America is built on founding principles first depicted in the Declaration of Independence and later enacted into law as the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution along with its amendments form the cornerstone of our legal and political system. How those laws are defined, shaped and enforced depends on the Senators and Representatives WE vote into office and the bills they enact into law while representing our beliefs. Notice the bold green text used for members of Congress. I am not neglecting the influence of the American President, but merely acknowledging that it is the Congress who writes and drafts bills. The President is a leader and can influence and ultimately veto legislation; but it is under Article I. Section I. of the Constitution that, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
Notice that I bolded our beliefs in the last paragraph. That’s right. I said politicians are representing our beliefs. The concept behind voting is that you vote for the person who best represents your beliefs and your vision for the future. A politician campaigns on economic, educational, and social platforms which represent the collective interest of their constituents. Once elected, said politician drafts bills based on his/her campaign promises and your beliefs are ratified into law.
If the politician does not fulfill his/her campaign promises, two years later WE vote them out of office and WE vote in a politician who will work for our best interests. In the meantime, WE protest, mail letters, and sign petitions asking for the misleading politician to resign from office. Of course in reality it’s not quite that simple. Although I think it should be.
Why Women Should Be Involved in Politics
Now that we have an understanding of how the political arena is supposed to work, I can move on to today’s actual post topic: Why women should be involved in politics.
It is an understood stereotype that most all women place everyone else in front of themselves: mothers and fathers, significant others, sons and daughters. I’m going to use this stereotype to address why politics should matter to every woman. For every person we put first, I’ve listed two scenarios. In scenario one, women have not been involved in politics and politicians have passed bills without thought for the women constituency. I’ve envisioned they’ve been free to make any laws they wish, give loads of money to special interest groups, and now serve 5 years in between elections. Oh yeah, they get an annual salary increase, no matter the economic situation. In scenario two, women have followed politics and have learned the various platforms candidates are running. They vote for the candidates’ whose campaign promises most closely resemble their own beliefs. They feel listened to and empowered by the direct change they make to America’s economic, social and educational agendas.
Mothers and Fathers
- Scenario one – Dad’s private retirement package from the business he worked with for 40 years is nonexistent (the CFO used the funds to finance business operations instead of putting the funds into employee directed individual accounts because ERISA no longer exists). Mom’s arthritis is so bad she had to quit work. Your parents have had to mortgage the once-paid-for house in order to afford mom’s medication and monthly bills. Soon they will be moving in with you.
- Scenario two – Dad’s 401(k) has been growing at a steady rate with matching contributions from his employer (Dad annually assessed his risk tolerance and checked that his portfolio was setup to mirror it). This year the funds will be rolled over into an IRA, which mom and dad will use the annual minimum distribution(s) for their monthly expenses. Mom’s arthritis is being treated and she doesn’t have to pay to see the doctor for preventative care. They plan to use Mom’s salary to travel since there’s no mortgage or kids left at home.
- Scenario one – Your significant other has been deployed to war with no benefits provided to you while s/he is overseas, even though you are married. S/he is injured and you are not allowed in the hospital room, because the State does not recognize spouses as family members.
- Scenario two – While your significant other is deployed, the government offers free childcare for your children so you can work. When your significant other is in the hospital, you are able to stay with s/he and make life-saving medical decisions on his/her behalf.
Sons & Daughters
- Scenario one – The government no longer backs school loans and the interest rates are sky high. Your eldest, who specialized in early childhood development, is having trouble finding a job that will pay enough to cover the loan repayments, yet alone rent. Your local schools cannot afford to hire college educated and trained teachers. Classrooms are being staffed by students with high school diplomas.
- Scenario two – Your eldest sees his/her dreams come true as s/he receives a federal grant to complete graduate studies. After graduation, s/he is able to consolidate student loans into one low-interest, manageable payment. Through the “Hire the Best” state government initiative, your son/daughter already has a classroom job lined up for the fall.
- Scenario one – Despite doing the exact same work for the same number of years as a male coworker, with an outstanding service record, you continue to earn less money and rarely receive bonuses. You must email your insurance carrier and explain the reason for your annual mammogram so they will cover the cost, despite having breast cancer two years ago. Your employer will be cc’d on the email, since it will impact their insurance rates. Companies continue to pollute the environment with no legal ramifications. You can no longer see the stars at night.
- Scenario two – You are paid a great salary based on your leadership, commitment and outstanding service to your company and feel that your co-workers are paid very fairly as well. Your doctor recommends annual mammograms and you are able to have them done without discussing your medical care with anyone else and the costs are covered without you worrying about the extra hassle of emailing the insurance company. Tonight you’re doing something for yourself. You’re going to spread a blanket across your rooftop porch, pour a glass of wine, and watch the stars. You are able to relax because you know your family is taken care of and you are taking care of yourself too.
VOTE. It matters.