Photo by Thursday Review staff

Should Women Vote for Clinton
Because She’s a Woman?

| published February 22, 2016 |

By Carol Chance, Thursday Review contributor

It has happened again.

Let me preface this with some details about myself. I am not a political science major. In fact, I have very little college education. I'm just a person who has been mostly battling in that school of hard knocks we call “life” for 50-plus years.

Like many Baby Boomers, I was born in a time of great turmoil. Social and economic injustices were everywhere. Race, religion and gender often held you back.

I was alive when John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. I saw the rise of radical groups like the Black Panthers and asked my mom in fear why do black people hate us? I saw cities burn. I saw people beaten. I saw people trying to vote and being denied. I watched a war rage on my television. I lived through the constant threat of nuclear war. Would I even get to grow up?

I still clearly remember my first job, at a major retail store that is still in business. Benefits were only given to full-time employees. The only full-time employees were department heads, and all department heads were male. Coincidence? I once asked a manager where the stock was in the back area so I could do inventory. He was in a group with other managers, and he put his arm around my shoulder and said to the other guys "Hey, if I'm not back in fifteen minutes, you know what's going on." Chuckles erupted from them all.

Change has been slow, but the world as we know it now is completely different from then. We still have many problems in this country. I will not say racism has been totally stamped out, nor that women have completely caught up on the economic scale. There is still much ground to be covered, and lots of progress still to be made. And there is much, as a nation, we must learn about ourselves.

People frequently use the words "ignorant" and "stupid" interchangeably, as if they have the same meaning. But there is an important difference between those words. Ignorant means you haven't been taught better; stupid is when you have been taught that a certain thing is wrong, but you continue to do it anyway. Stupid, I fear, will be with us forever.

This brings me to the part about what "happened" again.

I was trolling the social media networks and came across a post in which someone commented that they were planning to vote for Clinton because she was a woman.

After I was able to get my jaw from off the floor, I took a few minutes to reflect on that post. Really? They were going to vote for someone because of their gender? That's it? That’s the best they could come up with in a democracy?

Then I thought some more on this. I realized quickly that it is not a new phenomenon. It didn't even start eight years ago with "I'm voting for Obama because he's black." I'm thinking about just in my lifetime, just in the span of those 50-something years. There were people who would not vote for Kennedy because he was Catholic. There were people who did vote for Kennedy only because he was Catholic. For many, religion was the criteria.

People voted for Carter because of his "down home, aw-shucks style." He's the common man. He's like me. He hid his education to get the vote. He was a farmer. But there were others. Like the ones who said “I'm not voting for Reagan because he's an actor,” or “I won’t vote for Reagan because he once got divorced.” I’m voting for Clinton because he plays the sax and that makes him cool. I'm voting for the cool guy. I can’t bring myself to vote for Mitt Romney because he’s a Mormon. Or, I am voting for Romney because he is a Mormon.

Really? This is how you make your decision? This is how you choose to participate in an election in democracy?

Minorities and women have fought a long battle for the right to vote, and the right to be treated equally. We all want change in our lifetime. We all want something better. We all have the right to engage in democracy. And this is what we do with that precious right? Instead of taking the time to research the candidates—what they believe, what plans do they have to make this place a better world—we squander this gift by opting to vote for the person with the best hairdo. Or the best suit. Might as well vote for who has the biggest shoe size or the one who owned the coolest car in college.

Come election day examine your conscience. Think about who will take this country down the right path. Who will lead us to a better life? Don't let that precious right be frittered away.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Trump Wins South Carolina; Clinton Takes Nevada; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; February 21, 2016.

Democratic Debate on PBS: Wall Street Still a Thorny Issue; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; February 12, 2016.