What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

So Where Do We Go From Here?

Cynthia Ruccia



Where to begin? I have spent my time since the presidential election on Tuesday going through a series of emotions and trying to figure out what's next. I spent yesterday (the day after) on the phone and on the blogs and on facebook, and just generally on the internet talking through what just happened with many folks trying to clear the air. I'm not someone who will go underground for long because I like action!! For me, whining, moaning and groaning has a limited purpose. It is a first line reaction to things I'm not happy about, but that type of emotional rendering gets boring to me after a while, and then it is time to do something to move on.

But there is no getting around it-------I have been laid low by the results of Tuesday. I am down and depressed. It's not so much that Romney lost and Obama won on the face of it that is generally eating at me. It was inevitable that one would win and one would lose. And having been a candidate myself three times, it is extremely intense to go full bore as one does in a campaign and then lose. It's not just the unfortunate feelings that go with losing. It is also the immediate impact of feeling like you have hit a brick wall going 2000 miles an hour and then there is only silence. It is hard to regain your equilibrium, and it takes time to get back to your life because your life will never be the same again.

No, what is bothering me is that history will be now rewritten as if the odious sexism of 2008 never happened, the endemic sexism that prevents women from holding top positions in proportion to our numbers. Our president will now be lionized and even re-messiahed as he spends the next four years working toward his legacy, and those wrongs will probably never be paid for. And I know that alot of you feel the exact same way. Having to spend another 4 years looking at President Obama and his fellow sexists who got him where he is is almost more than I can bear. We wanted him to go down, and we failed. That bites......

And I am having a great deal of trouble with people who marched alongside of us in 2008 who saw the sexism, protested the sexism, and who said "never again" who not only went back and voted for the sexist ticket, but then after being disgusted with all of the people who told them to just "get over it" turned around and said the same thing to people like me and many of you who read and comment here.
I will never get over it. And I won't get over it because that kind of amnesia will not serve the cause of getting more women to the top. To me, the people who returned to the sexist and supported him have exposed their weakness that they are unable to see things through to their end goal because it is too emotionally difficult. Yes, we all have our weaknesses-----that is the definition of human being. But that particular weakness to me is akin to going back to your abuser because you can't break your addiction. I don't get it. They have attempted to explain it to me, but the more intricate the explanation, the less sense it makes.

Also, the results of this election has shown me that the fearmongering of the abortion issue to get women into line has not lost its potency. I have lost what I thought was a good friend over this one. She sent me an editorial from the New York Times about what it considered to be the issues at stake in the election on the pro-abortion front and demanded that I comment on it and defend the Republican position. Well, first of all, I'm NOT a Republican. Some people STILL haven't gotten it through their thick heads that I will NEVER EVER again give obeisance and fealty to any party. In other words, I won't be the bitch of either side ever again. That means Republicans, Democrats, whoever. How many times does one have to say it for it to sink in?

Anyways, my impression of that editorial was that it was just another albeit more sophisticated form of fearmongering. I sent it around to get the impressions of others in case I wasn't seeing it more clearly. And to a person, my "panel" said the same thing and more in agreement with me. And believe me, the group of people who I sent it to wouldn't hesitate for a minute to let me know if they disagreed with me.
Anyways, I wrote my friend back that I felt that the piece didn't even deserve a response because I just saw it as an elevated form of fear mongering. Well, she shot back at me, this a woman who has been at my side since 2008, that she wasn't going to read my blog anymore, that I had turned into a Republican, and that I was so consumed by my hatred of Obama that I have lost my mind. Game over. Isn't that pathetic?

I have been as consistent as a person could be in my views. I have written time and time again about how the parties use the abortion issue to corral women. And my view hasn't changed. In my opinion, the abortion argument is a stagnant argument that has completely stalled women from getting the rest of the job done in our quest for equality. But the election of 2012 showed me that it is still a potent tool to win women's votes. And I still think that the logic of that is self-defeating. We feminists just haven't produced a loud enough argument to convince enough other people so they will move on from there. But that doesn't mean that we will fail at this mission in the future.

And there are a few people who still want us to just get over it. I have been called a "Hillary dead ender", a cruel dismissive piece of name calling. And that person who is referring to us this way knows who he is and he owes me a HUGE apology for this egregious piece of put down. I don't have conversation with people who use name calling as one of their tools of discussion. It is the immature playground talk of the bully. I am happy to converse with folks who disagree with me, but there is no room on this blog or anywhere else for that aspect of discourse. It is mean and ugly.

On the other hand, in the middle of my picture of anger doom and gloom, there was a little bit of good news for women that came out of Tuesday's elections. More women were elected to the U.S. Senate and House than ever before. We now have 20 women in the U.S. Senate. We have a record 77 women in the House. We have another woman governor. We have a state, New Hampshire, that hopefully is a harbinger of the future where all of it's Congressional delegation are now women (2 U.S. House member and both senators) and also has a newly elected woman governor. It is a bipartisan affair as well. That feels great!! You can read all about here at the Rutgers Center for Women and Politics site that tallies up the results.

But the progress is still too slow. Twenty female members of the U.S. Senate gives us 20% representation, up from 16%. And the U.S. House gain was from 73 to 77 female seats. Those gains will hardly move us up very far on the list of which country has the best female representation in government. Our latest ranking was #80 on the list. This bump of progress will surely improve our ranking, but the U.S. will still remain a middling unremarkable country on that list. And I want to give a shout out to Mia Love who barely lost her bid for a House seat in Utah. I hope she continues on in politics. She is an inspirational figure, and we could use more people like that to light the way for the rest of us.

So where do we go from here? Well, here's what we do-------we work from THIS MINUTE ON to get a women nominated on BOTH party tickets to be president in 2016. There is not a moment to spare to reach this goal, and the jockeying has already begun. Women are barely being mentioned (with the exception of Hillary Clinton) and that state of affairs needs to be changed IMMEDIATELY!!!!! And it is up to us to get this talk going. More on that in future blog posts.

A silver lining also in the re-election of Obama is that I had heard that there were a couple of U.S. Supreme Court justices who had postponed retiring until this election was over. Now that it is over and done with, maybe they will retire and Obama will appoint two or three pro-choice justices. At that point, maybe the wind will go out of the abortion argument and it will finally start to lose its potency as a progress killer for women. We shall see......

To my blogging friends who put it all on the line, went out on a limb, and who came up short on Tuesday night, to you I want you to know that many of us admire you and follow you. You have uplifted us and given us hope when we needed it. For you in particular, Tuesday was an extremely bitter pill to swallow. If you need to lick your wounds for a minute, you certainly deserve that. But come back soon. Your voices are part of the extraordinary march forward we are engaged in and we can't get there without you. We are awaiting your return.....

So where do we go from here------we are going to finish the job we started in 2008. Our work is far from done. Woman president 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


34 comments:

  1. Sad day for America. Women, minorities were used & untruths told for political advantage. I no longer look at the Office of the President with the same respect.

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    1. yes, I have felt the same things. I guess I'll feel sad for awhile, but I'm getting over it. We've got work to do!!!

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  2. Yes. Feminism was dealt another blow. Because Romney had a record for feminism within his appointments. And I think he would have had parity within his Cabinet. Also, he is not a misogynist.

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    1. sadly that message about Romney never got through. He was stuck with a Republican brand that did him no favors in that department. He'd have been better off in that regard with a woman VP on the ticket.

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  3. I agree with you, Cynthia. The politicians are perfect at making us count the ball passes so that we miss the gorilla in the middle:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGQmdoK_ZfY

    I did not vote in this election, but it is amazing what a monster they made out of Romney. I was also amazed to see the totally socialist rhetoric in the US - that being rich and successful is bad.

    Waiting for Hillary!!!

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    1. Ahhhhh yes. Hillary. It would have been nice voting HEr in for a second term.

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  4. my sentiments exactly. its great that you still have the energy to go on hoping.

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    1. hope springs eternal in a democracy!!!! We're only four years away from a female president!!!!

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  5. The Battle is lost but not the war!...... This is how I am analyzing what happened Tuesday. Racial tensions ran high even in our Stafford suburb of DC where nothing like this usually does? Police were called to several polls where I was working, tensions within the school where I teach etc. neighborhoods etc. We are truly a divided nation since '08.

    Was I sad? Yes. Was I disolutioned? NO. A calm came over me that I did not at first understand. Then the Stock Market dived and I lost $5,000 on what little I have invested. What did it all mean?

    Obama has no excuse now, but must accept what happens in our economy and national affairs. Business is running scared and the DEM party or Obama's (Organization for America -- not the state committees he bypasses) are elated. So, to the point of this discourse and my calm! It is my opinion that Obama has two choices: fail miserably or move toward the center as Bill Clinton did if he desires to leave office in 2016 with a positive history. Both cannot occur. He cannot function with the same old... same old... divided Congress that seems to remain at stallmate with many new House members entering their new offices with the Tea Party promise of "little government". The offers to work together are just as stale by the Congressional leadership given Wednesday's reaction--Reid indicated Obama received an overwhelming victory which is Not true given he squeaked into a craked open front door in popular vote and the Republicans indicating we must work together but still indicated little spending and little government? Obama will be either building a totalarian state of "executive orders" to override Congress or moving to the center as did Bill Clinton in order to succeed in his final term as President. He cannot be both!

    This presents to me a special opportunity for 2016. Word is out from people in my area who work with Hillary in the State Department that she is not interest and extremely tired. "Just wants to sleep" as one put it. Who knows what happens four years from now as she goes back to her normal life post December. As for the Republican Party there are many new faces on the horizon but that party has to revamp its whole structure and learn to reach out right now to Hispanics and a younger generation. Obama used a very modern day micr-marketing technique of targeting special groups while Romney was till running in the primary. That is why he failed and the fact that many Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians cast a vote for Obama by not voting?

    It is time ladies to dust off everything and get moving forward with an organization that will build consitutional issues, women's rights and push values among hispanics, women and college level and high school voters. Obama actually increased in many of those areas in this election due to his marketing techniques and hugh ground game of paid OFA workers. All the orginations such as Americans For Prosperity, FreedomWorks etc. etc. are splintered groups which left a great divide that could have given Romney the win. OFA is a highly centralized and mobilized unit that also can be countered.

    Its time for activists to merge their interests and begin the targeting process NOW! After a good rest post working Hispanic areas in Prince William County which turned Virginia over to Obama I am ready to start the thinking process!

    Let's go ladies! Women have always taken the lead as we create the population, we run the households and we need to push ahead!

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    1. alot to think about!!! Keep going!!! Woman president 2016!!!!

      Hard to say what Hillary will do. I've heard the same things from those closer to her. Once she's rested-----who knows?

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  6. I voted for women. Several of them. And, women did win BIG this year. In NH. And around the country. More female Senators. A new female Governor. I'll take that as my consolation prize.

    I also take heart at the way our electorate overwhelmingly said no to discrimination against others on the basis of sexual orientation. In no stat did a measure pass allowing such discrimination. And in two more states, gay marriage is now legal. YES!

    Thirdly I am heartened by the large turnout at the polls. People complained about waiting in lines. But, I did not. I was proud of my fellow citizens.

    Do I like the fact that Barack Obama is President again? NO! I really cannot stand to look at the man. And empty suit with empty promises. Another four years of financial disaster is what I see.

    BUT.... there is a silver lining! Barack brought out the people who said YES to elected women and NO to discrimination against gays. I'll take that and soldier on.

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    1. thanks for sharing your silver lining. It's nice to see someone seeing the positive side to all of this. Woman president 2016!!!!

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  7. Obama and the people around him are such skillful liars that they can make you believe the sky is green. He underpaid the women on his Senate and White House staff, and yet it's Romney waging a so-called war on women. For weeks he went out of his way not to call the Benghazi attack "terrorism" but when Romney tried to call him on it he pretended that his remarks referring to the original 9/11/01 attack were about Benghazi and, as usual, an uninformed and/or biased media aided and abetted his lie. He resolutely refused to hold meetings with Republicans (or even his own jobs council) during his entire term but one stroll on the beach with a fat man was enough to establish his bipartisan bona fides. I am sick to my stomach.

    We most certainly will go into a recession and the armies of people who are out of work for two years already will be pushed into government dependency for good. Our disastrous foreign policy will lead to a war in the Middle East (which will be a proxy war with Russia) and a Christian genocide in the Middle East and North Africa.

    My main fear is this: During the next four years, Obama will get to choose judges at every level of the judiciary including the Supreme Court and this entire branch of government will be pushed leftward for decades to come. This means that even if by some miracle Republicans capture the White House and both houses of Congress, any laws they pass to dismantle Obama's socialistic legacy will be struck down by the courts. So too any common-sense ballot initiatives that citizens will vote in. The machinery of socialism will continue to be built automatically even when Obama leaves office thanks to his robo-judges. I am afraid that the republic that our Founding Fathers left us will be fundamentally transformed in ways that they anticipated but rejected and there is no longer anything anyone can do about it.

    It is fitting that the day after Obama's re-election, the stock market sank and a snow storm with howling winds blanketed the East Coast that was largely responsible for his victory. This is the winter of our discontent and we will not see spring again.

    Sorry to be such a downer, but this is the truth as I see it. You read it here first.

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    1. To The Stiletto----I feel your pain. My Republican friends are feeling your pain too. It was a bitter pill to swallow. But there is always another day in a democracy, and you and we will have ours. You just wait....

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  8. Who cares if it is a male or a female who is elected as long as the country as a whole moves forward in a good direction as a result. This country will keep moving in the wrong direction as long as people identify with their sex, race, sexual orientation or what have you instead of identifying with themselves as Americans first. Thinking like this is exactly WHY political parties are successful taking irrelevant issues and making certain demographics believe that the issue is most important to them, and that they should be voting based on said issue.

    Politicians should not aim their political discourse at me as if I'm a male, female, latino or black. Talk to me as an American. Until that happens, we all lose.

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    1. Ditto! You said it all.

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    2. to both of you anonymouses----I take issue with what you are saying for a bunch of reasons. First of all, human beings being what they are, the scenario will never be as you lay it out. It is a piece of idealism. As such, if you take that attitude, you leave yourself completely unprotected from the larger majority of people who will exploit whatever advantage they can to achieve power.

      Secondly, I see that attitude as a smoke screen to make sure women never achieve parity.

      As to how the politicians choose to address us, well, we get the leaders we deserve apparently. Division works as we have seen.

      Yes it would be nice if we were all always judged by the content of our character, but it's a dream world.

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    3. It is important that women are elected. We can't have a democracy where just one group is used to pick our presidents. Women make different decisions and have different priorities. It is factual that when women are represented equally on boards of corporations the decisions from those boards are different. Women are different when it comes to finances and as investors. Check out all the work done by Catalyst and Jennifer Lawless.No one can no longer say "it doesn't matter if the president is male or female." the facts are out there from the UN and down to the 2012 project. Women matter. Additionally, women don't run for office as often as men do. One reason is that they don't consider themselves qualified. This is a self esteem issue. And that starts in childhood. Just yesterday a mother of a young girl asked me " Mom, why can't women be president." as Marie Wilson of the 2012 Project says "You can't be what you can't see."

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    4. It is important that the right person gets elected. If that happens to be a woman, than so be it. Voted for someone because of their gender is sexist.

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    5. It is your line of thinking, Cynthia, that leaves you unprotected. It is your line of thinking that allowed the politicians to make certain demographics believe that they should be voting because of irrelevant issues, or ones that are not really what needs to be focused on now. You had some latinos and women who were voting for certain candidates because of issues like abortion/contraceptives and immigration rather than the most important issue this country is facing, the economy. Your line of thinking is what allowed that to happen.

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    6. your point is well taken, but why in a country whose constitution touts EQUALITY women are so woefully underrepresented? To continue to say that we shouldn't vote for women is also sexist in the extreme. It is a total smokescreen for people who don't want to see women holding power in proportion to their numbers. Why not give it a try?

      And I stand by my argument that politicians will slice and dice to win, nothing will ever change that, and we'd better be ready for it and stop whining about it. In an ideal world, you are 100% right. It's just that we don't live in that world. I'm a practical realist, and you are a dreamer. Nothing wrong with that. Just two different ways of looking at things.

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    7. and for the anonymous above who says that voting by gender is sexist------well, we've voted for only men for years. By your line of reasoning, isn't that sexist as well?

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  9. I agree with you Cynthia. That point of view above sounds like some trolls from who knows where.

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  10. I CARE if it is a "male of female elected".

    Thanks, Cynthia. After Tuesday, I was anxious to hear what you had to say, as you usually sum up my feelings much better than I can. You didn't disappoint!!!

    I'm on board for a Woman president 2016. Ready to get started!

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  11. If this election does not wake us up I don't know what will. I have always been a champion to right the wrongs. Now I feel that Americans should get what they voted for. The only way people learn is by paying-the consequences of their mistakes.
    Bill Clinton helped Obama so he whored himself. Hillary took the hit on Benghazi. For that she lost all of my respect. Women fell for the birth control pill Sandra Fluke. So let these educated idiots learn the stupidity of their actions. Americans want something for nothing. They need to learn that there is no free lunch

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  12. Young women need to take a lesson from the Gay community and educate themselves and all women about their reproductive rights in each state. Then just like the gay community they need to write legislation to improve their reproductive right and if they lose they need to come back next year with more legislation. That is the only way to keep the Democrats from using the abortion dog whistle on women voters. I worked on this issue when I was young, now I am old and have freedom from reproduction so I am working on issues that affect me. Like I know nine women over 55 who have been let go from their career jobs, three have lost their homes, some of the others own more than their house is worth, they can't sell their homes and if they should they will never own another home because they couldn't get a loan. What is society going to do with these women, step over them on the side walk? I think we need to be building senior dorms or something because they are looking at living out their lives on $1,000. a month and there is no current situation where that is possible.

    So young women, stop being a bunch of Julia's, stand up and take action on your reproductive rights, neither party is going to do it for you and us old broads have other life and death issues to deal with. OWN IT YOUNG WOMEN! HELP YOURSELVES.

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    1. I agree Bes----let the young women run the action on abortion to free us up to finish the job of equal representation.

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  13. It makes a difference if women are elected because women citizens have a right to have a voice in the discussion or our societies problems. Just yesterday I was listening to Warren Only (a liberal) on NPR discuss what the election meant. He and the guys decided that the election was decided by Hispanics (10% of the voters)and that both parties need to figure out what they can do for these voters. WRONG. 54% of the voters were women and they went for Obama by a 12% margin. The election was decided by women voters and both parties need to figure out what they can do to earn our votes. Men have been in charge for many years and they have not represented the interests of women. So we can conclude that they are unable to represent the needs of women. Women have a right to equal representation.

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    1. Bes----you ALWAYS state this point better than I do. So glad you are over here commenting!!!!! I still believe we can get a woman elected in 2016. We have to pull out all of the stops to do it. And for the moment, why not shoot for the stars and work to get a woman nominated on both sides of the aisle? That way we win no matter what!!!!

      I think that the notion of voting for a woman because she is female is SO THREATENING to many people that they just have to put us down for it using the typical "women are stupid" meme. Sigh----nothing changes on that score.

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  14. Cynthia,

    Thank you for this wonderful, uplifting post. I agree, the gains by women were great, and I am especially pleased over New Hampshire. I wish I could move there. :)

    I'm all in for women on either side of the ticket for 2016, as you know. While I'm resilient enough, I'm not quite ready to get to work. I need another week at least to process and rest. I worked hard for Romney because I believed him to be what the country needed. It took a lot out of me. Rest for now, and then resume work at a later date.

    Thanks for all you do. You're a terrific role model for women like me.

    Anna Belle

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    1. (((blush)))) Thanks Anna Belle. Better things lie ahead for all of us.....

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  15. Cynthia,

    Thanks for your well-written post. Will comment another time. To bed for me now..

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  16. A dissonant note: I'm thrilled with the results of Tuesday's election. I was not on board with Obama until he came out in favor of marriage equality, but that single statement -- politically motivated or not -- demonstrated courage, common sense, and a firm sense of decency and morality. (Although it took Bill Clinton's DNC speech to truly win me over. Wow. Simply wow. IMHO.)

    I also strongly disagree with your characterization here -- "Also, the results of this election has shown me that the fearmongering of the abortion issue to get women into line has not lost its potency." -- of the abortion issue and women voters.

    Given the Republicans' recent track record, concern about reproductive rights can hardly be termed "fearmongering". Republicans state in their national platform that women must be denied abortions even to save their lives; Republicans openly state that women and girls must be forced to give birth to babies fathered by their rapists, that incest is rare, that because of technological advances pregnancy no longer adversely affects women's health, and that a clump of cells merits full constitutional rights but the woman carrying that clump doesn't; Republican state legislators have enacted 1000 anti-choice laws in just the past year, and have severely restricted or entirely closed down abortion access in dozens of states; a Republican Congress voted repeatedly to allow employers to police their female employees' sex lives and reproductive health care; a former Republican officeholder and candidate engineered the near coup at Komen to deny basic cancer screening to millions of low-income women simply because their principle health resource also provides abortion services; and the most powerful Republican in the land used his talk radio platform to smear as sluts and prostitutes the 90% of American women who use or have used contraception -- and his millions of Republican listeners agree with him.

    Unless you're determined to give ALL of these guys (and some Republican women, too) a pass, it's pretty clear that Republicans today completely disrespect women's lives, rights, experiences, and judgement on this particular issue, and that same disrespect and contempt for women carries over into every other issue: equal pay and related economic issues, women serving in the military and in combat, Title IX and women in sports (and therefore women's education, too), violence against women, women's access to comprehensive, affordable health care coverage, you name it.

    I am ecstatic that women made a strong statement on Tuesday against Republicans' hateful, ignorant, paternalistic, and egregiously discriminatory policies. Women pro-actively voting en masse to preserve our dignity as human beings and protect our rights as full citizens can hardly be termed as being "kept in line".

    I have this crazy fantasy about abortion not being any part of our elections, but IMO the only way that will ever happen is if Republican candidates are firmly repudiated -- as they were on Tuesday -- over and over again, at every level of state and federal government, until they get the message. (Although, of course, getting 1 or 2 more young, healthy pro-individual rights Supreme Court justices will certainly help. Obama's re-election and the Dems' Senate wins make this possible; a Romney/Ryan win would have sunk us even deeper into the abortion morass for another generation or more.) With Tuesday's Democratic, pro-women wins, I can actually look forward to women's full and equal rights becoming established political fact, so that no woman of any age has to devote ANY of her valuable time, energies, talents, resources, and votes to preserving them.

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