The time is now for the women of America to declare their freedom. It’s time for their revolution. This is not about red vs. blue, black or white, North or South. It is about standing up and demanding to be respected and treated as equal in every way.
It is my profound hope such a revolution will begin at the polls on Nov. 6 with the support of decent men across America who will fight back against Trump and all like him who continue to denigrate women and treat them as something less. They are not!
In the midterm elections women have the opportunity to be counted. They can vote out any member of Congress, any governor, and any state legislator on the ballot who has not stood up for them and protected their rights. With their votes then can send a shot across the bow warning all elected officials, “If you are not supporting us we will vote you out the next time you are on the ballot.”
Turning Congress blue in this election will be a strong rebuke to the president and tell Republicans in Congress ‘we won’t take it anymore.’ There is an opportunity to elect women running in record numbers for all offices across the nation.
Let’s hope the farce of the Kavanaugh hearings, reminiscent of the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991 that provided for what was then called the ‘year of the woman,’ will be the catalyst to do that again in 2018. Women and decent men didn’t accept what was done to Anita Hill in 1991 and we must not accept what was done to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford today.
The problem with the Kavanaugh hearings went beyond the he said/she said of the assault charge. Decent people took offense when a bunch of old white men wouldn’t allow more witnesses and were even afraid to question Ford themselves. Then there was Kavanaugh’s total lack of respect for senators, particularly women senators, Feinstein and Klobuchar. Ford was disrespected by Republicans in the Senate and by a president who outrageously mocked her at a rally in Mississippi that was beyond the pale.
I worked for Rep. Bella S. Abzug (D-N.Y.) who was a force of nature and one of the most brilliant people I have known. She and the women around her educated me on the indignities women faced daily. Everything from being paid less than men for doing the same job to harassment and even sexual assault at work. There were many areas of employment at the time closed to women. These are injustices I have fought to change my entire life.
Over the years I have worked for many women — in government, the private sector and the non-profit field. They were all smart, incredible women who fought for and earned the positions they achieved. They all opened my eyes to so many things I would have never understood on my own. My political resume is filled with women I supported for office, including Bella, Carol Bellamy, Tammy Baldwin, Tammy Duckworth and of course Hillary Clinton. Some won their elections and some lost. In every case they were smarter and more qualified than the men they defeated or those who defeated them.
I am a Jewish gay man and understand discrimination. I am first generation American. My parents escaped the Holocaust and my paternal grandparents were killed in Auschwitz. But I am also a white man of privilege. That privilege not earned by wealth, not by brilliance or competence; it is simply a status granted to me by society based on happenstance; my being born white and male.
So I and others like me must now use the privilege society grants us to take up the cause of supporting women; working to make all the women in our lives know we respect and honor them with both our words and deeds.
It is more crucial than ever to speak out when a pig like our president can mock a woman who has been sexually assaulted and receive applause for doing so. We must support finally adding the Equal Rights Amendment to our Constitution, which specifically states all the rights and liberties men take for granted are granted to women as well.
Together we can make real progress toward making true what our nation’s founders hoped for when they wrote the preamble to our Constitution: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union.”
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.