of the same color.
The simple truth is that very large segments of society took MLK to heart when he talked about judging someone not by the color of their skin but by the content of their heart. I'd guess a large majority of Minnesotans have. If we have reason to believe that a candidate will represent our ideas and values we'll elect them.


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