So, the latest election brouhaha is around remarks Mr. President made to the effect of “we’re all in this together.” (Or at least that’s how I paraphrase.) Perhaps this should be known as the “No Man Is an Island” Speech. Admittedly, taken at face value, some of the remarks—If you have a business, it is not your business, you didn’t build it up, someone else did it for you—probably were a bit over the top. How over the top they were, depends on your point of view, I guess, and some analysis supports that where you sit on the rhetorical flourish to outraged scale also relates directly to whether your politics lean Democrat (rhetoric) or Republican (outrageous).
I think I’ve made it obvious where I fall, pretty far to the rhetoric/ no-one-gets-there-on-their-own side. The irony of the debate to me is that the poster boy for slamming Mr. Obama on this issue is the Original Born with a Silver Spoon in His Mouth Guy. I mean, was it really hard getting somewhere in the business (or political) world as Mitt Romney? ‘Nuff said.
Not that Mr. President’s “born poor” story actually rings that true. Even if a bit of an absentee parent, Daddy the International Diplomat guy and Step Daddy the big shot international businessman might have helped a bit with that scholarship to Punaho. 🙂
And the Deputy Poster Boys? Again, definitely boys and all white males. All talking about how success is earned by the individual, due to their hard work and personal qualities. Right. All successful white males, all trust fund babies, all Skull & Bones and Ivy League and Exec VP before thirty. Because of their hard work and personal qualities. The personal quality of being born on Third Base? The hard work of running home on Daddy’s big hit?
On a completely unrelated note (uh oh!) I was driving through North Dakota (why not?) last week and heard a very interesting discussion on North Dakota Public Radio of the progress of women in the United States and North Dakota in leadership roles. Which, of course, this has been a story for the past decade of a backslide of increasing speed, a gaining of momentum in the rolling down the hill to where we started like Sisyphus in Hell. Of course, as in all things, whether or not Hell is a bad location is a matter of your point of view.
Anywho, the discussion was about laws in other countries to require organizations—including government—to place women in certain leadership roles, and how the United States has actually lost a lot of ground to the rest of the world due to the lack of such requirements. As an example, a county has a Water and Sanitary Commission of five officials, appointed by the elected County Board. If half the population of the county is women, then at least two of the appointees to the Water and Sanitary Commission have to be women. (And if 20 percent of the county is African American, then one has to be African American, etc.) A kind of Affirmative Action for the Appointeds. This has created a space for women in some leadership positions, gaining the skills and credentials to move on to other leadership roles. Apparently, North Dakota has a statute that requires such, enacted in 1998, but has been largely ignored. Proposals to enact similar at the National level in this country have been pushed to the side, because of the lack of qualified women. Right. (My sweet . . . .)
Which gets me to the Supreme Court. (A Tripartite Trifecta!) Open Secret: Sandra Day O’Connor is a controversial figure among American feminists and women lawyers. Miss O’Connor was from a prominent Arizona family, attended Stanford law school where she graduated first in her class. When she finished law school in the 1960’s no one would hire her as a lawyer because she was a woman. She actually didn’t work for a number of years because she couldn’t get a job as a lawyer, and with her husband to support her, she made a choice not to work as a legal secretary or paralegal (what she was offered). When she was appointed as the first female Supreme Court Justice it was initially hailed as a living example of bitter irony for the misogyny crowd. Until Ms. O’Connor announced that her appointment to the Supreme Court meant that discrimination against women had clearly been dispensed with and any woman who complained about unfair treatment obviously couldn’t cut it. And people wonder why women’s progress in the workplace and elsewhere stalled out until 1993. Thanks Sandra Dee.
To everyone who knows what a dollar is . . . .